With all the new distilleries opening and starting to produce what they all hope will be Single Malt Scotch Whisky in a few years time one key thing is that they get their New Make Spirit right.
It sounds easy but the water has to be clean and fresh, the barley needs to be of good quality and consistent, as does the mash.
Once the wort goes through to be distilled has it been fermented long enough to allow the full flavours to develop once in contact with the copper stills.
I was able to pick up a bottle of the Clydeside Distillery New Make recently. The first New Make ran through the stills in December 2017. It normally takes a few months for the stills to settle in and for the run to be consistent.
Well, the team at Clydeside, led by Alastair Macdonald, have produced what can only be described as one of the purest, cleanest New Makes that I have tried in a very long time.
At 63.5% alcohol you would expect some fire and heat but what one gets is a floral, sweet barley note on the nose with those notes coming through on the palate.
It is delightfully elegant, rich with tropical fruit character, barley and honeyed floral notes and incredibly integrated.
If this is their New Make then with the right Barrel policy which is in evidence with what they are filling right now then this is going to be a Single Malt to watch in the years to come.
James Robertson has spent 22 years in the drinks industry including working with Taittinger, Louis Jadot, and latterly for the past eight years, was the face of Tullibardine around the world until 2016. He is now running his own business providing expertise to companies looking for assistance with international brand building, sales and marketing and distributor management. Prior to that, he was an officer with the Argylls and an Inspector with the Royal Hong Kong Police. Follow James on Twitter @whiskyrobbo