A Week in Whisky: Hibs, Fèis Ìle, North Uist, and more

Peter Ranscombe takes a wonder through another week in whisky.

THE fitba season may have only just ended but there’s already exciting news on the transfer market.

Gleann Mòr Spirits has signed a two-year deal with Hibs.

The company – whose head office is just a few streets from Hibernian’s Easter Road pitch – takes over as the club’s official spirits partner from Eden Mill.

From next season, the firm’s Whisky Row brand will adorn the back of the team’s shirts.

Greg Urquhart, manager of Gleann Mòr Spirits, said: “As a lifelong Hibs supporter and season ticket holder, this new partnership fills me with immense pride.

“My focus now will be to combine both my passion for the club and extensive experience in the spirits business to deliver a truly excellent range of products for fans to enjoy.”

Murray Milligen, commercial manager at Hibs, added: “As a local business committed to history and tradition and rooted in our shared community, Gleann Mòr is a perfect fit for Hibernian FC and I’m really excited to be working together for the next two seasons.

“Gleann Mòr’s expanding portfolio will add real value to our new exciting hospitality offering and will enable us to deliver a series of innovative events and product launches for our supporters.”

The company will release an exclusive fan-only edition of Whisky Row this summer, followed by further products over the coming two seasons.

John Moffat, Edinburgh portfolio manager at Gleann Mòr, said: “We’ve recently relaunched our Leith Spirits range and also added our new Leith Whisky, so this is a fantastic opportunity to continue building the brand through the fanbase and beyond.”

Whisky - Andrew Brown's 25th Feis Ile

Bunnahabhain toasts Andrew Brown’s 25th Fèis Ìle

As the “Glastonbury of whisky” draws to a close on Islay on Sunday, Bunnahabhain distillery manager Andrew Brown is celebrating his 25th Fèis Ìle.

Brown will be marking today’s “Bunnahabhain Day” with events at the distillery.

“It’s my favourite time of the year, reunited with old friends and enjoying incredible drams,” he said.

“In fact, I remember the first tasting I presented, over a decade ago and still have the bottle which all the attendees kindly signed.”

Whisky - bere barley at north Uist Distillery

Funding for North Uist Distillery and its ancient barley project

North Uist Distillery has been awarded £250,000 by economic development agency Highlands & Islands Enterprise to convert Nunton Steadings on Benbecula into a production site.

Owners Jonny Ingledew and Kate Macdonald have run their business since 2017 and now employ 10 people.

They currently produce and bottle their Downpour gin from industrial units at Bayhead on North Uist.

Macdonald said: “We are keen to work with crofters to create a supply chain of bere barley on the islands, with the intention of being able to malt the barley, allowing for full grain to glass production.”

Whisky - Brora and Port Ellen casks on sale at Sotheby's

It’s hammer time for Brora and Port Ellen casks

It wouldn’t be “A Week in Whisky” without some auction news, so let’s turn to Sotheby’s in London, where casks from Brora and Port Ellen are going under the hammer on 14 June.

Diageo’s silent distillery casks have been valued at between £700,000 and £1.2 million each, with 5% of the hammer price being donated to Care International to fund its work in Ukraine.

Jonny Fowle – Sotheby’s head of whisky for North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa – said: “On trying the 1982 Brora, I was astounded by its quality – the rich cooked fruit flavours elevating its signature lightly-peated character.

“The Port Ellen is a masterclass in 1970s Islay smoke, with significant cask influence, which – especially when from a closed distillery – is precisely the style that the world’s top whisky collectors seek out.”

For further auction news and analysis, check out the latest column by Mark Littler.

To spread the joy, news of all the latest releases has flitted to its very own weekly column – check out this week’s round up, including some very posh bottles to celebrate the platinum jubilee.

Plus, read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s whisky pages.