Courier News - Gavin Harper story - CR0032661 -- Keith Bonnington with his Brig O' Perth whisky blend - Picture shows Keith Bonnington and his Brig O' Perth branded blended whisky -- shot at Glenturret Distillery, Crieff (NOT TO BE MENTIONED IN COPY) - Friday 10th December 2021 --    Pic credit Steve MacDougall / DCT Media

Brig o’Perth whisky making a comeback in 2022

A Perth-based Scotch whisky brand that made its comeback late last year, exactly 125 years after its first release, will be rolled out as part of a full-scale relaunch in 2022.

Brig O’ Perth was the first ‘house blend’ of Matthew Gloag & Son wines and spirits merchants in 1896, created in the basement of the family shop at its original site in the city’s Atholl Street.

The brand was acquired by Edinburgh based independent bottler, The Whisky Cellar, from its previous owner, Edrington, which also owns Matthew Gloag’s other more famous blended Scotch brand – The Famous Grouse – as well as The Macallan and Highland Park.

Founder of The Whisky Cellar, Keith Bonnington, an ex-employee of Edrington and residing in Auchterarder, Perthshire described the relaunch as ‘something very special to celebrate Perth’s rich historic association with the Scotch whisky industry’.

Brig O’ Perth was produced as a light and sweet blended Scotch described in 1897 by the Lancet as ‘desirably smooth and mellow to the taste’ and this is the style that Bonnington has sought to replicate with the help of renowned whisky maker, master blender and Edrington colleague, Max MacFarlane.

Keith said: ‘Using a high malt content with a base of Highland whiskies aged in a selection of ex-bourbon barrels – much of which are first fill – and a small proportion of ex-sherry butts, our emphasis is on delicate sweetness and smooth drinking enjoyability, just like the original recipe.’

Matthew Gloag’s wines and spirits range was considered to be among the best on offer in Scotland and his customer base was both local and international. He supplied Royal palaces and grand mansion houses in the county and one of his most regular customers was the Duke of Atholl, providing the drinks of choice for his gatherings at the majestic Blair Castle in Blair Atholl.

Keith Bonnington with his Brig O’ Perth whisky (Photo: Steve MacDougall / DCT Media)

Keith added: ‘We have sourced some outstanding aged malt whiskies from the very distilleries that Matthew would have purchased from back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, passing as he did to deliver his products to customers.’

The first bottling under the new owner was a 14-year-old Special Anniversary Blended Scotch limited to 1,125 bottles with a recommended retail price of £45.00 per bottle. The brand will be bottled again, later this year, as a Blended by Batch Scotch whisky, which Keith says will carry a ‘7-or-8-years-old minimum age guarantee statement’.

While researching the brand, Keith was made aware of Matthew Gloag & Son’s strong connections with the French wine and brandy industries, Matthew having spent a considerable amount of time in Bordeaux, learning the trade.

They were also prominent in selecting fine Spanish sherries for bottling. In the archives were references and images of a long-lost brand created by the company in 1931. Pintail was regarded as one of the finest quality sherry labels of its time yet, having gained international recognition, it simply disappeared. After the successful filing of the trademark, Pintail is being relaunched early next year recreated in its striking black glass bottle with white label, bold red typography and iconic pintail duck in flight.

Keith continued: ‘The brand ran advertising campaigns in Tatler in the mid-1930s and again in the 1950s but there’s very little account of its existence beyond that. I think this is a gem of a brand with a proper vintage look about it and I’m delighted to be bringing it back as a broader wines and spirits label

‘Anything we bottle that isn’t whisky will go into the Pintail bottle, starting with our first releases: a 2017 Late Bottled Vintage Port and a stunning 27-year-old Grande Champagne Cognac marketed as ‘Fine Old French Brandy’ ‘.

Find out more about the Whisky Cellar HERE.