Arbikie Highland Rye, Aged 3 Years, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, 46%

It’s not everyday you get a whisky sample sent through the post – especially one as outstanding as Highland Rye Single Grain Whisky from Arbikie Distillery in Arbroath, Scotland.

To begin with, this is a farm to bottle operation.

The grains used – barley, rye & wheat in this instance – are grown in the fields around the distillery.

There is also no chill filtration nor added colouring to mute the fabulous flavours within.

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Arbikie Highland Rye Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

And it’s a rye.

The first for many a year Scotland has produced.

Rye at one stage was a common grain used in a mixed mashbill distillation by both Scottish and Irish distillers as testified by a certain Mr Jameson at the 1909 ‘What is Whisky’ enquiry.

Rye mashbills
Quotes from 1909 enquiry c/oblackwaterdistilleryblog

It happens to be a grain I’m very attracted to.

It adds a bit of bite, a dash of dry peppery spice, a certain boldness, a touch of character and a degree of complexity to any whiskey.

Rye has no legal definition in either Scotland nor Ireland. Yet in America – often seen as the home of rye – it must have a mashbill content of at least 51% rye to gain the title – which this Highland Rye does.

So what’s it like to drink?

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Highland Rye in a Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

Absolutely fabulous!

The nose captures the classic dry peppery spice augmented by elements of cherry sweetness from the PX cask finish.

The barley & wheat bring a silky smoothness to begin with, coating the palate in a warm snug of dark fruitiness before the rye makes itself known.

The palate gradually dries off into a wonderfully prickly peppery spice with hints of cherries dancing around on the enjoyably long finish.

The PX finish adds another layer of depth & complexity to this rye.

On a back to back tasting with its  2 year old sibling – which I purchased on first hearing Scotland had produced a rye – the youthful exuberance & freshness resulted in a cleaner, more classic peppery spice experience balanced with a barley smoothness.

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Rye Spirit vs Rye Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

The PX finish of the 3 year old  – which is still a relatively unusual style of rye even in America – boosts that joyful youthfulness with richer, darker elements.

Arbroath – more famous for stovies & smokies – can now add rye to the culinary & quaffable delights on offer.

My thanks to all at Arbikie for the opportunity to taste this gorgeous rye whisky.

Sláinte

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