What is small batch whisky?
• Small batch whisky is made with a sense of character in mind.
Unlike regular whiskies which are brewed for quantity just as
much as quality, small batch is made to be exclusive. It is
matured in smaller amounts and has much more subtle
flavour than a regular whisky.
• You’ll often find that any small batch whisky has a warm
golden colour and a gentler smell than what you’d expect with
Where is small batch whisky
The Isle of Islay. It’s an island off the west coast of Scotland that is known
for being a whisky haven. Malt whisky lovers from all over the world
descend upon the island to sample and buy some of the most exclusive
Rather surprisingly, Islay can be seen from the coast of Ireland on a sunny
• It can be seen as quite a weird place to
live; separated from the mainland, very
windy and prone to rain a lot.
• Because of the land and conditions, it’s
the perfect place to make the perfect
• The peat dug up and used has an
extreme effect on how the whisky will
Who makes small batch
• Any distillery can make it, but only a few excel at making whisky that
takes a lot of care, effort and attention to let mature just right.
• Small batch whiskies are seen by malt drinkers as a way to get a
true sense of the character of a distillery.
• Even though Islay is a very small place, some of the world’s top
whiskies come from here. Bowmore is one of the more famous
distilleries on the island.
How long does it take?
• Years. Small batch whiskey is purposely made in barrels that
will mature in smaller amounts for longer than a typical
whisky. This is what makes it so sought after.
• It’s not always true that the longer a whisky matures, the
tastier it will be, but its usually the case that the longer a
whisky is matured for, the smoother it will feel on the tongue.
This plays an important role in the tasting experience.
The type of barrel used to mature the whisky can influence how the finished
small batch whisky tastes and looks.
You’ll usually find that malt whisky is matured in barrels that have originally
been used to store wine, bourbon or sherry.
When the barrel is filled with whisky, the character of the old drinks left in
the oak subtly works its way in to the colour and taste of the malt. So an old
sherry barrel might give a red hue to the malt, while a bourbon cask might
give it a lighter, warmer note.
Think of it as a way of recycling that serves a personal purpose: making you
a delicious drink.
What is peat?
Peat is earth that has been ‘maturing’ for centuries. In the simplest
sense its compacted dirt that is dug up and used as fuel.
It gives whisky a very distinctive flavour and is the reason why you’ll find
distilleries scattered around small, slightly remote areas of Scotland
with their own source of distinctive peat.
One way to think about it is the way wine from different regions can
taste different because of the soil and conditions its been growing in. Or
how the kind of wood used to smoke meat plays a big role in how it
How long does it take?
• Every whisky has its own specific length of time to mature.
Small batch whiskies are matured for anywhere upwards of
• It’s their maturation length and small amount that make them
so desirable to whisky drinkers.
• And because it takes so long to make, you have to enjoy it at
length too. It’s a patient person’s type of drink.
How do you drink it?
There are three steps to really enjoying a glass of
small batch whisky.
Firstly, you smell it. Getting a good sniff of the
whisky will help you pick up on different notes of
Secondly, take a sip. You want to drink it in small
sips because your tongue needs time to figure
out what its tasting. If you’re not used to drinking
whisky, then obviously it will taste very strong.
But for a palate accustomed to it, a whisky will
have subtle hints of the peat, malt and barrel
Thirdly, you’ll experience the aftertaste. Whisky
lingers long in your mouth after a sip, but in a
good way. It’s called the finish and its what
ultimately helps you decide whether or not you
like the whisky.
What does it taste like?
• Every whisky has its own subtle
flavours. Because small batch
whisky matures for longer in
undisturbed conditions, the
whisky carries with it a sense of a
• The flavour ultimately depends
on what hints anyone can pick up
on, but small batch always has a
gentle smoky finish.
How do I know if its good?
• Whisky, especially small batch, isn’t meant to be drunk like
any other spirit or beer. You have to take your time with it.
• When having a sip, you’re trying to pick up on different
• These include everything from fruity, floral and peaty
feelings on your tongue, to whether your nose registers the
malt as being woody, peaty, sulphuric or winey.
Want to know more?
• To find out more about small batch whisky, visit
the Bowmore Site