The Scotch Whisky industry currently seems to be enjoying a time of rejuvenation which many are already calling the ‘third golden age of Scotch’. New distillery openings at a pace not seen since the late 19th century, a raft of new entrants and new product launches, even a shake-up of the old rules with new cask types allowed by the SWA in 2019, all amount to an air of excitement and optimism in what is one of the most heritage-conscious environments imaginable. So, in a category where a company’s history often stretches back more than a century, how can a new entrant set themselves apart?
For Mossburn, the answer to that question was simply to stay true to their ideals and beliefs. If a company follows their vison, everything else will follow.
At the heart of Mossburn’s company vision is something best described as a spirit of intrigue, which sums up who they are as much is it does the whiskies they make – and even the audiences they seek. Their spirit of intrigue powers a restlessness, a drive to always look beyond the obvious, to dig deeper and exceed expectations, to always make something exceptional and compelling. They bill themselves as ‘Whisky Makers for Whisky People’, with an audience that tends to be the whisky drinker who wants more and won’t just settle for the status quo. Mossburn see it as their job to reward that curiosity with thought-provoking whiskies that captivate and have the capacity to surprise and delight.
This drive to take the road less travelled is a common thread that runs through Mossburn’s growing portfolio of whiskies.
Their first distillery – Torabhaig – was built on a remote island in the Hebrides on the site of an 18th century farmstead, not for convenience and efficiency, but because it was a characterful place with all the factors needed to make good, robust island whisky. After a painstaking 5-year restoration and build it is the perfect location for a Single Malt distillery, the first to be built on the Isle of Skye for 190 years.
The same inquisitive drive powered the journey to reveal the spirit that Torabhaig wants to make, and then to bring it forth in its best possible light. Torabhaig’s own unique take on Skye whisky is fast being established under the label ‘well-tempered peat’.
Going further back, Mossburn’s spirit of intrigue was also behind the development of their Signature Casks Blended Malts, the first whiskies to be bottled under the Mossburn banner. After assembling a selection of fine Single Malts to showcase the typical characters of Scotland’s regions, each whisky undergoes an elaborate secondary aging process. Mossburn developed their proprietary hybrid casks which were designed specifically to enhance the characteristics they look for in each of these exemplary malts: Cask Bill #1 enhances the smoke and spice characters typical of peaty Island malts, Cask Bill #2 adds a rich sweetness to the Speyside.
Their latest release Caisteal Chamuis followed a similarly exhaustive dive into the history of a ruined castle in the misty isles of the Hebrides, and into the whiskies historically typical of the area. These classically smoky Island style malts stand as a tribute to Hebridean life and lore, to remind us of a time of peat fires, lively company, and bold spirits. The range consists of two Blended Malt Scotch Whiskies designed to be a smooth and approachable take on classic peated malts, to offer the enthusiastic a welcome a gateway to the sometimes-intimidating world of heavily peated malts whiskies.
With many other projects in the pipeline, for a small independent Scotch Whisky company Mossburn has big plans to match their singular vision and continues to grow, guided by their Spirit of Intrigue.