Whisky Illuminati, an independent bottler specialising in premium single cask Scotch whisky, today unveils what it believes to be an industry first with the launch of the Solaria Series: a three-part bottling of five Speyside single malt whiskies.
Offering something genuinely unique to whisky enthusiasts, the Solaria Series will give consumers the opportunity to explore how Scotch whisky evolves in the cask over time, thanks to its three-part bottling which will be released over the next four years. Following the first edition (1:3) release in 2019, there will be a second release in 2021, with the final batch set for release in 2023.
In edition one of the Solaria Series, only 150 bottles from three of the Sherry Butts, 120 from another lower fill Butt and 100 from the Hogshead will be released. The remaining whisky will stay in the cask for a further two years before Edition 2:3 is released, followed by Edition 3:3 in 2023.
The Solaria Series comprises five single malt Scotch whiskies from Speyside distilleries:
- Solaria Series distilled at Royal Brackla Distillery, with an outturn of 150 (68.0% ABV)
- Solaria Series distilled at Aultmore Distillery, with an outturn of 120 (67.5% ABV)
- Solaria Series distilled at Glentauchers Distillery, with an outturn of 150 (63.4% ABV)
- Solaria Series distilled at Craigellachie Distillery, with an outturn of 100 (67.9% ABV)
- Solaria Series distilled at ‘Artis Secretum¹’, with an outturn of 150 (67.1% ABV)
Each release was matured in first-fill Spanish Oak Sherry Butt casks, with the exception of the Solaria Series from Craigellachie Distillery, which was matured in a first-fill Spanish Oak Sherry Hogshead cask.
Described by Whisky Illuminati co-founder, Keith Bonnington, as a “rare first for the Scotch whisky industry”, each of the 2011 Vintage Single Casks bottled as part of the Solaria Series were hand selected by a panel of experts with over 200 years of industry experience.
Bonnington noted: “This is a unique opportunity for whisky drinkers to buy into a developing cask of single malt Scotch whisky, and to fully appreciate how the character evolves in the wood over a period of four years.
“We selected 100% first fill ex-Sherry Casks from Spain to mature the new-make spirit, with the aim of drawing out maximum impact from the wood to deliver the depth of flavour and colour desired over time.”
Bonnington added: “Our policy of bottling at natural cask strength without adding colour or chill-filtering means that each whisky is bottled at between 63% and 68% alcohol by volume, exactly as they appear right now in the cask. To fully enjoy the multitude of complex flavours, gradually adding water to taste is encouraged.
“How they develop in the oak over the duration of the three releases is completely in the hands of mother nature and that anticipation of their natural development is what makes this series so exciting.
“What is certain, is that these 2011 Vintage casks are made from the highest quality European oak, sourced from one of Spain’s finest Sherry Bodegas, and I’m confident that the whisky will develop and mellow marvellously over the next few years”.
The launch of the Solaria Series follows Whisky Illuminati’s inaugural Candlelight Series, which was released in 2018 to high acclaim from many leading whisky writers and experts², and sold internationally in markets including China, Taiwan, South Africa and the United States.
The Solaria Series will be available to purchase from select specialist whisky retailers this month, August, including Master of Malt and Selfridges, at a UK RRP of around £120 each. Buyers of the first release will automatically be offered the opportunity to purchase the second and third editions upon release.