In part four of our series exploring the independent bottlers behind our favourite whiskies, we are going to take a look at Meadowside Blending.
Who are they?
The name Meadowside Blending is not one that is hugely well known by whisky fans. Sure, if you are a real indie bottling enthusiast you will likely have heard of it, but for many whisky lovers it is not a household name (like Signatory or Gordon & MacPhail) that will immediately ring a bell. But it should be.
Before we get on to why, here’s a bit of background info.
Based in Glasgow, Meadowside Blending is owned and run by Donald Hart and his son Andrew.
Donald has over 50 years experience in the whisky industry. He started off buying and selling casks of top quality whisky and as a result of all of the tasting that he got to do along the way (lucky man!) he has developed a particularly well trained nose.
Andrew followed in his father footsteps, learning from his experiences as well as having many of his own. He worked with his dad from a young age, originally as Brand Ambassador, however nowadays he takes part in almost all aspects of the business.
This Glasgow based father and son operation has produced some of the finest independently bottled whiskies anywhere in the world today. It has taken independent bottling to a different level and helped to bring it into the public eye.
So why is the name still not striking a cord?
Well, Meadowside Blending produce a wide range of single malt and blended whiskies. They release many of them under the company name, but their finest bottles, the single cask single malts that are praised by critics and fans up and down the country, these bottles are released under another name, and this one you will know. The Maltman.
What makes The Maltman so special?
There are several reasons that The Maltman brand is particularly incredible. First and foremost – the whisky (of course).
Each release under The Maltman name is a single cask single malt that has been hand selected by Donald and Andrew themselves.
They both taste the whisky before deciding on whether it is good enough for them. They are well known for having particularly high standards (as you can imagine someone that has tried thousands of top whiskies would) so you can be sure that if a whisky makes it into a bottle with ‘The Maltman’ across the front of it, it is an absolute beauty!
Maltman whiskies are always non-chill filtered and they never have added colourings, keeping the spirit as pure as they possibly can.
On top of that, the fact that they are single cask whiskies means that there are normally no more than a couple of hundred bottles available. So not only are these whiskies clean, aromatic, and full of flavour, but they are also very rare. In a nutshell – they possess all of the attributes that make up a real top quality dram.
You don’t have to just take our word for it though (as much as we would like you to). The string of awards won by Maltman whiskies is absolutely enormous, including gold medals for bottles such as their Ben Nevis 21 Year Old, a double gold medal for their Mortlach 15, being featured in Jim Murphy’s whisky bible and many more (there really are too many to list).
The Maltman really is Meadowside Blending’s pride and joy (no wonder) and we, as whisky fans, are thankful that people like Donald and Andrew Hart work to make exceptional whiskies available to us.
Our favourites from Meadowside Blending
While it is true that Meadowside release a huge range of excellent whiskies, including blends and grain whiskies, if we were to pick our favourites from all of them, they would have to be those released under The Maltman name. So without further ado, here they are.
This beauty is a Whisky Foundation exclusive and the first bottle to feature on our innovative whisky stock market, The Reserve. It comes from one of just two family run distilleries left in Scotland today and takes you on a journey through Campbeltown whisky from the first sip to the last.
It was matured for 24 years in an ex-Sherry butt so as you can imagine it is full and rich. Notes of brown sugar, dark chocolate and dark fruits are complemented by hints of cinnamon, orange peel and a kick of black pepper and smoke that comes through on the finish. It is truly well-rounded and will certainly keep you coming back for more.
It is available right now on The Reserve, were the price is controlled by demand. Every minutes that goes by without someone buying it, the price drops and every time a purchase is made the price rises. If you time it right you could get this fine whisky for a a fraction of its RRP.
This excellent dram was distilled in 1994. It comes from the much loved Aberlour distillery who are famous for producing light, but incredibly tasty whiskies that are often perfectly balanced.
This one was finished in a Pedro Ximenez cask and brings notes of fruit, vanilla and oak together with hints of sherried fruits, Christmas cake and baked apples to create a dram that you will relish every drop of. It really is a masterful creation.
This Islay whisky was distilled by Bruichladdich in 2002.As you would expect, it comes with a healthy dose of peat smoke that will warm you to your bones. Don’t worry though, the peat in this bottle is far from overpowering and notes of vanilla, honey, raisins, dark fruits and cherries are all able to make their way to your nose and palate.
Coming in at 50.30% this one does have a bit of a kick to it, but it’s nothing that a drop of water won’t sort out. If you’re a fan of whisky, and a fan of peated whiskies in particular, this is the one for you.