Don't Ask for Scotch
Scotland's expanded liquor horizons
We would have been plenty happy if Jim McEwan, the legendary distiller at Bruichladdich on the isle of Islay in Scotland, had stuck to whisky.
After all, the bottlings that have emerged from that distillery since McEwan reopened it in 2000 have charted unknown spirit-world territory. From his distinctive aging techniques to his palate for a lighter, maltier offering, McEwan never stopped tweaking his product.
Lucky for us, he didn't stop at whisky, either. Four years ago, McEwan released the Renegade Rum label, in which he brought barrels of rum to Islay and aged them using the same process he uses for his whisky. And just last year, he stepped away from the barrel with Islay's first gin, The Botanist ($30; click here to buy).
It's been a long wait for McEwan's Laddie Ten ($45), the first 10-year-aged whisky made only from liquor distilled since Bruichladdich's reopening. It forgos the ubiquitous peat that whiskies of the area are known for, displaying honeyed notes of tropical fruit and spice with a touch of salinity.
And it's coming out of a country that's shedding its one-trick-pony reputation, thanks to its creator.