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Advent calendar 2023: Day 8

We had to wait over a week for the first IB whisky in the calendar. For those unfamiliar with the term IB, it stands for 'Independent Bottling,' the opposite of which is OB or 'Official Bottling.' OB whiskies are official releases from the distillery itself. The term IB is used for whiskies where a third party has purchased spirit from the distillery and then sells it under their own brand.

IB whiskies are often particularly interesting because they may offer a palate that deviates from the distillery's typical profile. This can be because producers of IB whiskies often release single cask editions. In these releases, the influence of the cask can be so strong that it may be challenging to recognize the distillery.

The whisky featured today has been bottled by Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky, a Scottish producer of IB whiskies. The company was founded by Andrew and Brian Symington in 1988. Andrew Symington also owns the Edradour Distillery, which he acquired from Pernod Ricard in 2002. Both Signatory Vintage and Edradour now operate in the same premises.

After the lengthy introduction, let's get to the whisky of the evening. Distilled in November of the founding year of Signatory Vintage, this Highland Park found its way into the bottle in February 2000, a day after yours truly turned 18. The bottling strength is 43%, and the cask used was Sherry Butt number 11740.

While enjoying this, it might be good to pause for a moment to contemplate what the world might have looked like in 1988. Did the whisky makers ever stop to think when and where their handiwork would be enjoyed? Or did the individuals bottling the whisky ever imagine that it would take over 20 years before one of the bottles found its way to this cold northern region through a German auction and is savored on a snowy December 8th in different parts of Finland?

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