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The whisky trends that have got us talking this year

This World Whisky Day, we’re distilling down the trends and topics that have been hitting the headlines and getting us thinking about the future of the industry, Kathryn Wilkie, Senior Associate, writes.

Nature makes her own stamp on flavour

If there’s one scientific whisky phenomenon that’s got us talking this year, it’s terroir. 


Despite being a French notion typically linked to wine, research has shown that environmental factors such as the soil and weather of a particular region do indeed determine how our whisky tastes, because of how this impacts barley as it grows. Mother nature does it again.

Goodbye old boys’ club

We’re pleased to see that inclusivity and diversity seems to be clearly on the rise throughout the industry. From the talented female distillers, blenders, and ambassadors leading the way for generations to come, to dedicated festivals such as OurWhisky working hard to draw in new audiences and a recognition that whisky is for everyone, the future's looking a lot more diverse.

What’s particularly pleasing is to see more and more brands and authoritative industry voices taking a stance and calling out gendered marketing and misogynistic narratives that have no place in the whisky community - something we’re sure we can all agree on.

The liquid gold rush

Forget stocks and shares - with the markets being unstable this last year, alternative investments are on the up and over the last decade whisky has steadily outperformed traditional assets such as fine art. SPEY client Whisky Auctioneer recently made history by becoming the first online auction house to sell both a million pound bottle and a million-dollar bottle, showing that whisky is a very hot investment. 

Why the draw to rare liquid gold? Whisky has provenance, a unique story, and there’s only ever so much of it in its physical form, making it extremely valuable.

The blends are back in town

Once deemed the unfashionable whisky tipple of choice, blends are seeing a revival and are being appreciated for their quality and potential more than ever. 

One reason for this is the growing appreciation for the art of blending, but also younger whisky drinkers experimenting with blends in mixed drinks. There’s also the draw of innovative brands such as Compass Box, Monkey Shoulder and Naked Grouse that are changing the way that we think about flavour - and what makes a whisky interesting. 

Finally, we’ve been spending a lot more time at home recently, and so the setting in which people are enjoying their drinks has shifted from the bar to our own spaces, leading to a rise in sales of blends and blended malts.

X By Glenmorangie Product Shot

The proof’s in the pudding

Neat, shaken, sipped, stirred, or even in an ice cream float, however you like your blends, bourbons or single malts, it all comes down to flavour.

Brands are becoming eager to cast their nets wider to draw in a younger and more diverse demographic. We’ve moved away from a time where adding ice (sacrilege) or even a mixer (okay, call the dram police) would seriously damage your whisky cred. Brands such as Benriach and Glenmorangie have been leading the way with this recently.

And thank goodness. Because if you’ve ever tried a fresh highball or a zesty old fashioned you’ll know that playing with flavour is where the fun’s at.

So wherever you are in the world, and whether you prefer your whisky neat, with ice or in a cocktail, we encourage you to raise a glass for World Whisky Day.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how our team can help you to promote your brand, whisky or not, then get in touch at hello@spey.scot.

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