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Ian Macleod’s Blending Room has released of a limited-edition blended Scotch whisky, in collaboration with distilling stars of tomorrow from The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University.

A team of four students worked with alongside a team at Ian Macleod Distillers to identify an ideal method for finishing blended Scotch whisky in virgin American-oak casks, looking at four key variables: Fill Strength, Blend Formulation, Time in Cask, and Toast/Char level.

The result is a one-cask release which is equal parts ‘A+ coursework’ and a Master Blender-certified dram. It’s the first collaborative bottling between The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling, and Ian Macleod Distillers, and the project is set to become an annual limited-edition release.

Meanwhile, the impact of this partnership is expected to remain a key part of this Heriot-Watt course year-round, with Ian Macleod Distillers gifting equipment to the sensory suite to aid the studies of the blenders and distillers of the future.

Annie Hill, Professor at Heriot-Watt University, said: “The students I have worked with have been given an experience that will help elevate their career in the whisky world. We have blended something really special and one that myself and Ian Macleod’s Blending Room are really proud of.”

The four students who took part in the project are Euan Martin, Matt Priaulx, Kellan Cowan and Jake Adcook, who won the prestigious Dr Chris Greig Prize for the best distilling project by a Scottish student in 2021-2022.

The whisky spent three months finishing in a virgin American oak barrel, giving a nose of smooth toffee and coconut with a base of clove and cinnamon. On the palate, it boasts a coating of sweet coffee and rich chocolate, finishing with spice and lively oak character.