Strewth Ailsa! A new era for single malt whisky as William Grant & Sons launches Ailsa Bay in Australia

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 13th November 2018

INDEPENDENT family-owned distiller, William Grant & Sons has launched Ailsa Bay in Australia – the only malt whisky in the world to index “sweetness” due to a data-led distillation process, created by Malt Master, Brian Kinsman.

Ailsa Bay brings its award-winning liquid to Australian whisky enthusiasts following a successful launch in the United Kingdom and Nordics in 2016.

This single malt has taken whisky craft and innovation to a whole new level through scientific precision at its state-of-the-art distillery in Girvan, Scotland.

Programmed for flavour, enhanced through industry-first “sweetness” index

Ailsa Bay is the only whisky in the world to be created based on an industry-first “sweetness” index which enables the scientific measurement of sweetness.

This complements a precise calculation of “peatiness” to create the perfect balance between smokiness and sweetness – all driven by advanced technology.

This revolutionary method was developed by Malt Master Brian Kinsman at William Grant & Sons.

Whisky scientists (yes, they are a thing) 

Ailsa Bay single malt whisky is also the only Scotch whisky to undergo “micro-maturation”, a process where the new spirit is first kept in small bourbon casks to age for up to nine months.

By “cask starting” rather than “cask finishing” the malt, whisky scientists can then layer on a complex matrix of flavours, taking the liquid through rapid, intense maturation and incorporating varying levels of sweetness and smokiness.

The unique methodology is driven by a collective of whisky visionaries and scientists including William Grant & Sons’ family member, Peter Gordon whose dream led to the building of the Ailsa Bay distillery to develop a new style of peated whisky.

“Ailsa Bay’s distillery is one of the most advanced in the world and is a playground for our inquisitive team of scientists, engineers and whisky makers questioning the status quo and pushing boundaries,” says William Grant & Sons’ Malt Master, Brian Kinsman.

“We have created a beautiful new sensory experience in whisky through experimentation with data science, distilling whisky in the most precise way possible.”

A better tomorrow

Mr Kinsman said Ailsa Bay speaks to whisky enthusiasts in the science and technology fields who are as passionate about whisky as they are about molecular engineering of the golden liquid.

“It also targets the tech venturers who strive to create a better tomorrow through technology.”

Alongside its innovative liquid, Ailsa Bay’s packaging features dynamic artwork which takes its inspiration from the creativity of science, reflecting the boundary-pushing technology at its Girvan distillery.

Ailsa Bay is available in Australia through Vintage Cellars (and online), select First Choice stores (and online) only and Liquorland select stores in December at a recommended retail price of $AUD99 per 700ml bottle.

Tasting notes

Ailsa Bay is scientifically distilled at 022 phenol parts per million (PPM) and 019 “sweet” parts per million (SPPM).

Nose: Fresh wood smoke and a rich peaty aroma, followed by candied orange peel and oak sweetness.

Taste: Beautifully balanced peat and rich vanilla oakiness, maintaining the same intriguing flavour meandering between smoke, fruit and creamy toffee.

Finish: An intriguing balance of oaky sweetness and peaty dryness.

About Ailsa Bay

Ailsa Bay is one of the largest Single Malt Distilleries in the world producing up to 12 million litres of single malt per year. The Distillery was opened in 2007 on the Girvan site in Ayrshire. The Distillery currently produces four styles of liquid and is a largely automated new age distillery.

About William Grant & Sons

William Grant & Sons, Ltd. is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. Today, the luxury spirits company is run by the fifth generation of his family and distils some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s favourite single malt Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie® range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch Grant’s® as well as other iconic spirits brands such as Hendrick’s® Gin, Sailor Jerry®, Milagro® Tequila, Tullamore D.E.W Irish Whiskey, Monkey Shoulder and, most recently, Drambuie and Hudson.