A secretive band of whisky industry experts has teamed up to form a new independent bottling brand called the Whisky Illuminati.
The project is being headed up by Keith Bonnington, who was previously at Edrington, and Stephen Gorman, a digital marketing entrepreneur. The secretive panel plan to sniff out a series of 'exceptional, limited-edition malts'.
The Illuminati has a tough selection process, with less than 10% of those it tastes being chosen for bottling.
The first release from Illuminati is The Candlelight Series, which is made up of four single-cask malts: Mortlach 1998 19yo Spanish Oak Sherry Butt (56.9% abv, £260/70cl); Linkwood 1998 19yo American Oak Hogshead (58.5% abv, £260/70cl); Clynelish 1997 20yo American Oak Hogshead (55.3% abv, £270/70cl); Glentauchers 1997 20yo American Oak Barrel (50.3% abv, £270/70cl).
They are all bottled at cask strength, aren't chill filtered, and have no colouring added.
'We're a group of like-minded, quality-obsessed individuals who have come together through a love for good Scotch whisky to assess and acquire outstanding single-cask malt whiskies worthy of the Whisky Illuminati seal of approval. Our members don't crave the limelight, we simply want to bring exceptional whiskies to market,' said Bonnington of the collective.
'Not constrained by age or style, the Whisky Iluminati's releases are individually first-class, but a complete one-off as a collection.'