Uncomplicated, refreshing and long, the highball is enjoying a wave of popularity at the moment. With this in mind, Langstane Liquor Company has developed Glasshouse Whisky, a scotch meant for mixing in long drinks.
Langstane, which also makes Porter’s Gin, was co-founded by Ben Iravani, Josh Rennie and Mr Lyan Group’s global head of bar operations, Alex Lawrence.
‘We were bartending and decided we would have a crack at making spirits,’ said Lawrence at the launch event for Glasshouse, held at Black Rock Tavern in Shoreditch. ‘We made gin because we wanted it to taste a certain way in a cocktail.’
Now they have applied this bartender-minded approach to the whisky highball.
‘It just didn't make sense to me that there wasn't a whisky designed to be drunk long that was a little bit higher abv. It seemed like such an obvious gap,’ he commented.
The Langstane team worked with Highland distillery Loch Lomond to produce the liquid.
The resulting expression is a 100% malted barley blended scotch made from just two whiskies – a robust pot-distilled style, and a cleaner, lighter column-distilled style. It sits at a punchy 46% abv, allowing its flavours to shine through with soda. On the nose, it boasts autumnal aromas of green and red apple with malty undertones, and these follow through on the palate, with even more cereal and a hint of toffee coming through.
Lawrence and brand ambassador Jack Wareing explained that the goal was to produce an easy-drinking liquid (‘With soda, we wanted it to taste like Appletiser’), dispelling notions of whisky’s image as precious and stuffy. ‘I wanted to get away from this solitary, leather-armchair, neat, smoky whisky nonsense,’ said Lawrence.
And while Lawrence and Wareing greatly admire the Japanese highball tradition, it’s not the basis for the Glasshouse brand. ‘[Japanese bartenders] have grasped a two-ingredient drink that's really taken off,’ said Wareing. ‘There's a lot of ceremony around constructing [the whisky highball], and it's all about the theatre.
‘Glasshouse is less of that, it's not performative. We're trying to break down that barrier.’
Lawrence agreed. ‘It's just getting people together to enjoy whisky in an unexpected way. It is as simple as that, it doesn't have to have all this heritage.’