Exclusive launch of Fettercairn Warehouse 2 - Interview with Stewart Walker
On the occasion of the exclusive launch of Fettercairn Warehouse 2 Batch N°001 for France at Comptoir Irlandais, we had the opportunity to interview the director of the distillery Stewart Walker.
"I had the pleasure of hosting Le Comptoir Irlandais during their visit to the distillery in late 2019. The 12 year old was added to their portfolio for the Christmas promotion that year & proved hugely popular with consumers. The offering has since expanded and now we’re thrilled to partner with them for this exclusive launch of Warehouse 2 Batch N°001 in France." - Stewart Walker
Can you introduce yourself and your job within the distillery?
I began my working life in farming, then made the move into the whisky industry in 1990. Having held most of the production roles that the distillery has, taking the journey from warehouseman to mashman to stillman and distillery brewer, I finally took on the top job of Distillery Manager in 2015. Over the years I have proudly gathered several achievements including being made a Keeper of the Quaich in 2017, overseeing a major refurbishment and welcoming an increasing number of visitors to Fettercairn. In 2021, while celebrating my 30th anniversary at Fettercairn Distillery, I won the prestigious Icons of Whisky, Distillery Manager of the Year award which was incredible.
Can you tell us a few words about the Fettercairn Distillery?
We are in the picturesque village of Fettercairn where I grew up, at the foothills of Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountains. Our distillery is a real hidden gem situated among some of the finest and most fertile farming land in the North East of Scotland. With the purest of mountain water as an ingredient, it is almost no surprise that when the distillery was established by Sir Alexander Ramsay in 1824, the enterprising pioneer chose this location.
Tell us about the process of making Fettercairn whiskies.
In the mid-1950s, the whisky-makers at Fettercairn experimented, seeking ways to create a purer expression of their spirit. They found that pouring water down the still cooled the copper, increasing reflux inside so only the lightest vapors could rise for collection. With this knowledge they fashioned a unique copper cooling ring around the neck of the stills drenching them with crystal clear mountain water - an ingenious and practical solution to creating their exceptional whisky, a technique which remains unique in Scotch whisky-making to this day.
What makes you different from other Scottish distilleries?
Fettercairn is an unexploited gem. A beautiful distillery with a unique process story, a wealth of history and a treasure trove of aged stocks.
Tell us about Fettercairn Warehouse 2, Batch N°001, exclusively at Le Comptoir Irlandais.
This month we saw the launch of Fettercairn’s first ever collection of small batch single malt whiskies. The Warehouse Collection pays homage to the places where Fettercairn comes of age, the 14 dunnage warehouses which boast incredible scarce treasures in the form of maturing stock.
Limited to 3,600 bottles (incl. 900 bottles for French Market), the first in the collection, Warehouse 2 Batch N°001 brings together five different cask styles all filled back in 2010 and matured in Warehouse 2, where high humidity combined with a relatively cool and temperate environment makes it mark on the maturing spirit.
This new release is testament to the guardianship of the distillery team, and the passion and drive of the whisky maker in exploring, uncovering, and discovering some of the most awe-inspiring spirit the distillery has available to bottle.
I had the pleasure of hosting Le Comptoir Irlandais during their visit to the distillery in late 2019. The 12 years old was added to their portfolio for the Christmas promotion that year & proved hugely popular with consumers. The offering has since expanded and now we’re thrilled to partner with them for this exclusive launch of Warehouse 2 Batch N°001 in France.
Which bottling are you most proud of?
My desert island dram from the Fettercairn family is the 28 Years Old. It’s truly unique and a perfect balance between the fruity notes which are created in the still house, and the funky tropical fruit character that develops over 28 years of patient maturation in American White Oak Ex-Bourbon barrels. This is a whisky I enjoy sharing with family or friends, particularly when there is something to celebrate.
What are the future projects for the distillery?
This summer we will launch the second bottling from our Warehouse 2 collection. And towards the end of the year we look forward to the release of Fettercairn 16 years old 2021. This follows on from the success of the first Fettercairn 16 years old which launched last year. Each year our 16 years old expressions will showcase different production processes and maturation stories. This year’s is no exception and will celebrate a new and exciting cask partnership.
In a broader sense we always have an eye on the future at Fettercairn, thinking about what the next 200 years of whisky making looks like for us. Things like the surrounding landscape, the forests, the fields and the people in the community and the barley farmers. Crucially, we want to continue making delicious whiskies, full of flavour, which can be enjoyed by whisky lovers all around the world.
Article written by Manon C.