A prerequisite for a Scottish whisky is that is has an interesting story behind it. In this regard, Pure Scot delivers.
David Prior made his fortune with five:am organic yoghurt in his native Australia. He sold it for a cool $80million and rode off into the sunset. Well, not quite. He then did what we all would do if we had such a sum of money, and surveyed the world for what he could spend his fortune on.
He decided he wanted to buy a distillery and make a new whisky, and that’s exactly what he did. He bought the Bladnoch distillery in Dumfries and set about making Pure Scot.
Bladnoch has a history, both distinguished and recently sad. As Scotland’s most southernly distillery, it was established in 1817 but the previous owners closed the business in 2014. Sad news for Bladnoch, but perfect timing for Melbourne-based Prior.
Here’s a little context. There are no shortage of distilleries in Scotland. Most, however, are now owned by multi-national companies. This doesn’t affect the flavour of the national drink but it does make it clear how unusual it is for an independent distillery to take on the big boys.
This is fine for Prior. He’s made it clear he’s looking to expand upon, not steal, the existing whisky market. It’s not even currently in shops in the UK. Pure Scot is being exported to Melbourne’s many bars and clubs to carry out the plan of rejuvinating, or even creating, a taste for whisky amongst twenty-somethings.
This can be seen in the marketing. Pure Scot is as far from Whisky Galore! territory as whisky can get. It’s about the cocktails, the night out and the party. This isn’t about competing with the malt market. It’s a sexy product which just happens to be a whisky and has identified a niche to be filled.
The first thing that strikes you about Pure Scot is the bright brilliance of the bottle, containing references to the magnificent Scottish mountains on a broad shouldered, angular structure. The thick base makes the honey orange whisky look like it’s hovering in the bottle. The bottle isn’t a screw top. There’s a cork with the Pure Scot insignia. A lot of thought has been put into the presentation.
It’s noted as being a blend of “unique Bladnoch Single Malt, robust island malts, aged Speyside and Highland malts and select grain whiskies”.
For all that it’s being pitched as a mixer for sophisticated mid-20s on a night out, this 40-something sampled it with a drop of water and enjoyed it. It is what it is. It’s a stylish introduction to an idea of how whisky could be enjoyed by a new demographic. Purists may feel they have licence to moan but the truth is that products like Pure Scot could be a stepping stone for a lot of people to more ‘serious’ whisky.
Nose : Mildly floral, butterscotch.
Taste : Smooth, sweet, rounded.
Finish : Slightly dry, satisfying.
Disclaimer. Pure Scot sent me a bottle of Pure Scot to review. You may have figured that out from the article but I’m highlighting it all the same.
Getting your hands on a bottle
Pure Scot is not available in shops in the UK. Short of approaching the distillery direct, this competition is your best bet for getting your hands on a bottle. Or, you could fly to Melbourne and snaffle some.