Aerstone is a new brand from William Grant and Sons, where the consumer is in charge.
Having asked consumers what was important to them when deciding on buying a whisky, age was a strong reason to buy. When also asked about the issues with buying whisky, the consumer feedback was that they found the category confusing. Single Malt Whisky is sold predominantly by distillery or region, but rarely by simply how it tastes. They also found there were two main flavour profiles consumers tended to like. Smooth and easy to drink whisky and richer more smoky whisky.
By creating a whisky brand with these two distinct whiskies, William Grant and Sons have made choosing whisky easier. The first whisky, Sea Cask, is as it says on the bottle, smooth and easy. Beyond this there is a subtle salted caramel flavour giving the whisky depth and complexity. Land Cask, as it says on the bottle is rich and smoky, with extra complexity coming from dried fruit flavours and touches of toffee and chocolate.
The Sea Cask bottle has the mineral flavour as logically one would expect a whisky matured by the sea to be salty. This isn’t exactly the case as many whiskies matured away from the sea have a salty flavour, but for a consumer this connection makes sense even if not strictly true, and therefore makes the buying decision easier. In the same manner the Land Cask logically is smoky as peat, the fuel for drying the barley, makes the barley and in turn the whisky smoky, and earthy, and is earth itself.
Both of these whiskies are ten years old. They start off with the same spirit and it is the way in which the whisky is matured which gives them their particular characteristics. These whiskies are to be retailed for the first twelve months by Tesco at a retail price of around £30 making these aged spirits accessible to most consumers.
By Colin Hampden-White