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  • Gemma D.

Revealing RyeLaw Whisky: Ian Palmer's Exceptional Single Grain


There are occasions that stand out like a well-aged single malt. One such extraordinary night unfolded for me on the 13th of November at the Harbour Club in Rotterdam—an exclusive invitation to the launch of a new RyeLaw Fife Single Grain Whisky by the captivating Ian Palmer from InchDairnie distillery.


Unveiling Ian Palmer's Latest Creation

Personally invited by Disaronno, I eagerly made my way to this event, and now, I'm thrilled to recount the experience for you. Upon arriving at the Harbour Club, I was greeted with an Old-Fashion and the anticipation of discovering a whisky hidden from the mainstream. The man of the hour, Ian Palmer, Managing Director and Founder of the InchDairnie Distillery, shared his insights and methods, giving us a glimpse into the craftsmanship behind this unique dram. His innovative approach to whisky-making was truly a breath of fresh air in an industry often bound by tradition.


The M of Materials

Ian took us along the three M's that make RyeLaw: Materials, Method and Maturation. The first 'M' in his trio of essentials—Materials—was a key focus. He shared with us the rationale behind their quest for distinctiveness, aiming to create a Scottish rye whisky that echoed the essence of Scotland. This led them to a rye blend with 53% malted rye, a deliberate departure from the common unmalted variety. The choice of 53% wasn't arbitrary; it was a meticulous fusion of the Scottish definition of scotch whisky and the American definition of rye whisky. It was about ensuring a broad and balanced flavor profile. The goal was clear: the rye should enhance the overall experience, seamlessly weaving into the narrative rather than dominating the tale. This deliberate balance, settled at 53%, ensures that every sip is not just a drink but an immersive journey.



The M of Method

The second pillar of Ian Palmer's whiskey artistry is the Method at InchDairnie. Their distinctive approach starts with blending barley and rye, deviating from the norm by using a hammer mill for milling, a crucial step that defines the whiskey's texture. The resultant grist has to be fine enough to pass through a metal mesh, one the company is so proud of, the design is highlighted on the bottle's neck.


While subsequent steps align with industry practices, working with the thick and viscous nature of rye presents unique challenges. InchDairnie employs a mash filter, and their proprietary tye yeast for a three-day fermentation.


The M for Maturation

The American rules are straightforward when it comes to cask additions—only new charred Oak is allowed. In Scotland, while technically any previously used spirit-containing vessel is fair game, the tradition often leans towards American bourbon casks. Despite the flexibility, many adhere to the familiar, like sherry or Port casks, usually with a history of use. There's a belief that the Scotch Whisky Association's rules are rigid, but Ian stands firm that it doesn't specify seasoned casks. InchDairnie bucks the trend, using exclusively new American Oak casks, making it a unique Scotch whisky.


Eye for detail

The significance behind the name RyeLaw lies in its Scottish roots—where "Law" means a small isolated hill, translating to "the hill where the Rye grows." This Fife single grain whisky proudly displays its identity on the bottle, emphasizing its exclusivity. Ian has no plans to distribute to independent bottlers under his management, ensuring a unique experience in every bottle.


Bottled at 46.3% ABV, surpassing the Scottish minimum level of 40%, RyeLaw carries intentional numerals. The '6' pays homage to the six plates in the still's neck, while the '3' resonates with the char number of the cask and wood used. Presented as a vintage, this whisky's journey began in 2017, culminating in its bottling in 2022. Each sip of RyeLaw is not just a drink; it's a sip of history, craftsmanship, and the essence of the Scottish landscape.


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