While we’re definitely living in a new golden age of distilling, there’s nothing quite like old-style whisky. You can’t beat the farmyard funk and industrial smokiness of a ’72 Brora or the almost contradictory combination of tropical fruit and medicinal peat in a 1960s Bowmore. But what exactly made these whiskies so different to their modern counterparts?

The simple answer is that whisky making is a complicated business and minor changes to any part of the process resonate in the finished product. Let’s say you’re a distillery manager – and your distillery works with a low-yielding but tasty heirloom barley variety that’s malted in house and then fermented using brewer’s yeast. Then imagine you switch to a high-yield barley from a commercial maltings and ferment it using an efficient cultivated yeast strain. Without a doubt, the character of your whisky will change.

These modernisations of material and process didn’t all happen at every distillery and they didn’t happen all at once. But the industry’s gradual shift away from older methods and equipment had an impact on the broader character of Scotch whisky.

At Old & Rare you’ll be able to taste drams made the old-fashioned way.

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