Thistly Cross Cider has long been at the forefront of the craft cider movement in Scotland and has been experimenting with cask-aged ciders for a number of years – a technique that is often used for beers but, as of yet, is still relatively new to the cider industry.
However, this collaboration is truly unique in that, after the whisky casks have been used to mature cider, they are sent back up to the distillery to be used again for whisky maturation.
“It has been great to use the cider casks to enhance the character of Glen Moray,” said Graham Coull, Distillery Manager. “As far as we are aware, no other Scottish Single Malt Whisky distillery has matured their whisky in cider casks. The results, even at this early stage, are superb – watch this space!”
Thistly Cross Cider uses the whisky casks from the distillery to mature their small batch Whisky Cask cider, which is fast becoming the most popular in their portfolio. The friendship between the two producers allows Thistly to ensure that their Glen Moray Whisky Cask cider has a permanent listing in their barrel-aged range.
“We’re excited to be working with a strong Scottish heritage brand such as Glen Moray,” said Head Cidermaker Peter Stuart. “Collaboration and friendship is at the heart of Thistly’s ethos, and we love working with the distillery! Both companies are known for producing innovative products and flavours, so working together was a logical step to take,” he continued. “Our Whisky Cask cider is Thistly’s fastest growing cider variety and is taking both Scottish companies into new markets and export territories.”
Thistly Cross Cider is a relatively young East Lothian company, having started in 2008 as a partnership between artist Peter Stuart and farmer Ian Rennie; conversely, Glen Moray whisky has been distilled on the banks of the River Lossie since 1897. Using local ingredients and craftsmen, the distillery takes a bespoke approach to producing a wide range of cask-finished whiskies; the fine balance between creativity and tradition is evident throughout their range.
Glen Moray’s casks begin their journey in the USA. Like most Scotch Whisky casks, they were previously used for bourbon. The white oak used for the casks (quercus alba) imparts a vanilla-like flavour to its contents, whilst the flavour from Glen Moray whisky adds a complexity to Thistly’s smooth flavour profile.
Thistly Cross Whisky Cask cider is available in a wide range of pubs and independent bottle shops across the UK, as well as supermarkets across Scotland, and is also stocked internationally.