Everything you need to know about Outlander star Sam Heughan's new whisky Sassenach

With the star of the hugely popular television series Outlander, Sam Heughan, getting set to launch his own drinks brand, here is everything you need to know about Sassenach whisky.

Published 6th Feb 2020
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The Scottish actor, who plays Jamie Fraser on the show, announced the news that he would be launching his own drinks brand on social media last year.

Dubbed Sassenach, the new whisky's name is a nod to the nickname Sam’s character Jamie has given his on-screen love interest Claire on the show and realises a dream the Scots actor has had for a long time.

The perfect dram to enjoy alongside an Outlander episode watch, here is everything you need to know about the new whisky:

Why is it called Sassenach and what does it mean?


The term originates in the Highlands and originally used in Gaelic-speaking circles to describe the English, or in some cases lowland Scots.

As mentioned, it's also the name affectionately given to Claire by Jamie in the show.

Why the Unicorn in the logo? 

The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland. (Yes really)

• READ MORE: Why is the Unicorn Scotland’s national animal?

The unicorn is the natural enemy of the lion - a symbol employed by the English royals.

When can we buy the new whisky? 

So far, Sam has only confirmed its release date for the US, with Europe set to have to wait a little longer. He hasn't released the price yet but did say that it won't be too expensive.

Initially, there will only be 10,000 bottles released, however, the star stated that there are plans to extend that number should the initial launch be a success.

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Posting on their official Instagram account, Sam's team wrote: "We are excited to announce that The Sassenach Whisky will be available to order in select states in the US on March 2nd! We are counting the days."


How did the whisky thing come about? 

The Scottish actor announced the decision to launch a new business, Great Glen Company, in an interview with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) published last year.

He added: "First stop is obviously the lifelong dream of having my own dram."

He's also previously joked that whisky makes you "thinner and happier", but added that the real reason he loves whisky is that it reminds him "so much of home".

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A big fan of single malts, he even shared with us some of his favourites a few years back:

• READ MORE: Outlander actor Sam Heughan reveals some of his favourite whiskies

In the interview, Sam explained that "everyone on set" was a fan of whisky, and that in fact showrunner Ron Moore is something of a collector and great fan of Scottish single malts.

He then quipped that he'd even managed to "damage" Ron's collection quite a bit.

He is also no stranger to the drinks industry, having cut his teeth as Hugh Tennent in the popular series of adverts for Scotland's most famous lager brand Tennent's.

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What do we know about the whisky? 

Though Sam has exclaimed his love for peated whisky on many an occasion, which he says are best enjoyed "in front of a roaring fire after a day of hiking in the Scottish hills", he recently revealed that as he's gotten older, he's started to enjoy sweeter flavours.

He's hinted that the new whisky will be rich, distinct, sweet and smooth, making it as approachable and appealing as possible to a wide range of whisky fans.

The actor explained that he has been working on the new whisky for around a year and a half, and that he wanted to be a part of the process all the way through. Adding that he's been involved in every stage, he said it's very much a labour of love.

A premium blended whisky (meaning it's a marriage of both single malts and single grain whisky) it's been bottled at an impressive 46% abv.

The resulting whisky is described as being: “Inspired by the Highland landscape, the Sassenach is a uniquely blended Scotch whisky with a distinct character and smooth flavour, suitable for any occasion.

“Ancient peaks, hidden glens, and rising morning mist, freshwater and firm oak run deep in its veins.

"Matured in casks that previously held fine Madeira wine, the exceptional blend has an underlying rich character that rises to the forefront.”

With regard to flavour notes, it's described as the nose being packed with "citrus fruits, almonds, and vanilla", while on the palate, expect to find notes of "peach, apricot, honey, and butterscotch".

Will there be other products? 

Sam has hinted that he is keen to add other spirits to the line-up. He even mooted the idea that they might even do a craft beer (a nod back to his part as Hugh Tennents perhaps).

He added that there will probably be other whiskies added as well.

READ MORE: 'Edinburgh theatre-goers will know him by his rather pert behind' - Sam Heughan’s career and roles before Outlander fame

Any other whisky connections? 

Sam recently revealed that the Outlander team shot several scenes in Deanston Distillery's cask warehouses, near Stirling.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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