Ian Macleod’s Blending Room collaborates with students at Heriot-Watt University on one-cask blended Scotch whisky



L-R: Jake Adcook, Prof. Annie Hill, Matt Priaulx, and Euan Martin.

Ian Macleod’s Blending Room has today announced the release of a limited-edition blended Scotch whisky, the result of a collaboration with distilling stars of tomorrow from The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University.

A team of four students worked with alongside a team at Ian Macleod Distillers to identify an ideal method for finishing blended Scotch whisky in virgin American-oak casks, looking at four key variables: Fill Strength, Blend Formulation, Time in Cask, and Toast/Char level.

The result is a one-cask release which is equal parts ‘A+ coursework’ and a Master Blender-certified dram. It’s the first collaborative bottling between The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling, and Ian Macleod Distillers, and the project is set to become an annual limited-edition release.

What’s more, the impact of this partnership will remain a key part of this Heriot-Watt course year-round, with Ian Macleod Distillers gifting equipment to the sensory suite to aid the studies of the blenders and distillers of the future.

Emma Newton, Blender at Ian Macleod Distillers, said: “As a graduate of Heriot-Watt’s Brewing and Distilling programme I think this has been a brilliant collaboration with great results.

"Ian Macleod Distillers has a storied history in distilling and long-earned expertise in blending, so I think it’s very fitting that we’ve had the chance to share this experience with the distillers and blenders of tomorrow. The talented students from the Brewing and Distilling MSc at Heriot-Watt University should be very proud as they’ve created a delightful dram!”

Annie Hill, Professor at Heriot-Watt University, said: “The students I have worked with have been given an experience that will help elevate their career in the whisky world. We have blended something really special and one that myself and Ian Macleod’s Blending Room are really proud of."

The four students who took part in the project are Euan Martin, Matt Priaulx, Kellan Cowan and Jake Adcook, who won the prestigious Dr Chris Greig Prize for the best distilling project by a Scottish student in 2021-2022.

Reflecting on his experience, Matt Priaulx, said: “A massive thank you to Ian Macleod’s Blending Room for the opportunity to learn and gain the expertise from the best in the business. To be part of such a special bottling has been such an enriching experience.

"I look forward to sharing a dram with my fellow course members and our supervisor, Prof. Annie Hill, who has been on the journey with us.”

The whisky spent three months finishing in a virgin American oak barrel, giving an enriched nose of smooth toffee and coconut with a warming base of clove and cinnamon. On the palate, a luxurious coating of sweet coffee and rich chocolate, finishing with spice and lively oak character. 

Bottled at 44.4% ABV, the Ian Macleod Blending Room 01: Heriot-Watt Release is available to purchase direct from Ian Macleod’s Blending Room.


Craig McManamon

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