Whisky thinking challenged

Whisky thinking challenged

Kininvie aims to shake things up with its first three trials from its new range

News | 07 Oct 2019

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Kininvie Works, from William Grant and Sons, has for the first time release some of its innovative experiments to whisky lovers.

The Works, the whisky equivalent of Lockheed’s Skunk Works or Mercedes’ AMG arm, describes itself as: “a collective of determined free-thinking distillers that go against the grain to challenge what we know about Scotch whisky. The ideas that they test are never constrained or informed by any commercial fulfilment plans.”

The inaugural Kininvie Works range is comprised of three makes – KVSM001, KVSG002 and KVSB003. Each of these expressions is characterised by one distinctive technique, with the ambition to create a liquid that represents the learnings of the experiments.

So, from the mouth of the producer this is what we can expect from the three new expressions and why:

KVSM001 – For this expression, Kininvie experimented with the distillery parameters to allow a third distillation process, comparable to Irish distillation and a contrast to the normal set-up at Kininvie. Run for one week at the distillery, KVSM001 is the result of this experiment – a five-year-old single malt whisky that has been aged in ex-Bourbon casks with an ABV of 47%. The observation of this trial was that shifting from a double to a triple distillation resulted in a floral and fruity character with hints of pear drops.

KVSG002 – Behind this expression is an experiment to explore the different flavour profiles generated by cereals other than the usual malted barley to see if, and how, the addition of malted rye could alter the whisky’s profile. KVSG002 is a three-year-old single grain whisky aged in virgin American oak casks with an ABV of 47.8%, defined by the addition of malted rye to the mash. What was observed was that the final product had a distinguished toffee flavour along with the classic spiciness associated with rye.

KVSB003 – The final release of the range is an innovation in blended Scotch. It uses a higher proportion of malt than usual for a blend, exploring how malt and grain drive flavour differently. KVSB003 is a blend of a three-year-old single grain with a parcel of single malt both produced at the Kininvie Distillery, aged in Virgin American oak and European casks respectively. It has an ABV of 48.2%. The observation was that this shift created a distinct spicy note that balances out the light floral note of Kininvie malt.

To celebrate these releases, Kininvie Works released its first White Paper – theorising a potential trial at Kininvie Works. It was written as a springboard for the whisky community to exchange and discuss ideas about potential future whisky experimentations and whether they should be pursued or not.

Titled The Influence of the Continuous Rousing of Spirit on the Characteristics of New Make Whisky Spirit, this first research work explores how the principle of aeration could be applied to whisky making in a similar way it is used to enhance the flavours of wine, and to understand the possibilities of ‘rousing’ new make spirit before it goes into casks.

The three Kininvie releases, KVSM001, KVSG002 and KVSB003 (50cl) are available to purchase on
The white paper, titled The Influence of the Continuous Rousing of Spirit on the Characteristics of New Make Whisky Spirit, can be downloaded free here:

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