High-tech blockchain meets 17th-century European histor

Adelphi’s Winter Queen, whisky. Copyright photograph by Tina Norris.

The makers of some of the world’s most innovative whiskies have said they are rolling out the use of blockchain technology for their latest blend of Scotch and world whisky.

Fusion Whisky and its partners Adelphi Distillery said their new release, The Winter Queen, was a blend of European history and innovative blockchain technology, and was made by fusing Scotch with malt whisky from the Netherlands.

The Winter Queen whisky will now go down in history as the second whisky to use blockchain technology following the release of Fusion Whisky’s Australian blend, The Brisbane, in March, and two of Adelphi’s own AD spirits, the second of which was launched last month.

Today’s release is the second expression of The Winter Queen, which was launched in February this year. This historic second edition was released today to commemorate the coronation of Scottish princess Elizabeth Stuart, who was crowned Queen of Bohemia 399 years ago today.

Alex Bruce, master blender and managing director of Adelphi Distillery, said: “Such was the success of and acclaim for The Winter Queen, we were very keen to bring out another edition. This is our most complex fusion to date, with more than six different malt whiskies going into the blend, including Scotch form Bowmore, Mortlach and Teaninich distilleries, and malt whisky from Zuidam Distillery in the Netherlands.”

Mr Bruce said The Winter Queen was also the second whisky to use blockchain, after the distillery pioneered the technology last year with its Adelphi’s AD series of spirits.

Adelphi said the blockchain innovation gave the distillery unprecedented opportunity to detail the provenance of its whisky and AD spirits, and allowed consumers to see every aspect of a whisky’s journey, from the field the barley came from to who bottled it and when. In Fusion Whisky’s case, it also gives the buyer the opportunity to discover more about the historical Scot each whisky celebrates.

The Winter Queen follows Fusion Whisky’s previous releases, The Glover, The E&K and The Brisbane. Each of the whiskies celebrates an influential Scot who had a positive influence in the country the partner whisky is sourced.

The Glover, first released in 2015, was a blend of Scotch and ultra-rare whisky from the legendary Hanyu distillery in Japan. It honoured the life and legacy of Thomas Blake Glover, an Aberdonian merchant and diplomat who was instrumental in Japan’s modernisation in the second half of the 19th century, and who played a part on the foundation of Mitsubishi and the Kirin Group.

Mr Bruce added: “Like Thomas Glover, many people hadn’t heard of or appreciated the influence Elizabeth Stuart had in 17th-century Europe. She was the eldest daughter of James VI of Scotland and I of England, but was also the grandmother of King George I; and was the link between the Stuart and Hanovarian thrones. But she was herself an extraordinary woman who survived plots, exile and military sieges, and who built up a court in The Hague whose influence stretched across Europe for 40 years or so.”

Blockchain technology allows distilleries and whisky companies to authoritatively demonstrate the whisky’s provenance, and wards against fraud and counterfeit. Fusion Whisky’s partners Adelphi Distillery pioneered the innovation with their AD spirit last year, working with Edinburgh -based tech firm Arc-Net.

Drew Lyall, general manager of Arc-Net, said: “We are thrilled to be continuing our project with Fusion Whisky and supporting their work as they bring fresh innovation to the industry. The Winter Queen has a wonderful and unique story to tell and the arc-net solution provides Fusion Whisky and Adelphi the means to share that story with their passionate customers.”

Tasting notes for The Winter Queen:

  • Mahogany in colour, with amber lights.
  • Slightly nose drying, with blueberry compote, saddle soap and a dusting of coffee powder. Maritime notes also start to become apparent (moss and driftwood)
  • To taste, Parma Violets with highland toffee and touch of smoke creeping through
  • A long finish with hints of dark chocolate and freshly ground coffee in abundance
  • ABV 54.5%

The Scotch elements include whisky from Bowmore, Mortlach and Teaninich distilleries. The Dutch whisky is from Zuidam. The youngest whisky is 19 years old.

The Winter Queen will be available through select specialist retailers, priced around £195.



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