UK. British Airways – which is celebrating its 100-year aviation heritage this year – has partnered with Scottish distiller InchDairnie to create a limited-edition whisky that will culminate in a centenary dram being served up in 2031. The announcement is well-timed, with World Whisky Day approaching on 18 May.
Over the coming 12 years the cask-aged spirit will mature before being decanted into 300 limited-edition bottles that will be served exclusively on British Airways flights in 2031.
According to InchDairnie the maturation process “will draw out vanilla and coconut flavours and a dark colour from the cask, before ageing to create a malty, fruity Scotch whisky designed to work perfectly at altitude”.
Glenrothes-based InchDairnie (which means ‘hidden land close to water’) only began distilling in 2015 and is yet to release any single malt Scotch whiskies. The first will arrive in 2029 and the distillery even has a countdown clock on its website.
British Airways joined the expert distillers at InchDairnie to mix malted barley, water and yeast before distilling and pouring it into a bespoke American oak cask once used to mature bourbon.
The cask heads are from a red wine cask, made from French oak, in a tribute to the first flight operated by AT&T, the forerunner of today’s British Airways which flew to Paris in 1919. The American oak reflects British Airways’ up to 30 journeys across the Atlantic every day.
“Worth the wait…”
British Airways Wine and Beverages Manager, Kelly Stevenson, said: “Celebrating our centenary is about honouring our history, as well as looking to the future. InchDairnie has a modern approach to whisky distilling and we’ve incorporated touches with a nod to our history. In years to come our customers will be able to enjoy it from their seats – it will be worth the wait.”
InchDairnie Managing Director Ian Palmer – who has been distilling whisky for more than 40 years – added: “Although we are a new distillery, through the use of industry-leading technology we are bringing together decades of industry experience and knowledge, enabling us to fine-tune one of the most meticulously designed distillation processes in the world.”
Flyers can also own a bit of history as InchDairnie have created the ultra-exclusive Centenary Cask programme which will be showcased at the airline’s new First bar in New York from June. Twelve casks are being offered exclusively to British Airways customers between now and the end of September, with each having a unique taste profile.