Borders Malt & Rye undergoes the taste test from drinks blogger James Robertson.

I AM a proud Scotsman and equally proud of our national drink – whisky – but I do have a confession in that I love American bourbon and rye. So when a sample of the new whisky from the Borders Distillery landed on my desk I was intrigued.

John Fordyce is someone that you never tire of meeting or talking to about anything really, but whisky is his real passion. As the managing director and also the head distiller at Borders, I knew he had been planning a few different products and this new whisky is one of them.

Batch WS:01 Borders Malt & Rye is a bright pale yellow gold whisky, bottled at 40%, and made up of 63.8% single grain and 36.2% single malt. It is young and you can spot that even before you have a taste of it. There is a hint of young spirit on the nose but this is then overpowered by honey, butterscotch, and vanilla; there is a touch of oak, spice, and citrus as well. Before adding water to the whisky, it has notes of baked apple, dried apricots, brioche, and honey. Once a little water is added, the flavours open up, with butterscotch coming through and a reminder of my favourite pudding as a youngster – treacle tart.

For a whisky this young it is quite remarkable to have so many levels and once again John and his team have produced something special here. This is part of what John has called “The Workshop Series”. In his words, it is all about being inventive and innovative. I for one cannot wait to see what comes next in this series. Of course, if you have a chance, I would also recommend visiting this wonderful distillery down in Hawick – it is well worth the trip.

Six thousand bottles will be released for the UK market and 3,000 bottles for export, each bottle numbered as a limited edition. £40 for a 70cl bottle at

Read more of James’ reviews on his drinks blog, The Grape & The Grain.

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