May 22 2019  |  Catering

BA and Scottish distiller aging commemorative whisky

By Rick Lundstrom

Oak barrels used for Bourbon and cask heads that were used for French red wine will flavor the BA whisky over the next 12 years

As part of its celebration of 100 years in operation, British Airways has released a limited-edition whisky with InchDairnie, the Scottish distillers.

To mark World Whisky Day on May 18, the two British brands started the 12-year process of creating a limited-edition pour for the airline’s centenary. The partnership will culminate with a centenary dram served up in 2031.

British Airways joined the expert distillers at the Fife based distillery to mix malted barley, water and yeast before distilling and pouring it into a 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 company of today’s British Airways, which flew to Paris in 1919. The American oak is a nod to British Airways, as the airline now makes up to 30 daily journeys across the Atlantic.

Over 12 years, the spirit will mature, drawing out vanilla and coconut flavors and a dark color from the cask, before aging to create a malty, fruity, Scotch whisky designed to work perfectly at cruising altitude. The cask-aged spirit will then be decanted into 300 limited-edition bottles that will be served exclusively on British Airways flights in 2031.

“Celebrating our centenary is all about honoring our airline’s history, as well as looking to the future,” said Kelly Stevenson, British Airways’ Wine and Beverage Manager, “InchDairnie has a modern and innovative 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 the comfort of their seat – we know it will be worth the wait.”

Ian Palmer, Managing Director of InchDairnie, who has been distilling whisky for more than 40 years, added: “We’re delighted we’ve been able to create a very special whisky for British Airways in their very special year. Although we are a new distillery who have a much younger heritage than British Airways, 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.”

InchDairnie has created the ultra-exclusive Centenary Cask Programme which will be showcased at the airline’s brand new First bar in New York starting next month. Twelve casks are being offered exclusively to British Airways passengers between now and the end of September, and each cask will have its own unique taste profile.

British Airways has released a series of centenary editions in partnership with British brands during its centenary. The airline has partnered with Scottish craft brewers, BrewDog, The brewer created a transatlantic IPA for passengers and has also teamed up with Marmite, which developed centenary branded jar. As Marmite is the most confiscated brand at airport security, the travel-sized jar is conveniently sized to fit within the liquid allowance.

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