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The Exceptional to be distributed in Europe

Don Sutcliffe, managing director of Craft Distillers, and Willie Phillips, former managing director of The Macallan have joined forces to create a series of small batch Scotch whiskies, The Exceptional by Sutcliffe & Son.

The bottlings are created from aged whiskies from several different Scotch distilleries, including rare casks from closed distilleries, which are then married over time and finished in first-fill oloroso casks.

The first consignment of whiskies will be available in three expressions, The Exceptional Grain (3rd edition), The Exceptional Malt (2nd Edition) and the Exceptional Blend (1st edition).

Due to the individual nature of the cask make-up, each edition of The Exceptional has distinctive characteristics. The Scotch grain and malt whiskies are all bottled at 43% ABV.  

The US based spirits specialist Sutcliffe & Son has teamed with Number One Drinks to supply The Exceptional to specialist whisky retailers in the UK and Europe. "We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with the Number One Drinks team to introduce The Exceptional in the UK,” Don Sutcliffe comments, “everyone to whom I spoke recommended we reach out to Marcin Miller for sound advice regarding the UK (and, in fact, the world) whisky market.”

Willie Phillips believes the timing perfect: “European consumers are knowledgeable in the progression of Scotch whisky. Our whiskies are blended to be distinctive expressions, using exceptional casks of mature grain and malt whiskies, each bottling to express nuanced elegance and complexity.”

Don and Willie formed a lasting friendship when they met over 25 years ago. Sutcliffe, who was instrumental in the development of The Macallan in the US, being largely responsible for the success on the west coast and Phillips, the former managing director of the Macallan Distillery for 23 years had always envisioned a future project together. With unparalleled access to some of the finest casks of whisky in Scotland and enlisting the help of master blender, Bill Arthur, their early ambition has come to fruition with the development of The Exceptional.

Marcin Miller, managing director of Number One Drinks said of the new partnership: “Sutcliffe & Son are the perfect fit for our portfolio and we look forward to introducing these outstanding whiskies to enthusiasts across the UK and Europe.”

The first two batches were very well received in the US, meeting with critical acclaim and selling out swiftly.  All expressions will retail at £86 per bottle.


1 August 2016 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor