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TB X Circumstance

By March 11, 2024May 24th, 2024No Comments


Circumstance Single Grain English Whisky



One of the most incredibly satisfying aspects of being part of the ever-growing
whisky/whiskey world is seeing new techniques and styles emerging from warehouses and
blending labs. This experimentation is arguably most apparent in New World Distilleries.
Unfettered by the constraints of regulatory bodies, traditions, or market expectations, these
distilleries are cropping up in increasing numbers in countries not traditionally associated
with the production of whisky/whiskey. And some are producing some truly fantastic liquid,
providing that production of the water of life is no longer confined to the traditional big five.

One nation increasingly making a name for themselves in whisky is England, with
Circumstance Distillery being one of the most experimental and exciting distilleries to
emerge from the growing whisky nation.

Built on a flavour first approach, this highly commended distillery creates complex, exciting
liquid by using complex, multi-grain mash bills, brewer’s yeast, and looks for long
fermentations to develop its unique spirit. Sharing such a similar production philosophy with
this distillery, we have recently collaborated with Circumstance Distillery to take part in a
“blended at birth” project.

Two ASBs were filled at Circumstance Distillery on the 29th of February, with equal parts
Dornoch and Circumstance spirit. Interestingly for this project, both distilleries used Organic
Floor-Malted Maris Otter, both batches coming from the same farm and being malted by
Warminster Maltings. Each distillery then took this malt and fermented and distilled at their
respective distilleries, putting their signature production hallmarks on the spirit they
produced. Circumstance added a small amount of unmalted barley, leaning into their mixed
grain mashbills, before fermenting and distilling in their hybrid pot and column still. Here at
Dornoch, we fermented for our standard seven days, combing a mixture of repitch stout and
fresh pale ale yeast before slowly distilling on our hoga stills. As a special note, a significant
proportion of the spirit produced was made by initially filling hot on repitch stout yeast, before
rapidly cooling the wort, followed by overpitching with fresh pale ale yeast. This was done to
try and create additional amino acids for the fresh yeast to consume, which, coupled with the
overpitch, would hopefully lead to increased ester production.



The two resulting spirits were radically different, with our Dornoch displaying our classic
green, oily, tequila/agave characteristics, hallmarks of the yeast derived phenolic
characteristics we often see in our spirit, and the Circumstance Distillery being bright and
fresh. An interesting exploration of how the similar production philosophies can result in two
radically different styles of whisky.
For those of you that haven’t had the opportunity to try Circumstances spirit yourselves, fear
not! We have managed to secure and bring you two single casks of their juicy liquid, which
we are incredibly excited about in house, and can’t wait to share with you.

It is obvious when you taste any Circumstance spirit that the team are obsessed with quality and flavour.

We are excited to work together with the team long into the future!


Read what the team at Circumstance have to say about the collaboration here!


Circumstance Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 2020, 3 Years Old, 70CL, 57.1%ABV – Bottled by Thompson Bros, Dornoch

While we patiently wait for this collaboration to mature, we were fortunate enough to get our hands on 2 casks of matured Circumstance Single Gran English Whisky! The first cask has been bottled exclusively for the UK market, it will be available via our ballot system, in our Dornoch shop and in all our favourite whisky shops/bars! This circumstance whisky has been created with 85% distilling malt and 15% raw barley, so is a similar make up to that of the spirit being mixed with Dornoch new make!

Tasting Notes:

N – Lots of floral honey, beeswax, chamomile tea, dried papaya, sage, starfruits and kiwi. Some homemade elderflower cordial and hints of oils and grease. Canola oil and fennel seed.

P – Tropical fruits, ripe kiwis, starfruits (again), gooseberries. The honey and wax continues with chamomile and fruit teas (slightly drying) glacier mints

F – Soft fruits, elegant and gentle oak char and spice

Vhairi Mackay

Author Vhairi Mackay

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