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The History of Shetland Reel Whisky

The History of Shetland Reel Whisky 

We are moving forwards to begin the first distillation of Shetland Single Malt Whisky, whilst we wait we have carefully selected malts to create an island inspired and award winning Blended Malt Whisky.

Blended malts are produced by blending two or more single malt whiskies together from two different distilleries and they differ from traditional blends in that they contain no grain whisky. These were previously referred to as “vatted malts” and are some of the most innovative and exciting whiskies around – ours are no different.

Shetland Reel Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is a series of award winning blended or “vatted” expressions we have produced since 2015. Each batch of our blended malt is prepared from a small number of carefully selected casks of single malt Scotch whisky to create an exceptional whisky that is inspired by our distillery location in Unst, Shetland. The recipe was carefully developed by our master distillery Stuart Nickerson, and is blended at cask strength on mainland Scotland. It then begins a 16-hour journey by ferry to the UK’s most northerly inhabited island – Unst. Once it arrives at the distillery it is reduced using pure Shetland water to the bottling strength of 47% before being bottled by hand at our distillery.


Our Batch 3 Blended Malt Scotch Whisky was produced using the same award-winning recipe and combines a single Islay single malt cask with rest of the blend comprising of Speyside and Highland malts. This combination produces a unique expression that is truly evocative of the Shetland islands and was awarded 90/100 in The Whisky Bible 2018.


Tasting Notes: Inspired by our truly unique islands this whisky has sweet dried fruits, warming spices and a windswept peat flavour on the nose. Initially on the palate there is a moreish vanilla and toffee notes from the Highland casks that are balanced by the smoky flavours of the Islay cask. The finish is warming with lingering smoke and a well-rounded sweetness.



Our exclusive Blended Malt Scotch Whisky was bottled only at Saxa Vord distillery on the island of Unst, Shetland. With notes of sweet dried fruits, spices, wood and wind swept with peat, you can almost taste all the elements of the special environment of this remote island.

Batch two blends the same Speyside, Highland and Islay, cask strength single malts and is diluted with Unst water to 47% ABV. There are subtle differences in notes and batch two has a noticable darker finish making for an enticing whisky. 


Tasting Notes: The nose opens with peat but not iodine, something softer with notes of butter, vanilla and at the back toffee cooking on the stove. On the palate the first sensation is sweet dried fruits, dark fudge, dates and raisins, with peat and then black peppers. The finish is long with the dried fruits, peat and peppers all lingering and warming. 



November 2015 saw the launch of our Shetland Reel Blended Malt Scotch Whisky. Bottled in our distillery from four Speyside and one Islay cask strength single malts, they were diluted to 47% ABV with pure Unst water.

The blend 'Batch 1' was a limited edition of 1800 bottles, and was a unique expression, evocative of the Shetland Islands. With notes of sweet dried fruits, spices, wood and windswept with peat, you can almost taste all the elements of this special island.

In 2016, this whisky won Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.




We produced the first Bottled in Shetland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, literally putting Shetland on the map for Whisky production for the first time.

Two of the whiskies are from refill Scotch casks and two from virgin German oak casks.  All of the casks were octaves, and all 172 bottles sold within 5 days of the launch in August 2015.

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