“Usquaebach” blended scotch is back in circulationJanuary 19th, 2009
Ever since the late 1980s, when I started getting into scotch, I always remembered the Usquaebach blended scotch in the really cool flagon. I also remember how expensive it was. (As I recall, it was pushing $100 way back then.) Close to a decade ago, I remember that the brand expanded by adding a less expensive blend, in addition to a blended (vatted) malt whisky.
Due to an illness of the brand owner, the brand disappeared from the market for years. But I just received an email this morning from the new brand owner. The whisky is now back on the market here in the U.S., in three different versions, in New York and New Jersey. I expect this to expand in the future.
Here’s some of the email that the brand rep. sent me. It gives an interesting background on the brand, for those who are interested.
“Usquaebach” (Oos: Ke: Bah) was derived from the ancient Gaelic phrase, “uisge beatha” meaning water of life, from which the word “whisky” is derived. Usquaebach, once reserved only for royalty, aristocrats, and notables, was first introduced in the United States at the 1969 presidential inauguration.
The origin of Usquaebach traces back to the early 16th century, during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. Robert Burns immortalized it in his poem, Tam O’Shanter, with the line “Wi Usquaebae, we’ll face the de’il (devil)”. Usquaebach’s written tradition, however, has been traced back (Christie’s – London) to March 28, 1768
Usquaebach has gone through several incarnations since it was first created in 1768. From 1768 to 1842 it was single malt. Between 1842 and 1904 it became a vatted Scotch whisky (a blend of single malts, often from different years from the same distiller, but never any grain whisky). Then, in 1904, it became a ‘malt-rich’ blend, where 85% of the blend was malt whisky and 15% was grain whisky. An American company, 12 Stone Flagons bought the distillery in 1973. Starting in the 1980s they began to release a line of aged Highland Single Malt whiskies to broaden their product base. Though it may be a ‘changeling’, the Original is still and always has been the company’s flagship.
Cobalt Brands now owns it and it is back in production. It is currently available in the United States, currently distributed in the NY/NJ area
There are three products available:
Usquaebach Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky
Usquaebach 15 Year Old Pure Highland Malt Scotch Whisky
Usquaebach Stone Flagon Blended Scotch Whisky