Angels Nectar Islay Edition

David Pearce of Clandestine Whisky chats to Robert from Angel’s Nectar, a collection of blended malt whiskies inspired by the angel’s share, the traditional name of the whisky lost to evaporation during the maturation process. Some whiskies are more favoured by the angels than others – is Angel’s Nectar so blessed? Written by Annie Bowles.

A blended Scotch whisky named ‘Angel’s Nectar’ gives rise to a series of delightful images – cheeky cherubin figures floating from one distillery to the next, swiping drams of the best malts like butterflies suckling sweet nectar from flowers. Robert of Angel’s Nectar saw the opportunity in this little tale, seeing how much guests at distillery tours and tastings around the world loved the angel’s story. The angels are choosy, he thought, after perhaps one too many drams that evening – they look for the very best casks but blend them together on their boozy buffet. The angel’s share thus fitted in quite well with a category of blended malt. Robert firms believes that blends are the way forward, opening up creative possibilities, opposed to the antiquated idea of the superiority of single malt.

The real angels in the story, however, are Robert’s contacts in the whisky trade. Working for Glenfarcus for a decade in sales before setting up Angel’s Nectar, prior to that he was in the food industry. He worked with a mysterious, moonlighting master blender who remains anonymous. Rather than going to various warehouse viewings, the samples were coming through the post in little bottles. On their online shop, the bottles are labelled ‘strictly limited production’ as they work through an evolving collection of small batch releases, celebrating inconsistency. Their Islay editions have gone through a rollercoaster of changing flavour profiles, according to Robert – their first edition had no peat at all, then they introduced two Highland malts heavy with welcoming peat smoke, then a few editions later they were offered a Rioja cask to mature in, which gives the whisky a lovely rosy hue. The bottle and labelling itself is a work of art – a gorgeously simple Spanish bottle, with the red metallic angel labelling decorated in the Czech Republic – a testament to the progressive and international nature of the company. 

Angels Nectar

Despite the difficulties posed by the challenges of the last year, many items on their website are sold out. Although it is a romantic idea to make whisky, sales is where the hard work is done. Due to Covid, Angel’s Nectar have had to rely on retailers, as they were only able to get their own physical and online presence as the pandemic began. Seventy-five to eighty per cent of their business is in export, shipping out to Germany, France and parts of Asia, which is generally a lower percentage than the industry standard. When developing Angel’s Nectar, Robert wanted the result to be for the customer who loves Scotland, and whisky, as an experience in itself, alongside all the other glorious things Scotland has to offer – rather than someone who visits distilleries three days a week. The idea is to share Scotland’s blended bounty with the international community, not only in premium flavour but in story. However, this has become more difficult logistically due to the international situation regarding the UK’s imports and exports. Robert bemoans a three-fold increase in the cost of freight from the Netherlands, meaning they have had to restructure their approach to importing – meaning a lot of paperwork.

In the face of various international disasters, the reach of Angel’s Nectar still is something to be proud of. Recently on Instagram, Robert saw that their product had reached Singapore without him even knowing. The retailer then started importing from directly – starting a business is a rollercoaster, says Robert, full of highs and lows – but this is definitely one of the highs. Of the range, the Angels Nectar Islay Edition really stood out for us with it balanced smoke. It is a young whisky having been aged for five years in bourbon barrels, but is delicious!

If you enjoyed this article you might like to read about Teeling Whiskey, Arbikie or GlenAllachie.

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