Borders Malt & Rye

The Borders Distillery WS:01 Malt & Rye Blended Scotch Whisky


1. What they say

WS:01 Borders Malt & Rye (40% ABV) marks the first release in a new experimental line by The Borders Distillery: The Workshop Series. WS:01 is a marriage of Grain Rye spirit with Borders malt, producing a blended Scotch whisky using spirit uniquely distilled at the Hawick-based distillery.  Only 6,000 bottles will be released for sale in the UK (a further 3,000 globally), each bottle in the Limited Edition numbered.

Commenting on the launch, John Fordyce, said: “In 2019, we distilled a grain spirit made from rye spirit and matured it in the same fresh-fill bourbon casks as the malt to create this remarkable and aromatic whisky. The spiciness of the rye combined with the Borders malt, which is rich with fruit and vanilla, makes this a very approachable blend with character and depth.

“The Workshop Series,” he added, “is about respecting the rules but challenging the status quo. A rye-based blend is exactly that – it’s innovative, it’s inventive and it gives a taste of what is to come as part of the Workshop Series.

2. Official tasting notes

  • Nose:               The rye dominates with warm spice and toasted wood. Reduced, the fruits emerge
  • Palate:             Warming with velvet like creaminess. Warm from the over banked fruit tart in buttery shortcrust pastry. Butterscotch sauce over golden syrup sponge
  • Finish:              Warm, and custard like softness.

3. Details

  • ABV 40%
  • Age NAS
  • Bottler OB
  • Bottling WS:01
  • Cask First Fill Bourbon Casks
  • Category Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Cost £40 from
  • Origin The Borders Distillery
  • Region Lowland
  • Released 2022

4. What I say

Many thanks to The Borders Distillery for provision of a sample of this whisky. Also sampled as part of the #TheBordersDistillery @TweetTastings hosted by Steve @TheWhiskyWire. The first experimental release from The Borders Distillery as they wait patiently for their single malt to mature. This workshop series WS:01 expression uses both malted barley and rye cereals spirits matured in first fill bourbon casks before blending.

5. The Whiskyphiles tasting notes

  • Colour Very pale gold (3/20), oily, large tears and thick legs.
  • Nose Green and grassy, youthful with hints of new make, lemon citrus and some rye spice are quite prominent, some baked apple, kiwi fruit and watermelon later with sweet mallows, lemon sherbet and oak wood.
  • Taste Medium-bodied, mid sweet and a little spiced from the rye, this one grows on the palate without becoming spicier subtle fruits, again citrus and sweetened lemon, lemon sponge cake or drizzle cake with that sweet and zingy icing, golden syrup and some honey with a hint of white pepper, fairly robust.
  • Finish Medium-long, drying oak wood and mouth-watering sweet fruits on the tongue with spiced tannins emerging later.

6. Overall

A robust and entertaining blended scotch whisky using both malt and rye derived components in great balance. I suspect a portion of the sweetness here derives from the fresh bourbon cask too but this whisky hasn’t been in these casks long enough to become overtly vanillic.

7. Score 83/100

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