RYE is being introduced to Scotch whisky making for the first time in more than a century, writes Scott Wright.

Glenrothes-based InchDairnie Distillery has revealed that its first release will be made from a combination of malted barley and rye, the major component of American rye whiskey.

InchDairnie, which opened in May last year, was due to begin distilling what will ultimately be released as Ryelaw yesterday. The spirit will be filled into casks for maturation where it will lie until it is judged to be ready for bottling.

Managing director Ian Palmer was inspired to embark on the year-long project after consulting the 1908/09 Royal Commission Report on Whisky and Other Portable Spirits. It confirmed that rye was commonly used to make Scotch whisky more than 100 years ago.

InchDairnie said the high proportion of malted rye in its Ryelaw recipe, alongside the fact the spirit will be made and matured in Scotland, means that it will meet the legal definitions of both Scotch whisky and American rye whiskey. But Ryelaw will ultimately be categorised as a single grain Scotch whisky. In the US a spirit can only be sold as rye whiskey if it is made from a mash containing no less than 51 per cent rye.

InchDairnie also plans to release a single malt Scotch whisky in around 2029.