Usquaebach: Return of a Storied Scotch

By  USDR

Usquaebach is a Scotch whisky bringing to life ancient traditions and the historic craft of the Scottish Highlands. Blended for three generations by the Laing family, the family-owned brand is closely guarded by tradition. Its name is derived from the ancient Gaelic phrase ‘usage beatha’ (or ‘the water of life’), and the word ‘Usquaebach’ itself literally translates to ‘whisky,’ a badge of honor Usquaebach proudly bears as the original craft blended Scotch whisky. Crafted by hand to ensure purity of the malts, Usquaebach is hand-bottled and artisanally produced using traditional blending techniques. Sourced from the Laing’s expertly curated stocks, Usquaebach is made using only the finest Highland malts from Scotland’s most reputable  distillers.

Though first established in 1877 and now continuing to thrive as a brand, many are surprised to learn that Usquaebach was at one point in danger of disappearing entirely after falling out of the hands of those who cared to keep it alive. In the early 1990s, longtime owner and holder of the Usquaebach trademark, Stanley Stankiewicz moved the product from its trusted blenders, Douglas Laing & Co., to mass-producer Whyte and Mackay Ltd. But after Stankiewicz suffered an untimely death in 2001, the rights to the Usquaebach name were seemingly left in limbo, and Whyte and Mackay sought to capitalize by moving to acquire the  trademark.

After having acquired Usquaebach, a brand competing with other premium whiskies in their portfolio but that did not fit within their global strategy, Whyte & Mackay ceased production of Usquaebach with the goal of burying the historic whisky. Determined to rescue an iconic brand from the corporate powers that be, Sean Perry of Cobalt Brands set out reacquire the rights himself. After spending much time, money and resources, Perry presented the Patent Trademark offices around the globe, including the USA, UK, EU, Japan, etc., with a compelling case that proved Whyte and Mackay had acquired the brand in bad  faith.

Committed to resurrecting the Usquaebach name and reputation for quality, Perry and Cobalt brought the blend back to blenders Douglas Laing, and subsequently Hunter Laing and Co., where Master Blender Stewart Laing was eager to resume working with the brand. Already familiar with the original blend composition from his past experience at Douglas Laing, Stewart and his team returned to their roots, accurately recreating the Usquaebach Old Rare with much excitement from lifelong fans. Today Usquaebach is alive and well, thriving under the watchful care of Sean Perry and Stewart  Laing.

Today, Usquaebach’s legendary collection speaks to the senses, resurrecting the same fiery spirit that was born in the rolling hills of Scotland long before Scotch was a drink for those with discerning tastes. Based on the heritage, history, and tradition, Usquaebach is dubbed the “King of Blended Whisky.” The Usquaebach range boasts three unique expressions, the Reserve Premium Blend, 15 Year Old Blended Malt and Old Rare Superior Blend, which appeal to a wide variety of whisky drinkers from entry level to the most advanced connoisseurs. In 2016, the Usquaebach Reserve, Usquaebach 15 Year Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and the Usquaebach Old-Rare Superior Blend were awarded scores of 92, 94 and 95 Points respectively by the Tasting Panel  Magazine.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.