Only Glenfiddich, Springbank and Bruichladdich have their own bottling plants. All other distilleries ship their casks to the big bottlers in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Perth.
Usually between 30,000 and 60,000 bottles of the standard single malt whiskies are bottled in one batch, depending on the capacity of the freight vehicle. Sales aren’t so high yet that an automated bottling line for just one single malt whisky would be profitable. This remains reserved for the big blended whiskies.
The cask bottlings of the independent bottlers such as Signatory Vintage, Gordon & MacPhail or Douglas Laing are something special. These companies buy newly made malt whisky from the distilleries and then mature it on their own. Afterwards they bottle the whisky straight from the cask. Each of these bottles contains really pure, one-of-a-kind single malt whisky.
The bottles are usually labelled with the name of the distillery, the cask type, distillation and bottling date, and sometimes with the cask and bottle number. Similar to wine, these single malt whiskies taste differently from year to year, or even from cask to cask. Also the alcohol content can vary greatly. Sometimes it’s reduced to 46%, 43% or 40%, sometimes the whisky is bottled at natural cask strength.
The independent bottlers are proud to only filter their whiskies for splinters. Other bottlers use chill-filtration in order to get rid of all the floating particles. The bottling method thus contributes to the unique character of a whisky.