The Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co Ltd was founded in 1988 by Andrew and Brian Symington. Being one of the largest independent bottlers in Scotland, it is best known for its Signatory Vintage range of Scotch whiskies.
Signatory became a distiller in 2002 after purchasing Edradour from Pernod Ricard. The deal was worth £5.4 million.
The Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co bottles a huge variety of different whiskies, often in single cask format. Casks are sourced from distilleries all over Scotland and bottled under the Signatory Vintage label. Traditional varieties like ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks are preferred.
Signatory has a vigorous release policy. Up to 50 casks are bottled and made available to buy at any one time. Each bottling showcases the unique flavour profile of the individual cask. The distillery that originally produced the spirit will often be named on the label. Occasionally, contractual obligations make this an impossibility. When Andrew Symington took over Edradour, he moved the Signatory headquarters to a building adjacent to the distillery. All bottling and warehousing now take place on-site in Perthshire. All Signatory bottlings are released without artificial colouring or chill-filtering.
Signatory’s most successful range is the Cask Strength Collection which offers natural strength whiskies up to 35 years old. Every bottle in the collection is offered in a luxurious gift box with a certificate of authenticity. The Rare Reserve series features the oldest and most exclusive casks in Signatory's stocks. Previous bottlings have come from distilleries such as Macallan, Dalmore, Springbank, Bowmore and Ardbeg.
Other ranges include the Un-Chillfiltered Collection and the 86 Proof Collection.
The Un-Chillfiltered Collection offers a range of whiskies that haven't undergone chill filtering. This enhances each cask’s natural flavour and body. Previous bottlings have come from distilleries like Glenlivet, Mortlach, Highland Park, Auchentoshan and Laphroaig.
The 86 Proof Collection focuses on whiskies up to 20 years old, bottled at 86 proof. Past releases have come from a diverse range of distilleries, including Linkwood, Benrinnes, Glen Grant, Fettercairn and Clynelish.
In 2018, a series of single malts were released to mark the 30th anniversary of the company. The whiskies ranged from 33 to 45 years in age.
The business has expanded in recent years with great efforts made to increase the number of bottlings destined for the American market. A series of special editions were also released exclusively in Germany. The four single cask bottlings were dedicated to the heroic Japanese Samurai.
Though it has bottled some rare whisky over the years, the company price positions the majority of its whisky for drinking, rather than collecting.
Andrew Symington’s grandfather worked for the blended Scotch brand, VAT 69. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that Andrew discovered the joys of single cask whisky for himself. At the time he was working as assistant manager at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.
By 1988, Andrew was prepared to enter the spirits business himself. He chose the Signatory name because early bottlings carried the signature of a celebrity. This practice has since been dropped.
Working with his brother, Brian, Andrew established a bottling plant in Newhaven, near Edinburgh. The first bottling was a 1968 sherry-matured Glenlivet single malt. The 20-year-old whisky was a vatting of two casks.
In 1997, Andrew bought his brother’s share of the business. Since then he has taken sole charge of the company.
In 2002, Symington purchased Edradour distillery on the outskirts of Pitlochry. A new bottling plant and additional warehouses were constructed and Andrew moved Signatory from Edinburgh to Perthshire.
Additional construction work in 2017 increased capacity and provided space for a further 20,000 casks.
Andrew Symington has devoted over half of his life to Scotch whisky. In 2012 he was honoured with the title Master of the Quaich in an official ceremony.