What do you get when Annandale distillery and legendary Scottish actor James Cosmo meet? Storyman Blended Scotch Whisky, and it’s a Master of Malt exclusive. Here’s the full story.

Even if you don’t know the name, you’ll definitely recognise James Cosmo’s face. One of Scotland’s greatest character actors, he was in three of the most Scottish films ever made: Highlander, Braveheart, and Trainspotting. How’s that for versatility? But he’s probably best known for playing Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch in Game of Thrones.

James Cosmo drinking Storyman whisky

James Cosmo looking very dapper in a tweed suit

He had a dream

As a true Scotsman, he’s fond of a dram now and then. In fact he said “it’s always been a dream of mine to create my own whisky.” While he was filming Outlaw King about Robert the Bruce, Cosmo got to know Annandale Distillery and the seeds of an idea were planted. The distillery has a long history. It was founded in 1836 near Gretna Green in the Lowlands just over the border from England – Robbie Burns country. Annandale was operative until 1918, producing a light malt whisky to go into Johnnie Walker’s blend, but then it was shut down and remained silent for nearly 100 years.

In 2007, David Thomson and Teresa Church bought the dilapidated distillery with a dream to bring whisky production back to this part of Scotland. With a little help from the late great Jim Swan, they kitted it out with a 12,000-litre wash still and two identical 4,000-litre spirit stills, one used for peated malt and the other for unpeated. The first new make spirit came off the stills in November 2014. For ageing they largely use bourbon barrels with some STR (shaved, toasted, and recharred) wine casks – a Jim Swan signature. The first whisky was ready to taste in 2018. Since then the distillery has released a variety of  single malt whiskies under the names Man O’ Sword (peated) and Man O’ Words (unpeated), which are inspired by Burns. These are all single cask releases. It also produces a blended whisky called Nation of Scots

The Storyman story

And now there’s Storyman. It’s a blended whisky that came about from a meeting of kindred spirits: James Cosmo, Professor David Thomson, and master blender Keith Law. The blend features various vintages and spirit types from Annandale aged in a mixture of fresh and refill bourbon casks, and Burgundy STR casks. Around 75% of the whisky is made up of Annandale malts and the rest is grain from an undisclosed source. The final blend was personally selected by James Cosmo. He comments: “This whisky is my story and I want to share it with you. Selected by me, personally. Annandale’s master craftsmen have created a truly convivial blend, featuring a carefully chosen selection of their award-winning single malts. The result is deliciously mellow and made for sharing. Join me in a dram.”

How could we resist? It’s a delicious drop with lots of fruity Lowland character and a gentle waft of peat with richness and body coming from those first-fill bourbon and STR casks. This is a blend that malt lovers will adore. While it’s delicious neat, we think that richness makes it perfect Old Fashioned material. If you want to get your hands on Storyman, then you’ve come to the right place, because it’s a Master of Malt exclusive until 14 June. There can be only one (retailer).

Storyman Blended Scotch Whisky is available only from Master of Malt. Click on link for price and to buy.

Storyman Blended Scotch Whisky on a barrel

Storyman Blended Scotch Whisky on a barrel

Tasting note for Storyman Blended Scotch Whisky:

Nose: Creamy toffee and caramel with vanilla, black pepper spice and a whisper of bonfire and vegetal peat.

Palate: Orchard fruit notes and pear drops with creamy vanilla and a hint of peat.

Finish: Rich and creamy with lingering fudge and wood smoke.