I was actually surprised to find little information about Signatory available on the Internet. While I know that they are an independent bottler, I could find little ‘official’ history about Signatory. However, the following are some details that I was able to pull together, and I think we should consider speaking with the Signatory rep, Ed Kohl, possibly for future tastings.

Signatory was founded in 1988, and originally wasn’t a fully independent bottler. By April 1992, they had received the approval to bottle casks they owned, and now along with Wm. Cadenhead and Gordon & McPhail, are supposedly the only fully independent bottlers of scotch whisky.

By being able to bottle their own product, they keep greater control over what is output. Whatever they choose not to bottle is given (sold, I presume) back to the blends. They also tend to bottle single casks, and consequently, they get to claim that their bottlings capture more of the unique flavor of each cask. While the bottling process is semi-automated, each bottle is hand-numbered and hand-labeled, containing cask details such as date of distillation and date of bottling. Consequently, their labeling practice gives a bit of exclusivity to their offerings.

Additionally, there is only light filtration to enusre 86 proof malts that maintain their natural flavors. In fact, Signatory had recently released un-chilfiltered bottlings in the past few years.

It’s important to note that a common practice for Signatory is to get their older casks through batering. Signatory will buy casks from distillers, and occasionally, master blenders find themselves short in casks for their blend. They call Signatory, and arrange a barter for some rarer whiskies. They also will buy parcels (25-50 casks) and choose the best for independent bottling, and later sell the rest back to blenders.

Incidentally, Signatory originally was supposed to carry signatures of famous people on their labels…hence the name “Signatory”. But, by the time their first cask was purchased and bottled, they had sold all their product before they obtained the signature.

Signatory has also purchased ownership of the Edradour distillery, and has run the operation since July 2002. From what I recall when talking with Ed Kohl at Whiskyfest, Edradour is kept fairly separate from Signatory’s independent bottling business.