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Most Wanted - Italian Bottlers

Most Wanted

Italy: Whisky Pioneers

The whiskies from independent bottlers in Italy from the late 1970s through to the late 1990s make up a substantial part of the world’s rarest and most sought-after single malts. They are hunted by collectors worldwide.

These whiskies are famous because they were chosen by Italy’s whisky gurus, people who are today legends revered for their vision and passion for the king of all spirits: Scotch single malt whisky.

Not only did they bottle some superb whiskies, but the actions of these Italian importers also changed the face of Scotch whisky forever. These bottlers had the foresight to imagine the ways in which connoisseurs might best appreciate whisky in the future, for example un-chill-filtered, and to pioneer styles and promote distilleries outside the norm. It’s no exaggeration to say that some distilleries wouldn’t be bottling their own single malts without the promotion from these Italian legends.

Below you’ll find our guide to the Italian independent bottlers who made history with their incredible whiskies.

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Samaroli: Independent Bottler

Silvano Samaroli founded his company Samaroli SRL Wine & Spirits Merchant in 1968, and in the process became the very first non-Scottish, non-English bottler of Scotch whiskies.

Samaroli spent his first decade in business importing whiskies, and didn’t release his own series of bottlings until 1979, when he produced a selection of ‘dumpy’ style Cadenhead’s.

All of the whiskies selected for bottling by the late Silvano, who sadly died in 2017, are real old and rare collector’s items. The pinnacle of these are possibly those bottled in the 1980s, when he released a series of unforgettable whiskies such as the incredibly hard to find Bowmore 1966 Bouquet – a single malt constantly praised by whisky fans for its unsurpassable quality, whose prices continues to sky rocket in the secondary market.

Like the Bowmore, most of Samaroli’s malts have acquired legendary status for quality that is close to perfection. We passionately believe that Samaroli, and his whiskies, will be forever remembered, and below have highlighted some of the bottles that are particularly special for us.

Glengarioch 13 Year Old

13 Year Old Glen Garioch

Springbank 1964

1964 Springbank

Isle Of Jura 1966

1966 Isle Of Jura

Bowmore 1966

1966 Bowmore

Longman-Glenlivet 1974

1974 Longman-Glenlivet

Intertrade: Independent Bottler

Another important name in the old and rare history books is Ferdinando “Nadi” Fiori, who had long been at the forefront of independent bottling from Italy, importing and bottling with his company INTERTRADE.

Fiori specialised in selecting cask-strength, un-chill-filtered whiskies and had a very close relationship with Gordon & MacPhail, whose whiskies he was importing into Italy. He also choose his own private bottlings from their casks, and the selections he made at the time are considered to be of exceptional quality. They include many rare whiskies produced by distilleries during the 1960s.

Nadi is one of the all-time whisky greats and though he left INTERTRADE is still very much active with his current company High Spirits. He has been a very close friend of our director Sukhinder and The Whisky Exchange since its very beginning.

Here we showcase some of Nadi Fiori’s greatest masterpieces.

Glenfiddich 29 Year Old / 1956

1956 Glenfiddich 29 Year Old

Longmorn 21 Year Old / 1965

1965 Longmorn 21 Year Old

Laphroaig 15 Year Old / 1969

1969 Laphroaig 15 Year Old

Mortlach 16 Year Old / 1969

1969 Mortlach 16 Year Old

Port Ellen 16 Year Old / 1970

1970 Port Ellen 16 Year Old

Sestante: Independent Bottler

Ernesto ‘Rino’ Mainardi has a reputation for bottling unforgettable drams with incredible label designs.

Mainardi bottled his first whiskies through his company, Sestante, in 1985, and predominantly focused on both Gordon & MacPhail and Cadenhead’s bottles which he used to re-label with his own designs – many of which have gone on to become legendary.

As well as relabelling some bottles of exceptionally fine whisky, he also chose to rebottle some of his imported whiskies into beautiful Edinburgh crystal decanters. These whiskies include Macallan-Glenlivet, Dallas Dhu, Laphroaig and many more.

Below we have listed some of our favourite Sestante bottlings.

Laphroaig 16 Year Old / 1968

1968 Laphroaig 16 Year Old

Caol Ila 18 Year Old / 1969

1969 Caol Ila 18 Year Old

Bowmore 18 Year Old / 1971

1971 Bowmore 18 Year Old

Longman 18 Year Old / 1971

1971 Longman 18 Year Old

Ardbeg 11 Year Old / 1978

1978 Ardbeg 11 Year Old

Moon Import: Independent Bottler

Yet another of the great Italian importers and bottlers is Giuseppe ‘Pepi’ Mongiardino, who bottled some impressive and memorable single malts throughout his career.

After working with the Ballantine’s brand for a number of years, Mongiardino founded his own company, Moon Import, in the mid 1980s. Through this he bottled some outstanding whiskies, especially in his first series, which was known as ‘The Half Moon’ or the ‘Moon Import Second Collection’.

Today Moon Import is particularly recognised for three series: The Birds, The Costumes, and The Sea, for which now-legendary single malts were bottled with labels decorated in elegant vintage prints.

Below we explore some of Moon Import’s masterpieces.

Bowmore 1957

1957 Bowmore

Glenkinchie 1966

1966 Glenkinchie

Longmorn-Glenlivet 1966

1966 Longmorn-Glenlivet

Glengarioch 1975

1975 Glen Garioch

Macallan 14 Year Old

Macallan 14 Year Old