When discussing Signatory as a bottler, it is easy and understandable to look at the 30 year arc of their output and be drawn to the many stand out masterpieces they have released over the years. The 1960s Laphroaigs; the the 1967 Ardbegs; that 1949 Macallan; a 1960 Rosebank - the list could go on a very long time. To the extent that there are a great many arguably overlooked gems which we often neglect in our assessment of their releases.
Without Signatory we wouldn't have as detailed bottled references for names such as Glenisla, Ayrshire, Craigduff and Mosstowie. Neither would the available examples from many distillery's transitional years in the mid-70s to late 1980s be so numerous without Signatory's work during the 1990s and 2000s. It's easy to pinpoint the great examples which influenced countless enthusiasts over the years, but the finer detail of their more general output has also been of huge significance in helping to create a vast, varied and detailed flavour reference for a critical era of Scotch Whisky's evolution.
Such examples could include things like the 1974 31 year old Glen Scotia, an understated and underrated example of this left-field and charming distillery from a little known era of its production. Similarly, we have Signatory to thank for some stellar examples of Ben Nevis, Ardmore (in particular a run of top notch 1990 single casks) and 1980s Laphroaigs. There aren't many examples of Laphroaig from the 1980s, a time when the distillery character was in almost constant flux, and Signatory's 1988 stocks offer a fascinating insight into this transitory style.
Perhaps most important of all was Signatory's early dedication to closed distilleries. While other bottlers released such stocks in a more haphazard or fragmented way, there was a clear and distinctly purposeful approach to such names from Signatory, almost from the beginning in 1988. The many examples of Glen Albyn, Glenlochy, Glen Mhor, Port Ellen, Rosebank and Brora that they have bottled over the years has been of huge influence. Not only in building these individual distillery profiles, but of educating the wider whisky world on their difference and illustrating why those distilleries were chose for closure over their already modernised counterparts.
Despite the wealth of knowledge and experience that exists amongst the international community in this day and age, the archive bottlings of Signatory still offer a treasure trove of education, pleasure and discovery for those that care to dig a little deeper.