Italian Ingenuity – Whisky with the Flavour of Sicily!

Wilson & Morgan matches Scotland’s pride with Italy’s passion when letting them kiss in selected Marsala-casks

“Let’s get started” seems to be a sentence closely related to whisky. A sentence which must have been spoken thousands of times in the huts and caves of the first illegal distillers in Scotland during the time of Henry VIII, and probably the same thought that Fabio Rossi had when, during a business trip to Sicily, he tasted the outstanding wine of this island – Marsala.

Marsala is a city in Sicily, founded by the Phoenicians 500 years B.C. The Marsala wine became generally known through the British wine-merchant John Woodhouse, who was looking for a product which would taste better and be cheaper than Port or Sherry. When in 1773 he landed with his ship in Sicily and fell in love with the local wine (made with a solera system like sherry or port), he decided to fortify it with the addition of local brandy to preserve it during the long sea travel back to England. The 16 per cent alcohol-containing, sweet and dark amber/red after-dinner wine has long since conquered the taste-buds of the British élite, and then of connoisseurs all over the world.

Thus, it was but a small step from tasting several of the very best and mature Marsala wines to the idea of matching their warm afterglow with some of the best Scottish whiskies. Fabio Rossi contacted the premium producers and started to buy the best available casks of Marsala for sending them to Scotland, where several of the most known distilleries filled them with their finest Single Malts.

For one full circle of seasons the whisky and the Marsala-drenched wood of the casks then had time to embrace each other to finally give birth to a Single Malt which had never been tasted before. The casks from the sun-burnt island in the Mediterranean had heightened the nuttiness, sweetness and fragrance of the whisky in a way so natural and fascinating that Fabio Rossi was left wondering why nobody had thought of it before. It was a marriage just as ideal as sherry wood maturation, but immediately recognizable as something different and unique.

The first connoisseurs who had the pleasure to taste this new example of Italian ingenuity were the guests of some small and exclusive restaurants in Florence, in Rome and in Milan. Through word of mouth, Wilson & Morgan’s Marsala Finish malts soon became highly sought-after connoisseur’s items among whisky enthusiasts all over the world.

The list of bottlings so far includes the following, and is certainly bound to grow in future:

Marsala Finish Products