Independent bottling companies have expanded the whisky market greatly by making a larger selection of products available. These companies buy casks from the distilleries or send them empty casks to be filled and stored and then carefully choose when to bottle and release them. This gives you a product that has all the original distillery character but that is also unique, as it may be released at a different age to that of the original distillery's whiskies. The independent bottler may also finish the spirit in a different cask to the original distillery, therefore creating a unique whisky. Sometimes, the independent bottlers will only buy a single cask from a distillery, therefore leading to a very limited quantity of final bottles. Generally, these bottlings offer good value by being priced similarly or cheaper than the original distillery bottlings and it is an excellent way to try different or rarer whisky.
The majority of distilleries will be named on the independent bottlings, along with the age or year of distillation and other information such as which cask the spirit has been matured or finished in. If it is a limited bottling, it will also show the number of bottles available. There are a few distilleries that insist that their name does not appear on any independent bottlings and in these cases, the bottles can be labelled with the region of production. Names of independent bottling companies to look out for include Adelphi, A. D. Rattray, Cadenhead's, Compass Box, Gordon & Macphail, Douglas Laing, Signatory Vintage and Duncan Taylor. Generally, they can only be bought in specialist retailers.