Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to Take Cask on a Global Whisky Journey

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to Take Cask on a Global Whisky Journey

We all know whisky goes well with water – so a leading cruise line has offered up space on board it’s world cruise to help age a barrel of local single malt. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, whose headquarters are based in Ipswich, has teamed up with Suffolk-based brewer Adnams to host a nine-year-old cask that is in its final year of maturation.

The gentle movement of the ocean on board the ship Borealis which set sail this weekend on its 103-night world cruise, will help the liquor reach optimal flavour with the constant motion of the sea churning the whisky, increasing its interaction with the wood of the barrel.

The constant contact with the wood brings out colour of the spirit and more of the flavour thanks to intense caramelisation of the barrels’ wood sugars and the salt air penetrates the barrel and adds saline notes to the whisky as liquid evaporates.

Thomas Rennesland, Hotel Operations Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“This is actually a centuries-old maritime tradition.  In the days before glass bottles, spirits were transported in barrels from where they were made to where they were sold.  The time and constant motion was known to mellow and mature these spirits giving them a unique flavour.

“These days many brands are returning to these routes and looking to age their products at sea, and we are absolutely thrilled to play host to a brand that is local to us here in Suffolk.

“On our world cruise this cask will spend 54 days at sea and a further 49 days visiting beautiful ports including those in Mexico, the US, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia, the islands of French Polynesia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, giving it a great story to tell through its flavours.

“Weathered by its journey, the barrel will then be offloaded in Southampton in April and returned to the distillery.  Eventually the whisky will be available to guests on board our fleet.

“Maritime traditions are very important to our brand and tie into the fact that we put 175 years of experience into every single day for our guests. This is a great adventure to be part of and we can’t wait to taste the results.”

Adnams and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines make for something of a perfect pairing, given the significant heritage of both brands.

For more than 150 years, Adnams has been at the forefront of the hospitality sector, recognised and regularly awarded as distinctive brewers, distillers, wine merchants, retailers, publicans, and hoteliers.

John McCarthy, Head Distiller at Adnams said:

“This collaboration with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines sees a 10-year-old celebratory whisky take an exciting detour from its usual journey. We’ve done our best to get things shipshape for the voyage, by using the finest East Anglian malted barley and maturing it in new French oak barriques, before it embarks on the maritime aging process aboard the Borealis.

“It offers an extraordinary opportunity to enhance the whisky’s character, infusing it with the gentle sway of the waves and the rich narratives of global ports. We’re really intrigued to see what this adventure at sea imparts.”

As it sets sail, this Adnams Fred Olsen Single Malt Whisky offers a rich and complex tapestry of flavours.

On the palate, the initial note is a sumptuous sweetness reminiscent of Medjool dates, seamlessly blending with the deep, ripe essence of plums.

As the whisky unfolds, a delicate yet distinct layer of honey emerges, providing a smooth and luscious mouthfeel.

There’s an exotic twist of dried mango, that adds a tropical, slightly tangy edge, while the finish is warm and inviting, characterised by an assortment of baking spices. This lingers on the tongue and balances its fruitier notes, making this whisky a captivating and multifaceted experience.

Bradley Adnams, Head of Export at Adnams said: “The venture with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is more than just a collaboration; it’s blending history and tradition with the spirit of exploration.

“As we send our specially crafted cask on a trip around the world we’re adding to its story, not just aging a premium single malt.

“We love to create distinctive and story-rich experiences for our customers, so when you open the bottle, it’s like we’re taking a journey together. The resulting whisky will be a blend of sea-infused maturity and East Anglian character – a truly international and adventurous spirit.”

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit 

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