Chances are, if you’re not thoroughly familiar with the wine and spirits industry, you’re also a newcomer to the realm of independent bottling companies.
The differences between international whisky brands and independent bottling whisky companies are quite large. When you purchase a bottle of a bigger brand name like Jack Daniel’s or Dewar’s, you are usually purchasing a bottle that was poured alongside a thousand others of the same kind, from the same family of identically-tasting, blended casks. Whereas, when you purchase a bottle coming from an independent bottling company, you’re likely receiving whisky from a hand-selected and independently sourced barrel, which may differ greatly in maturity and overall flavor.
The Perfect Fifth is a Miami-based independent bottling company that specializes in single-malt scotch whisky. Founder and president, Karl Schoen, created his business when he was only 19 years old. Despite being under the legal drinking age in the United States at the time, conducting business was still viable at whisky distilleries in Scotland where the legal drinking age is 18.
When asked why he chose a start-up in the spirits industry, Karl explains that single-malt whisky had always been a staple within his family gatherings. “My father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncles all love single-malt scotch. It’s been around for as long as I can remember. So I thought, why not make money off of what we know?” he shares.
However, after a full year’s worth of prior in-depth research, he understood that breaking into the traditional, severely regulated world of whisky would prove to be much more complicated than he had initially hoped. Thankfully, Karl had an advantage. He felt comfortable bending the hundred-year-old norms of the industry. He took a closer look at the details that the bigger international brands decided to turn a cheek to.
“In a brutally traditional industry, pioneering and doing something unconventional can result in being very beneficial,” Karl states. “Bottlers with more experience tend to stick to what they know; the old-school way of whisky. But the key to success for us has been moving around and trying things others haven’t.”
The Perfect Fifth prides itself on selecting the most uniquely flavored, high quality single-malt scotch barrels from the finest distilleries in Scotland. Each bottle offers a rare piece of whisky history, being that the single casks they source can only amount to a certain number of bottles. Once the barrel runs out and all bottles are distributed and sold, the whisky cannot be identically replicated.
In just under two years, their undeniable commitment to quality has earned the company several prestigious awards. In December 2019, The Perfect Fifth earned the “Scotch Campbeltown Independent Bottler of the Year Award” at the Whisky Magazine Awards Independent Bottlers Challenge. Jim Murray’s 2020 Whisky Bible also awarded the company three “Liquid Gold Awards” for their Springbank, Highland Park and Glen Scotia bottles. “We’re small players, but we’ve definitely come out with a bang,” Schoen says.
Five more bottles are projected to release prior to the end of the year, and two are exclusive for the holiday season. Each 750 mL bottle will range anywhere from $800-$3,000. For more information on The Perfect Fifth and where to purchase their single-malt scotch, visit their website at ThePerfectFifth.com, or follow them on Instagram at @perfectfifthspirits.