North Star Spirits are a relatively young-ish independent bottler that seems to have created a unique persona and made a big splash. Not only is their brand visually exciting, very different from the norm and memorable, they also manage to turn out some absolute belters of whiskies that include Macallan's finished in Octaves, Springbanks, lots of curveball & leftfield distilleries like Glenburgie, Cameronbridge & North British. And then there are the VEGA, SIRI*S, and SUPERSONIC range of blended malts - some of them over 40 years old, and all of them exquisite.
Oh yes, and fortified wine, gin, rum, and a Bourbon.
The force behind this company is Iain Croucher. A humble & quiet man who wears mostly taupe lives in a cave in a forest somewhere in Scotland and rejects the paparazzi. Aside of this, his eye for great casks and palate for top-notch whisky is second-to-none.
CopperedWrench were lucky enough to pin, I mean track him down to ask him some questions.
In less than 20 words, how would you describe Iain Croucher to a complete stranger?
Fanny, tit, bawbag, dafty, whalloper, rocket, dobber, eejit a fandan with mediorce patter. Fantastic collections of sneakers, loves pickled onion Space Raiders; I have a hard time opening my eyes underwater. Likes the 1st Back to the Future but the 2nd one was better.
What was the final trigger that made you take the leap into becoming an independent bottler?
A tribe of Amazonian monks stole me from my birth parents and let me loose in the wild. It was my home for 40 + years; I was very happy in that habitat, but returned to Scotland and became a barman…that was the trigger.
Have you found being an IB very different to what you thought it might be like?
We are standing on the shoulders of giants. An IB is blessed taking any credit. We merely decide when to put spirit in bottles. The real hero distils and decides the wood of which to mature. Lucky sods like IB’s come along at the last moment and take the glory…strange old world
North Star’s branding is extremely unique. What gave you the idea for it?
Are you just a bottler or are you also maturing spirit as well?
Yes, I buy casks, they are still maturing…don’t ask me about investments, I am a bottler x
What’s your favourite style of whisky?
Corny as it may sound, my favourite style of whisky is not flavour or region it’s any style at the right time and place with the right people
Your 11yr Orkney back in 2018 was the only whisky to ever make the top of my head tingle. Has anything made you tingle?
Cameron Diaz in The Mask 1994, seeing Daft Punk at the Renfrew Ferry 1995 and of course Bowmore Centenary 1979
What do you do to unwind? (keep it clean!)
Strange as it may seem, I like to pat down the graves of my enemies on the back lawn with a spade. I’m sure I can still hear the screams - thank goodness for headphones and Radio 4
Have you missed doing shows and live events over the past 2 years?
Yes, my pole dancing career has taken a nosedive - gutted. Thankfully I still manage to connect with folks via Zoom and Only Fans.
Anything exciting in the pipeline for NSS that you can spill the beans on?
Snoop Dogg, Ronnie Grant, John Cleese, David Stirk and Glen Michael (Cavalcade) and I are working on something special. It’s going to be big, getting T-Shirts made this afternoon.
Is your beard on the board of Directors?
I have shaved it off to donate the proceeds to alopecia suffering stray dogs near my auntie’s timeshare in Portugal, or Spain, not sure, maybe it’s Malta, years since I’ve been. In all seriousness, thanks for having me, love to all, Whisky means nothing without health. Without health, we cannot work, we cannot provide, and we cannot love. Let’s work, provide and love.