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Saturday 19 October 2019



I am not comfortable calling this catalogue a Bible. That's total nonsense to me. Nor do I agree with the author on many counts, no matter his credentials. I believe he is past his prime and fixated on the Glen Grant brand. 

This year, Murray's top three Whiskies are all Bourbons:

1.  1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon 
2.  William Larue Weller 125.7 Proof – 2018 Release    
3.  Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye 128.8 Proof – 2018 Release


Scotch Whisky of the Year
Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition

Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition

Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask)
The Macphail 1949 China Special Edition 1

Scotch Blend of the Year
Ballantine’s 17 Years Old

Scotch Grain of the Year
The Last Drop Dumbarton 1977

Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year
Glen Castle Blended Malt 1990


No Age Statement
Glen Grant Rothes Chronicles Cask Haven

10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant Aged 10 Years

10 Years & Under (Single Cask)
Annandale Man O’ Sword

11-15 Years (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant Aged 15 Years Batch Strength

11-15 Years (Single Cask)
Signatory Vintage Edradour Ballechin 12 Year Old

16-21 Years (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition

16-21 Years (Single Cask)
Whisky Castle Glen Spey Aged 21 Years

22-27 Years (Multiple Casks)
Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1996

22-27 Years (Single Cask)
The Whisky Shop Glendronach Aged 26 Years

28-34 Years (Multiple Casks)
Ben Nevis 32 Years Old 1966

28-34 Years (Single Cask)
Gordon & MacPhail Inverleven 1985

35-40 Years (Multiple Casks)
Port Ellen 39 Years Old

35-40 Years (Single Cask)
G Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1978 W18

41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks)
Glen Scotia 45 Year Old

41 Years & Over (Single Cask)
The Macphail 1949 China Special Edition 1


No Age Statement (Standard)
Ballantine’s Finest

No Age Statement (Premium)
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare

5-12 Years
Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Years Old

13-18 Years
Ballantine’s 17 Years Old

19 – 25 Years
Dewar’s Aged 25 Years The Signature

26 – 50 Years
The Last Drop 56 Year Old Blend


Japanese Whisky of the Year
Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt

Single Malt of the Year (MB)
The Matsui Mizunara Cask


Classic Malts Distillers Editions 2019 Due For Release


In 1988, United Distillers and Vintners (UDV) came up with a great marketing idea for the whisky enthusiast. They assembled six single malt whiskies, each selected to best represent one of the malt whisky producing regions of Scotland, into a presentation pack. UDV is owned by Diageo today, but the presentation pack remains an excellent introduction to the various taste and aroma profiles of single malt whiskies.

The Classic Malts’ symbol is the Quaich, which, for ages, has been the traditional Scottish drinking vessel. UDV’s regions differ from the usual definition of the “standard regions” in that the western Highlands are separated from the rest of the highlands. The distinction was probably made to separate Oban and Dalwhinnie into two distinct regions.

Each year Diageo presents new batches of the Distiller Editions series. These are six whiskies which are known under the name "Classic Malts" in its standard form, but are finished in wine, sherry or port wine casks to get a special aromatic accent and to become a "Distillers Edition".

The bottlings of the Distillers Edition are limited; the year of distillation and bottling are given on the labels so that the annual batches can be distinguished at a glance. The special casks that are used for the finishing remain the same - Lagavulin, for example, is finished in Pedro-Ximenez casks for the Distillers Edition, Dalwhinnie in Oloroso and Cragganmore in port wine casks.

Distillers Editions 2019

Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2007/2019, finished in Moscatel casks, 43% ABV Aroma: Pure and fruity with spice. In addition, medical and smoky accents.
Taste: Sweetness and malt, followed by pure and fresh aromas. Complex and slightly dry with campfire and a hint of cinnamon.
Finish: Strong and lasting with many facets.

Cragganmore Distillers Edition 2006/2019, finish: port wine casks, 40% ABV. Aroma: Sweet and fruity with a hint of smoke and malt.
Taste: Complex and sweet with notes of smoke and fruit. In the background malt and oak.
Finish: Medium-long and dry with oak and sweet notes of banana, vanilla and cocoa.

Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition 2004/2019, finish: Oloroso sherry casks, 43% ABV
Aroma: Malty, spicy, with a sherry touch, honey and heather.
Taste: Initial spicy, then pure and sweet with grapes.
Finish: Dry with oak and strong vanilla notes.

Glenkinchie Distillers Edition 2007/2019, finish: Amontillado sherry casks, 43% ABV
Aroma: Complex and powerful. Sweet and dry notes with vanilla, grapes, nuts and malted barley.
&Taste: Sweet cookies in the beginning. Then malty and dry with grapes.
Finish: Long and dry with strong oak and a pinch of pepper.

Lagavulin Distillers Edition 2003/2019, finished in PX sherry casks, 43% ABV
Aroma: Smoky with the slight sweetness of vanilla and raisins, joined by iodine and roasted malt.
Taste: Sweet with mouth-filling smoke, grass and malt. Coffee, vanilla and hints of salty tang and fruits.
Finish: Smoky and lasting with oak.

Oban Distillers Edition 2005/2019, finished in Montilla Fino casks, Oban 43% ABV
Aroma: Spicy, fruity and maritime with grapes and orange peel. In addition, light smoke.
Taste: Soft and strong with malt and fruits.
Finish: Malty and slightly sweet with oak and coffee.

Talisker Distillers Edition 2009/2019, finished in Amoroso sherry casks, 45.8% ABV
Aroma: Pure and peppery-spicy with a raisin-like sweetness.
Taste: Smoky and slightly peppery with hints of heather, oak and ripe fruit. Sweet and oily.
Finish: Balanced, sweet and dry with cocoa, vanilla and smoke.

THE KEEPERS OF THE QUAICH: The Keepers of the Quaich, no relation to UDV’s Classic Malts’ campaign, are a society formed by Scotland’s whisky distillers in October 1988, to advance the industry and raise funds for charitable causes in Scotland. Membership is by invitation only and is reserved for individuals judged to have made a significant contribution to the Scotch whisky industry. The Keepers currently boast over 2,700 members hailing from 100 countries around the globe.

Image and data courtesy

Thursday 17 October 2019


Diageo’s  Special Releases Collection 2019 unveiled

                                              HIGHLY ANTICIPATED CASK-STRENGTH BOUQUET

                                          This morning, Diageo announced the highly anticipated launch of the 
                                   2019 'Rare by Nature’ inspired Special Releases collection. Comprised 
                                   of eight cask strength single malt Scotch whiskies from some of 
                                  Scotland’s most renowned and less known distilleries, this year’s                                                                         line-up has been hand selected by Master Blender Dr Craig Wilson.


During the late 1980s, the benchmark expressions of single malt whiskies from six single malt distilleries became well known under the CLASSIC MALTS name. Interest in older and even more rare malt whiskies in general also grew during this period. One product of this was the RARE MALTS, a series of rarer releases begun in 1995, and which ended in 2005. There remained a demand for unusual, distinctive, often older, unrepeatable cask strength bottlings, usually of the CLASSIC MALTS. Such bottlings allowed collectors, connoisseurs and enthusiasts to enjoy and experience remaining older stocks, and/or unusual expressions of a distillery’s character - a treasure trove of priceless malts. To satisfy this demand, the SPECIAL RELEASES series was born in 2001, and the annual collection - with familiar names and some surprises - has been eagerly awaited by enthusiasts ever since.


The 2019 Special Releases collection are now available in limited quantities from specialist Scotch whisky retailers.

This year's line-up was launched at an exclusive event at Somerset House in Central London, where guests were guided through a sensorial journey, transporting them from the hustle and bustle of the city to the wild Scottish habitats that inspired this year’s ‘Rare by Nature’ theme.

This carefully selected line-up features discoveries from Diageo’s most precious stocks maturing in Scotland. The collection celebrates whiskies with distinctive maturation techniques, rare finishes and unexpected taste profiles, with this year’s cask strength bottlings bringing to life each distillery’s unique character. Featuring expressions from famous, to supreme examples of the less well known and even closed distilleries, the bottlings are all extremely rare and sought-after whiskies.

Special Releases 2019 Collection

Cardhu 14-Year-Old: Smooth and generous, a small batch double matured for two years in Amontillado sherry-seasoned hogsheads.

Cragganmore 12-Year-Old: An unusual smoky expression of a Speyside classic, never released before, matured in refill American oak casks.

Dalwhinnie 30-Year-Old: Extra-mature & gentle highland malt with rich flavours from over thirty years of maturation in refill hogsheads and butts.

Lagavulin 12-Year-Old: Powerful & peaty, the king of Islay, a small batch of Lagavulin matured in refill American oak casks.

Mortlach 26-Year-Old: Rich & bold, a small batch of ‘ The Beast of Dufftown’ matured in first-fill Pedro Ximenez/Oloroso-seasoned casks.

Pittyvaich 29-Year-Old: A 1989 ghost, double matured in Pedro Ximenez & Oloroso sherry seasoned casks.

The Singleton of Glen Ord 18-Year-Old: A previously unreleased expression of lively rich fruit & spiced oak matured in freshly charred American oak hogshead.

Talisker 15-Year-Old: Rugged & smoky, made by the sea, the first ever release of Talisker as a 15 year old, matured only in freshly charred American oak hogshead.
The Singleton of Glen Ord 18-Year-Old is Back.    
One of the best expressions ever, this Singleton was released to the Asian market, where its stocks were exhausted in no time in 2015! After a prolonged hiatus, this expression is back.
Nose: Rich oak, vanilla, mild sherry, sweet honey and dried fruits, mixed spices, floral notes, fresh fruits (pineapple and just ripe green Nashik grapes) and a drifting whiff of smoke.
Taste: Sweet honey, a touch of biltong, dried fruits (dates, figs and mainly Indian gooseberries), malt and pepper.
Finish: Soft oak and floral honey, ginger, basel and fresh green fruits.


Diageo has released the oldest age statement from The Singleton brand to date – a 53-year-old single cask Scotch.

Distilled at The Singleton’s Dufftown distillery, the 1964 vintage whisky has been drawn from a single hogshead cask. Only 117 bottles have been released at an RRP of £26,400 each (approximately US$33,000). The whisky is presented in a crystal decanter housed in a wooden case that incorporates a piece of the original cask into its design. It is the first release in the brand’s new Paragon of Time Collection.

Bottled at 40.6% ABV, The Singleton 53 Year Old is now available from specialist retailers.  

The Singleton range is a trio of single malts from Dufftown, Glen Ord and Glendullan. Last year, brand owner Diageo added a “sweeter” iteration to The Singleton of Dufftown range. The UK firm is aiming to make The Singleton a million-case spirit brand.

Sunday 13 October 2019



The Scotch Whisky world was stunned and did not quite know what to think of this new idea: Glenlivet presented a Capsule Collection at the 2019 London Cocktail Week, held between 04-13 October. The Brits do seem to have long weeks! These were three whisky cocktails based on the Single Malt Glenlivet Founder's Reserve, specially presented in eco-friendly see-through capsules. They elicited what could be called, at best, a mixed reception. The non-conformists and disruptionists were thrilled, but the stiff-upper-lip Single Malt community just frowned and dismissed the “gimmick” as a one-night stand, actually ten nights.

Glenlivet created three different recipes in collaboration with Alex Kratena and Monica Berg of Tayēr + Elementary Bar, who expected it to be the standout during Cocktail Week. The award-winning bartenders were reportedly inspired by the defining elements and flavours of Glenlivet: citrus, wood and spice, represented individually in the capsules. The capsules' casings came courtesy Notpla, a sustainable packaging start-up, made from seaweed.

Billy Abbott from The Whiskywash castigated those who decried it on the blind metonymic Internet, calling them ‘dicks’. He listed the most common complaints before rebutting some in his caustic style: 
  • It’s blasphemy to mix whisky in a cocktail
  • They look like Tide pods ( laundry detergent packs
  • These will be bought by kids
  • A glass is better for the environment
  • You can’t nose them, so they are pointless
  • People will put these up their bums
His confutation of the fifth point “You can’t nose them, so they are pointless” is educative. This quibble only goes to show that most of us are not truly aware of how our own sense of taste works – you smell from both inside and outside your head. Traditional smelling involves sniffing something directly, one of the great pleasures of whisky. Inhaling the aroma of a great dram is a key part of consuming it. However, it’s not the only way you use your nose.

The tongue can only distinguish wide categories of flavour. The standard five-point sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami approach to describing how the tongue tastes, while certainly inaccurate, is a useful approximation. Complex flavour comes from the nose, with vapours travelling around the back of the palate, into the back of the nose and onto the medical fraternity called the olfactory epithelium in their "specialist jargon", where smell is sensed. This is where you get the interesting flavours of a dram when you drink it, and it’s why you still get the full range of flavours from these capsules even though you can’t sniff them before they go in your mouth. And this is the area affected by the common cold, temporarily rendering most of the 40-odd olfactory receptors hors de combat. Your food tastes flat whenever you have a cold or the flu.  

Claire Lower, writing for Skillet/Lifehacker, titled her piece: Don't Drink Whisky From a Glorified TidePodShe said, “These whisky pods are not a hack, and in fact emblematic of the worst kind of hack—the kind that nobody asked for. These pods seek to solve a non-existent problem, to elevate something that was already esteemed, and fix that which wasn’t broken. In short, it is wack (sic).” I quite liked her choice of words, even though she misspelt the brand name of the second most purchased Scotch with a production of over eight million litres per year Glenlevit. But then she is American, so, judging by the torrent of political tweets from there, all’s well. Hold on, she's corrected it!

Forbes' Felipe Schrieberg said that that brand’s video announcement about its new whisky cocktail capsules drew a lot of attention, not necessarily the good kind. He then went on to praise both the concept and the product, even calling the unfortunate-looking packaging "pretty nifty.”

Amanda Mull, reporting forThe Atlantic, gave it a totally American twist. She felt that the “Whisky pods are tailor-made for American drinkers, and that Americans will use anything to hide alcohol,” at one time harking back to her college days. She opined that many other people looked upon the Scotch pods and saw nothing but pure, open-container-law-circumventing brilliance; The capsules seemed perfect for sneaking booze into nearly anywhere, a trend made fashionable in the absurd Prohibition Era (1920-33). 

I had to give this Cocktail Week a miss and vicariously use my son-in-law's descriptions of the Week. I have been writing about whisky for nigh over half a century, when Phipson's Black Dog ruled the world east of the Mediterranean. I've survived simply because I have learned to ride the tide-drink Single Malts with Coke in Spain and France, with ice and soda in Japan, with a pint of beer as a chaser in Australia and more. I drink it the way I want to-its my money and my taste. I am definitely not averse to this experiment. The capsules may be ephemeral today, but are a harbinger of the changes that are a'comin. 

Diageo, under the Whiskey Union banner, gave us an Atlantic Ocean-spanning expression in 2015, the Huxley Rare Genus, made with a blend of whisky from America, Canada and Scotland! This Feis Ile, I saw Lagavulin buck the trend with Smokey Cokeys! I don't think I'm way off mark in prophesying that distilleries like The Macallan will be overtaken by upstarts like crowdfunded Steven Kersley and his Lone Wolf Distillery.

Image courtesy CPG Photography

Tuesday 8 October 2019




The new Macallan distillery and visitor experience aims to integrate their whisky making heritage with the innovative vision that guides their future.

The Macallan distillery was founded in 1824 by Alexander Reid, a barley farmer and school teacher. The original name of the area was “Maghellan”, taken from the Gallic word “magh”, meaning fertile ground and “Ellan”, from the Monk St.Fillan - who held a close association with the church that stood in the grounds of The Macallan Estate until 1400. Farmers had been making whisky on their Speyside farms in the area for centuries, using their surplus barley during the quieter winter months.

Designed by internationally acclaimed architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the evolution of the home of The Macallan embodies the care, passion and superior craftsmanship that goes into every bottle of their single malts. At the heart of The Macallan Estate, just 400m from their existing distillery, the new distillery and visitor experiences sits side by side their Spiritual Home, Easter Elchies House, and blends their past, present and future in a unique statement in architecture, construction and whisky-making.

After six years in the making, this is more than a distillery for The Macallan. A striking piece of contemporary architecture, the building and all of its elements embody the unique beauty of the birthplace of brand and whisky making roots - and mark a significant milestone and celebration of The Macallan story. Taking its cues from ancient Scottish hills and maximising the aesthetic beauty of the building, the distillery and visitor experience was designed to minimise the visual impact on the Speyside landscape whilst having the maximum awe-inspiring impact for whisky loving visitors from all over the world.

The character of The Macallan encompasses the strong sense of place at the heart of The Macallan distillery and estate, together with their long experience of distilling and maturing a single malt whisky.

The Macallan’s Curiously Small Stills are amongst the smallest on Speyside. Their unique size and shape give the spirit maximum contact with the copper, helping to concentrate the ‘new make’ spirit and provide the rich, fruity, full-bodied flavours characteristic of The Macallan. There are 24 of these spirit stills, crafted from copper, each holding an initial ‘charge’ of 3,900 litres.

They carefully select the finest quality spirit from our stills to ensure they create the best single malt whisky. This finest cut ensures they produce their signature viscous mouth-feel and fruity aroma and flavour. This small portion, or ‘cut’ is incredibly selective and one of the finest in the industry. It is primarily responsible for the full-bodied richness of The Macallan new make spirit. This clear colourless spirit is selected at just under 70% alcohol by volume. This distinctly robust and characterful ‘new make’ spirit is the starting point for all Macallan.

Their exceptional oak casks are the single greatest contributor to the outstanding quality, natural colours and distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan. These oak casks are crafted to their own specifications and account for up to 80% of the final aromas and flavours of The Macallan. Because of this, they spend more per cask than any other distillery in sourcing, crafting, seasoning and caring for its casks.

All colour in The Macallan whiskies, bottled by the distillery, is natural. Only the interaction of the ‘new make’ spirit with the oak of the maturation casks delivers the rich and natural diversity of colour throughout the range, from light oak through to darkest mahogany. These natural colours remain ‘fixed’, as opposed to artificial colour which fades relatively quickly in bright sunlight. Great skill is required by the Master Whisky Maker to achieve consistency of natural colour from bottling to bottling.

From humble beginnings, the brand has risen to become the leading international single malt by value and enjoys leading positions in some of the world’s most significant Scotch whisky markets including the USA, Taiwan, and Japan.

Edrington is investing £500 million in the brand of which the £140 million distillery is the centrepiece. This programme increases investment in whisky, warehousing, and particularly in The Macallan’s signature sherry-seasoned oak casks.

The first whisky ran through the stills in December 2017 and the visitor experience opened its doors to the public on Saturday, 2 June 2018.  

The new distillery will enable production of The Macallan to increase by a third if required. The new stills were crafted by Scottish coppersmiths Forsyths, who have been making the brand’s distinctive, ‘curiously small’ stills for The Macallan since the 1950s.

The striking piece of contemporary architecture is cut into the slope of the land, taking its cues from ancient Scottish hills. The undulating timber roof structure is one of the most complicated timber roof structures in the world, comprising 380,000 individual components.

The iconic subterranean distillery, situated on the Easter Elchies estate in Craigellachie, is already producing spirit for the Macallan single malt brand after the original adjacent site was decommissioned in October 2017.

With 36 copper pot stills – 15 more than the previous site – the new distillery will enable production of the Macallan single malt to increase by up to one-third if required. As The Macallan has grown globally it has been very important to ensure sustenance of demand for this wonderful amber liquid.

The most innovative aspect of the distillery – and the most challenging from a production perspective – is its layout. Macallan’s 36 stills – the biggest single order from coppersmith Forsyths are arranged in three circular ‘pods’ of 12, sharing space with 21 stainless steel washbacks (fermenters), while the site also features a single 17-tonne mash tun, said to be the largest in Scotland. Despite the increase in size, the character of Macallan’s whisky will remain the same.

Each pod contains eight spirit and four wash stills, alongside the washbacks which control and contain a fermentation period of 55 hours. That many stills in one room is bound to generate an exceptional amount of heat, impacting the success of fermentation within those adjacent washbacks, a process which is extremely temperature-sensitive. As such, the original distillery’s wooden and stainless steel washbacks have been rejected in favour of fermenters fitted with a new external cooling system that allows for greater control over temperature during fermentation. Had the technology not been available, the entire distillery design would have to be redrawn.

The original distillery, which was first licensed to distill in 1824 and has been extended many times in the last 200 years, will be mothballed for the foreseeable future.

15,000,000 litres of spirit each year
180,000 different components to make the roof
15,000 tonnes of concrete to fill foundations
952 bottles to sample in the bar
840 bottles in the brand wall
398 bottles in the archive, plus 19 decanters, and four flasks
120m long, 24m high
36 copper pot stills
21 washbacks

Part of the visitor experience is Eat@TheMacallan, which offers the finest Scottish produce with a twist, taking inspiration from the long-standing relationship The Macallan has enjoyed with the Roca brothers, who run twice-voted best restaurant in the world El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. 

The Macallan Fakes Controversies

The emergence a fake 1878 bottle of Macallan single malt Scotch whisky at a hotel the Hotel Waldhaus am See, St Moritz recalled a wider-ranging scandal of the 1990s and the early 2000s, an uncanny sense of déjà vu. This was the season when antique bottles appeared in hordes of obscure expressions, previously unheard-of 19th-century bottlings, whiskies from long-closed Campbeltown distilleries, etc.

The Hotel Waldhaus am See fake

One single malt stood above all others in terms of collectability: Macallan. No surprise, then, that a large number of 19th- and early 20th-century Macallans began to appear on the market. Between 2000 and 2002, Macallan acquired about 100 antique ‘Macallan’ bottles at auction and from private collectors, in turn offering some of these for resale via its own online auction. After a series of tests, some were withdrawn, with Macallan losing face. But then, it was a case of caveat emptor!

The Macallan Distillery 1824 Series ‘Gold’ Single Malt Whisky is not immune from controversy, presently surrounding the decision to structure 1824’s releases by colour, naming them based on their hue, not vintage or style.  Colour is the primary demarcation for the “Gold,” “Amber,” “Sienna,” and “Ruby” whiskies in this line. The older the whisky, the darker the colour, and each release in the series maintains consistent colour over different batches. Critics berated Macallan, calling this a backhanded trick to blend in newer, less aged whiskies without lowering the price, to make more whisky, faster, cheaper and with fewer losses, hotly contested by The Macallan Distillery. I don't see where this fuss about colours comes in; the trend was started by Johnie Walker in 1909! In fact, the Double Black Label and Platinum Label were introduced only in 2010. As far as quality or chicanery goes, there are appropriate forums to look into the allegations.

Thursday 3 October 2019




You may know that Scotland is rightly famed for producing the world’s finest whiskies, but did you know that each year there are more and more whisky distilleries popping up around the country? In 2017, seven new distilleries started production. In 2018, another four opened and this year a further five will start production, with many more in the pipeline for 2020 and beyond. This site has been updated as of early 2021, with the Corona Virus that started in February 2020 wreaking medical havoc and creating appreciable delays.



Half way between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Falkirk rests in the industrial heartland of Scotland. The Coat of Arms of the Burgh of Falkirk mottos: ‘Better Meddle wi’ the De’il than the Bairns o ‘ Fa’kirk’ & “Touch ane, touch a’.

The historic site of the distillery is bounded by the Antonine Wall, which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and World Heritage Site.  To the west of the distillery, stands proud Mumrills Fort a place where it argued that the Battle of Falkirk took place.  The epic build of the distillery compliments these invaluable assets and through time will become recognised as a place of exceptional Lowland Malt.

Complementing Falkirk town’s three existing and renowned visitor attractions (Callendar House, The Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies), George Stewart's Falkirk Distillery is just a short walk from magnificent Callendar House and was due to open to visitors in the latter part of 2019. Alongside the new distillery, the new distillery building, with its distinctive pagoda, is to include retail, restaurant and office space, quite an experience when opened. The plan which was slightly behind schedule moved into 2021 to let the new make run. An update is placed at the end of this post.

The Founder’s interest in the extraction and bottling of natural spring water coupled with fervent admiration of the Scotch industry (lest not forget its finest produce) gave George the idea of bringing whisky back to Falkirk. From here a diviner (whisky in hand) set about sourcing a site in George’s locality which would provide the finest source of water, their Artesian well.

The Falkirk Distillery

Now for those ‘lost years’, where to begin?  This chapter or chapters can be summarised by a simple phrase: ‘blood, sweat and tears’. The Family drew on its own resources, using local labour, industry experts, sourced the best equipment and survived on a diet of determination. Every inch of the distillery from the laying of the first stone, to the hand crafted copper pagodas and the traditional bonded warehouse has been built to try and respect and mirror what whisky is about: ‘place, people, family and the future’.  Whisky is about tomorrow and tomorrow will surely be a better day….

Traditional appearance, modern facilities; how the new distillery looks today. Producing its own distinctive distilled whisky, the new building will house a world class leading retail, restaurant and business complex. The company intends to invite some of Scotland's best known iconic brands to take up occupancy in the centre's six retail units. A licensed restaurant and fully equipped conference facility will complete the inventory for this world class attraction. 

Where are they today? Falkirk Distillery is proud to announce the production of an ‘exceptional new make spirit’. The distillation process is a fine marriage between the old and the new; their two impressive Speyside copper stills and 4.5 tonne traditional copper mash tun have been married with the 34,000 litre fermentators, spirit safe and state of the art Buhler Malt intake. A heady mixture of both geography and age, with the finest raw ingredients kindly nurtured to produce the most ‘exceptional new make spirit’.


‘After rigorous testing the team at Falkirk Distillery have succeeded in their mission in producing a quality Lowland spirit, ‘organoleptically, the sensory team assessed your NMS as very good.’

Nose: sweet, floral, herbal  

Palate: sweet pears, warming mild spice, buttery, sweet hazelnut

Finish: long and sweet, faint tinge of heather


Speyside’s newest distillery, Cabrach, set to open in autumn 2019, has had to delay opening to next year. 2020 is when ‘The Cabrach’ single malt will flow once again – 150 years on from when whisky was last distilled here. In the early 1800s, Scotch whisky from the remote Cabrach region of the Highlands was highly sought-after, fetching prices as high as the fabled ‘Glenlivet’. Now the fabled whisky is set to return to The Cabrach once more.

Founded as a distillery and heritage centre by The Cabrach Trust, the aim here is to create captivating whiskies in the glass-fronted refurbished and historic Inverharroch Steadings, and revitalise and rejuvenate this remote and beautiful part of Moray-Speyside. The heritage centre will enlighten visitors about the early days of farm distilling, illicit whisky production, smuggling and avoiding the excise-man in bygone times.

It takes only 15 minutes or so to reach The Cabrach from Dufftown, but once there you enter a different world, and one that becomes progressively wilder the deeper you go, from the rolling green hills and burns of the Lower Cabrach in the north to the heather-clad moorland of the Upper Cabrach, stretching south towards the village of Rhynie.

It is at first glance a desolate place, its many abandoned farmhouses testament to the devastating impact of two World Wars. At the turn of the 20th century, about 1,000 people eked out a living here; only 70 or so remain now and, despite their resilience, their numbers will drop to about 20 by 2050 if depopulation continues at its current rate.

The Cabrach Trust, a charity set up to preserve the area’s cultural heritage and aid its regeneration is aiming to bring whisky-making back to The Cabrach through a £6.5 million project to build a heritage centre and working distillery at Inverharroch Farm. The trust wants to make whisky the old way, recreating the flavours found here around the time that Queen Victoria came to the throne.

By the early 1800s, illicit practice was endemic and lucrative. Over time, whisky from The Cabrach acquired a following in the surrounding area – in Aberdeen, Huntly, Banff and as far afield as Montrose – but the region’s whisky-making decline began with the passing of the 1823 Excise Act, which revolutionised whisky production in Scotland and sounded the death-knell for most illicit distillation within a few years.

The Cabrach distillery will be operated as a social enterprise, with all profits reinvested in projects that will help to build resilience and long-term sustainability in The Cabrach. The distillery and heritage centre will provide a sustainable income for the activities of the Trust and will serve as an important social hub for a remote dispersed community.


This project is being part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Moray LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme.

UPDATE: Cabrach Distillery Gets A Move On

After a series of delays, a move to regenerate the area as a sustainable community has been driven by The Cabrach Trust, which recently confirmed it secured the £3.5 million needed to activate the project, designed to blend harmoniously with the natural environment of the Cabrach.

A 19th-century steading at the Trust’s Inverharroch base will be restored while sustainability will be at the heart of the transformation, and planners look to incorporate a renewable energy source.

The new project represents what’s described as the Trust’s regeneration masterplan for the Cabrach, which will bring about skilled, permanent employment to the area and attract thousands of visitors every year.

The Ethos Foundation, a principal funder of The Cabrach Trust, pledged its support to the project, alongside capital grants from the William Grant Foundation and the Vattenfall Clashindarroch Wind Farm Community Fund.

Forsyths, a leader in distillation equipment and based in nearby Rothes, will also contribute to the project. The Bently Foundation awarded a significant grant to the project in 2021 as well.

With funding secured and planning approval in place, work at the site is expected to get under way in February, with a goal of being operational by spring of 2023, three years behind schedule.

In 2013, The Cabrach Trust acquired the historic Inverharroch Farm and its 170 acres of land and through community asset transfer, acquired the Old School and Hall along with the Acorn Community Centre.

Following the restoration, The Cabrach Distillery and Heritage Centre will be housed within the Inverharroch Farm steadings. The distillery and traditional dunnage warehouse will occupy two wings of the steading, with the additional two wings allocated for the heritage centre, community bistro, tasting room, and visitor reception.


Imagine a premium Single Malt Scotch Whisky, created where the lowlands meet the sea, to give a taste that is smoother, sweeter and seasoned by the bracing Atlantic Ocean winds.

Resurrecting the name of the original Ardgowan Distillery, which was established in Greenock in 1896, this new addition to the Lowlands region, with lovely views over Ardgowan Estate and the Firth of Clyde, will break ground soon and is scheduled to open in late 2020.

The land that the new Ardgowan Distillery will sit on has been inhabited for over 4,000 years and Ardgowan has strong historic and royal associations spanning the centuries. Once the distillery is running, Ardgowan will produce a peated full-flavoured smoky single malt, a lightly peated double-distilled ‘coastal’ malt, an unpeated flagship lowland-style malt with light, floral and delicate notes and a blended malt.

Provenance: Ardgowan House stands on a high promontory with sweeping views of the River Clyde. A bronze axe-head recovered from the site of Ardgowan House confirms that the lands around the site have been inhabited for over 4,000 years.

Place: The distillery will be unique: it is a Lowland distillery with maritime characteristics, given its close proximity to the sea and the Gulf Stream. It’s the perfect place to distil Single Malt because of the quality of the water from the local spring which is beautifully clean and sweet.

In the interim, Ardgowan will be marketing the signature Clydebuilt Limited Edition, a collection of whiskies that will be produced by purchasing and blending casks over the next 5 years. The first of the collection Clydebuilt Coppersmith was released by Ardgowan in 2019. This whisky will cease production in Quarter 2 in 2021. A small number of cases will be retained for the distillery opening and a limited number will also be reserved for customers who wish to subscribe to receive all of the whiskies in the Clydebuilt Collection.

Clydebuilt Coppersmith is a limited-edition blend of malts from Speyside and Highland distilleries wholly matured in first fill Oloroso sherry casks. These malts have been selected and blended with great skill by their master whisky maker Max McFarlane. A whisky to savour, Coppersmith oozes opulence and stunning cask maturation with a super balance of sweet and spicy, heather honey, sultanas and very dark chocolate, with a long, dry finish.

Product: A smoother, sweeter premium Single Malt Scotch Whisky, seasoned by the bracing Atlantic Ocean winds where the lowlands meet the sea – the goal is to produce nothing less than the greatest whisky in the world.

UPDATE: Distillery Unveils Landmark Building Plans

Ardgowan officials unveiled fresh plans for its new distillery and visitor centre, with construction starting next year. They state that the new design uses low environmental impact composite cladding, timber and steel materials to create a light-filled, modern Nordic long hall. The building is designed to provide an energy efficient distillery and to offer a visitor experience that incorporates a glass-walled “sky platform” with views of the surrounding nature.

Artist's rendering of the new Ardgowan distillery Iimage: Bowman Rebecchi)

Ardgowan already pledged that the new distillery will be carbon negative and contractors are working with specialist distillery engineers Briggs of Burton to ensure their flagship building is up to date with the latest innovations in energy reduction, heat recovery and carbon capture.

Last summer, Ardgowan Distillery confirmed the Inverclyde project would go ahead following new investment of £8.4 million led by principal investor Roland Grain and additional investment from Distil Plc. Depending on the planning process, the company is looking for the distillery to be operational in 2023.

Commenting on the proposal, Grain said he was passionate about Scotch whisky from his youthful days in Austria. His aim for this project to create the highest possible quality whisky and a lasting connection to the community in Inverclyde.

The modern Nordic long hall is pointing skyward, symbolising resurrection and a rise from the ashes of the former Ardgowan Distillery, which burned down in the Greenock Blitz in May 1941 … and also the ambition to become one of the top whiskies in the world.

Ardgowan Estate is less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow and in 2019, the area saw more than 100,000 cruise ship patrons visit. There is a promise of an opportunity to draw people here with a first-class food, drink and retail experience. This project will be a major boost to the local economy, both during construction and in operation and an estimated 47 new jobs could be created within five years.


When Stewart Laing and his sons Andrew and Scott formed Glasgow-based Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd as a blender and bottler of Scotch whisky in 2013, they knew it was finally time to also realise their long-held ambition of making their own whisky. With a family background in the whisky business dating back to the 1940s and whisky stocks from all around Scotland carefully acquired over six decades, they had a strong foundation from which to build. With a strong affinity for Islay and a reverence for its distinctive, peated malt whiskies, they had no doubt that the fabled Whisky Isle had to be the site for their own distillery, reverently named Ardnahoe.

The recent opening of Ardnahoe Distillery, taking the number of whisky distilleries on the island to nine, further consolidates Islay’s title of ‘Scotland’s Whisky Island’. This eagerly anticipated distillery is wonderfully situated between Bunnahabhainn and Caol Ila distilleries and is enviably situated overlooking the Sound of Islay, with amazing views from the glass-fronted Still Room to the Paps of Jura.

Ardnahoe Distillery takes its name simply from the location in which it is set. Ardnahoe is Scottish Gaelic for “Height of the Hollow” which perfectly describes the beautiful setting in which the distillery lies. 

Ardnahoe intends to distill a classic peated style Islay malt, using the finest barley and water from the depths of Loch Ardnahoe itself. The resulting spirit, from an area resplendent with stunning scenery, should become a favourite with visitors.

Ardnahoe Distillery is one Scottish family’s dream unfolding as well as being the next chapter in the captivating story of the Whisky Isle of Islay. The Laing family, having been involved in the Scottish whisky industry for generations, are highly respected in their field. As a young man in the 1960’s Stewart Laing came to work at the Bruichladdich Distillery where he began to learn the fine art of distillation. It was here, on the island, his love for Islay and its whisky was ignited. His progeny is following in their father’s footsteps – making Ardnahoe a wholly family-owned business: a rarity in today's scotch whisky industry.

In 2015 they located the perfect four-acre site by Loch Ardnahoe on the Northeast of the island, with access to the deep loch waters, and having purchased the ground and secured planning permission ground was broken for Islay’s ninth distillery in late 2016. First runs of distillation began in October 2018 with Cask number 001 filled on the 9th November that year. The realisation of a dream, and the beginning of an exciting journey.

Ardnahoe prides itself on being a modern distillery, set beautifully in a stunning location, that employs rigorously traditional methods and values. The spirit being produced is sweet, smoky and smooth yet peaty and spicy – unique and dynamic to its very core.


Housed in the quirky old ‘Fire House’ in the grounds of Dornoch Castle Hotel, Dornoch Distillery is located in the pretty Sutherland town of Dornoch. This micro distillery has been producing whisky since December 2016 and laid its first cask in January 2017.

Not content with establishing one of the world’s leading whisky bars in Dornoch, brothers Phil and Simon Thompson have upped their ambitions and started making their own whisky and gin on-site at Dornoch Castle Hotel, forming Dornoch’s first whisky distillery.

Thompson Bros at Dornoch Distillery was founded following a successful initial crowdfunding round in 2016 which saw 250 whisky lovers from all over the world eagerly put their hands in their pockets to secure hotly anticipated casks of new make spirit from Dornoch Distillery. A remarkably successful 2017 saw the team lay down casks of future single malt whisky and launch Thompson Brother’s Organic Highland Gin, available in 11 international markets.

The success of Thompson Bros Organic Highland Gin and the need for more production, storage and distilling space led to the brothers launching the second round of crowdfunding in summer 2018 with the aim of expanding into a larger and more versatile site.

Following a passion for single malt Scotch produced during the early 20th century, Simon and Philip Thompson’s Dornoch distillery is a hotbed for traditional practices. With a capacity of just 20,000 litres of spirit a year, the hand-operated distillery is one of the smallest in Scotland, which enables a tighter focus on running experimental batches using a variety of methods adopted by Scottish distilleries during the 1940s-60s.

Only organic, heritage varieties of barley are used, such as Plumage Archer and Maris Otter, floor malted to a precise specification at Warminster maltings. These alternative barley varieties, which are more expensive to grow and yield a lower amount of spirit than conventional strains, are used to generate an intensity of flavour in Dornoch’s whisky to complement long-term maturation.

Yeast strains are chosen for their slow, and less efficient conversion rates, allowing Dornoch to achieve fermentation times of up to 216 hours – quite possibly the longest in Scotland. The result is a fruity, complex flavour profile, which the Thompsons believe mirrors that of certain distilleries during their ‘golden years’. Again, at Dornoch, flavour trumps yield.

Experimentation continues through to the maturation, which takes place in an insulated shipping container packed with earth to mimic the conditions of a dunnage warehouse.

While 90% of production will be dedicated to single malt whisky (a signature style hasn’t been decided yet), Dornoch will also distil its own ‘experimental’ gin, the botanicals for which will vary from batch to batch.

Ghost Hunting: Boasting its very own Dungeon, Dornoch Castle Hotel is a ghost hunter’s dream. The ghost who stalks the halls at night is thought to be a former resident of the dungeon who was imprisoned there, and has since been spotted many times over the centuries. Andrew McCornish was a sheep thief and was executed by hanging. According to legend, the ghost was identified as Andrew by the local sheriff after he heard a detailed description.

In 1922 the owner of the hotel at the time went to the extreme lengths of having the building exorcised due to excessive spectral activity, but still the remnants of the past linger on. Many people have reported feeling uncomfortable in certain areas of the grounds and also seeing lights that can’t be explained.


Construction of the new Holyrood Distillery, in the heart of Edinburgh, was completed on schedule and the owners started to welcome visitors for tours and tastings on 30 July, 2019.

It has been almost 100 years since single malt whisky was produced in Edinburgh and alongside producing ‘full-flavoured spirits for anyone with an open mind and an open mouth’. The ‘historic’ opening day will mark the first time since Glen Sciennes closed in the 1920s that central Edinburgh has had an operational single malt whisky distillery. Visitors will enjoy a hands-on, sensory visitor experience that will both surprise and delight. The distillery has named Glasgow Distillery’s Jack Mayo as its master distiller.

The new distillery which will be housed in a carefully refurbished 180 year old B-listed building, a former railway goods shed dating back to 1831, also produces gins and liqueurs. The aim is for Holyrood Distillery to become a major visitor attraction, both for locals and visitors to the Scottish capital. The distillery complex, which also contains a visitor centre and shop, is located on the edge of Holyrood Park and is within a commutable distance to Edinburgh Waverley rail station and other attractions in the city.

It cost £6.7m (~US$8.15 million USD) to build, and includes two exceptionally tall stills that, at 7m tall, are said to be the tallest stills in Scotland in proportion to their volume. Using self-described “innovative production approaches, such as a complex combination of yeasts and a unique selection of different types and styles of malted barley,” it will initially produce four core flavours of whisky – smoky; sweet; spicy; and fruity/floral.

This year they have partnered with award-winning Edinburgh caterers, Hickory, in bringing back their very popular Courtyard Bar for Summer 2021 – a safe, sunny, south-facing, outdoor space for you to reconnect with friends and family, whilst enjoying some of the best food and drink Edinburgh has to offer! All plans remain subject to the Covid-19 situation prevailing.

Holyrood Distillery is the brainchild of Rob and Kelly Carpenter, co-founders of the Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), and of former Macallan master distiller David Robertson. The complex is one of several whisky distilleries set to launch in Edinburgh; the Port of Leith project is preparing for construction, and John Crabbie & Co is set to make a return to the city.


Complementing their first distillery in the north of the island at Lochranza set up in 1995, Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd opened their second site on the island at Lagg, on Arran’s southern tip and Lagg distillery eventually took its first spirit cut on 19 March 2019 at 14.35pm, filling its first cask on 10 April, a Sherry butt reserved exclusively for members of the Lagg Cask Society at 50 ppm and a strength of 63.5% ABV. They will be producing Lagg Single Malt Whisky from now on.

This part of Arran has long associations with distilling, both illicit and legal, and the new Lagg Distillery will produce a more heavily-peated style of single malt, distinct from its northern counterpart. They plan to conduct investigations into the effects on their whisky of peat sourced from different origins, of the distinctive phenols they produce and of the various types of cask they use to mature their spirit.

The new distillery will house a welcoming visitor experience and visitors will be able to enjoy distillery tours, tastings and a choice of restaurant or café dining, all with fine views over the coast to the south and the hills to the north.

With a compelling story to tell, the new distillery will dig deeper into aspects of production to add more understanding to us customer’s appreciation of peated malt. For hundreds of years, to increase their income, small Arran communities made their own spirit in illicit home-made stills. The resulting whisky, which became known as ‘Arran Waters’, was smuggled from Lagg and sold on mainland Scotland. That trade is being revived as Lagg's heritage - legally, of course!

In 2017, Arran Distillers began building their distillery and its visitor centre. Two years later, they’ve opened their doors to the waiting world. Their architects have created a spectacular building to echo the contours of Arran as we’d see it from Ailsa Craig. Its dramatic roofs are covered with a sedum blanket. This contains a mix of plants that change colour with the seasons. Their custom-made copper pot stills were installed on the distillery floor in August 2018, and now sit proudly alongside their mash tun and four traditional wooden washbacks.

Lagg single malt itself will be a heavily peated style, made using barley with a phenol content of 50ppm. While all barley will be malted on the mainland, the peat used to dry the barley will be sourced from all across Scotland, perhaps even the world, as Lagg explores the impact of peat terroir on whisky flavour. Experimentation won’t stop there – Lagg will work with various yeast strains and barley varieties as it ‘plays around’ with different aspects of the production process. Despite its focus on innovation, Lagg will be a sizeable operation, capable of producing 500,000 litres of spirit each year. With 140 apple trees already planted on the surrounding estate, Lagg will also produce its own cider and apple brandy, rather than follow the rest of the ‘craft’ Scottish distilling movement and produce gin.

Newly-opened Isle of Arran distillery Lagg has released a trio of heavily-peated distillery-exclusive bottlings, all of which have been produced at its sister site in Lochranza.

Lochranza Whiskies available at Lagg Distillery


Combining tradition, provenance and heritage, this ‘barley to bottle’ farm distillery near Perth marks the Morrison family’s return to distilling. As a Whisky broker, Stanley P. Morrison had owned Bowmore during the 1960s, his distilling, blending and brokering business forming the basis for Morrison Bowmore, now owned by Beam Suntory.

In 2005 the Morrison family secured a majority stake in the Scottish Liqueur Centre in Bankfoot, Perth, where it nurtured the Bruadar and Columba Cream liqueur brands. The group – later renamed Morrison & Mackay – moved into blending and bottling Scotch whiskies under the Carn Mor range, and re-established the Old Perth brand in 2014.

At the time of Old Perth’s creation, the business had sought to move its operation to larger premises. The Morrison family owned a 300-acre farm in the nearby village of Aberargie, where they had been growing barley for maltsters for a number of years.

In early 2014 Morrison & Mackay’s plans to build a blending and bottling hall on the farm were approved. Along with the designs were plans for an adjacent, yet separate distillery to be owned and operated solely by the Morrison family under The Perth Distilling Company. Due to the Morrisons’ majority stake in Morrison & Mackay, they were able to proceed with both builds simultaneously.

Ground broke on the project in June 2016, and following distilling trials in October 2017, Aberargie distillery’s first cask was filled on 1 November.

Technically a Lowland distillery (it misses the Highland line by a few miles), Aberargie eschews regional style with its rich and fruity whisky. Its sole use of Golden Promise barley – grown entirely on its own farms – gives an inherent waxiness to the new make spirit, while the distillery is set up to nurture a fruity quality, with a smoky characteristic from the occasional peated run.

Maturation will take place in a mixture of first-fill ex-Sherry butts, first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels from Woodford Reserve, and second-fill Sherry/Bourbon casks, further enhancing the rich Aberargie whisky style.

Situated ‘a football kick’ from Morrison & Mackay’s new blending and bottling facility, Aberargie is designed as a ‘barley to bottle’ operation – every process bar the malting (courtesy of Simpsons') will take place on-site.

Every drop of spirit produced at the distillery is destined for Aberargie single malt, although some may be commandeered as fillings for Morrison & Mackay’s Bruadar whisky liqueur.


Glasgow was once a major whisky distilling and bottling hub of Scotland, with around 40 companies operating out of the city in 1963. But by the 21st century, they had been reduced to just a handful. The whisky contingent dwindled so much that Glasgow distillery, which began operation in 2014, was the city’s first malt plant to open in 39 years. A small operation, named Kinclaith, had operated within the walls of Strathclyde grain plant on the banks of the Clyde from 1957-75, but it too flew solo as Glasgow's only malt whisky representative.

Around the same time as Glasgow distillery’s conception, Tim Morrison, owner of AD Rattray and formerly of Morrison Bowmore Distillers, conceived an idea for a malt distillery on the banks of the Clyde.

The old Pump House, built in 1877 by Morrison’s great grandfather, fell into ruin and was ultimately restored as a visitors’ centre for the Tall Ship attraction at Glasgow Harbour in the 1990s.

In 2011, Morrison Glasgow Distillers (MGD), led by Tim Morrison as chairman, his son Andrew as commercial director and Glen Moore as MD, purchased the site and began the long process of seeing its conversion into a malt whisky distillery.

Originally the plant was to be called Glasgow distillery, but excavation complications arising from the infilling of the Queen’s Dock halted construction work, allowing the Glasgow Distillery Company to open its own Glasgow distillery in Hillington.

Work finally began on Clydeside distillery, which took its new name from the riverbank on which it sits, on 1 August 2016. The first distillation at Clydeside occurred on 6 November 2017, with the visitor centre opening on 23 November.

One of the first malt distilleries to be built in Glasgow for 40 years, Clydeside intends to eschew its Lowland base and create a malt whisky that reflects the city’s shipping heritage. Owner Morrison Glasgow Distillers has worked closely with distilling consultant Dr. Jim Swan to design a ‘light but fruity spirit’ less grassy and malty than other Lowland malts, instead veering toward a spicier Speyside style to reflect Glasgow’s past in bringing tobacco and spices to the UK.


Across the Cromarty Firth from Dingwall, the famous Ferintosh Privilege is granted in 1690 to local landowner Duncan Forbes. He is allowed to distill whisky on his land duty-free.

When John McKenzie retired from the army in 2002 he returned to his hometown of Dingwall and became a commercial helicopter pilot, flying VIPs and film crews across Scotland. It was during these many flights he came upon the idea of opening his own whisky distillery. 

Many clients were headed to the golf course, or remote distilleries on Jura, Islay or Orkney for exclusive tours, during which McKenzie learned to appreciate whisky.

With a dream to breathe life back into the rural Dingwall community, in 2011 he began looking into the possibility more seriously. McKenzie already owned several acres of farmland, as well as a wind turbine, and having worked on the board of a local wind energy cooperative, he began considering how to crowdfund Scotland’s first community-owned distillery.

Planning permission for GlenWyvis distillery – an amalgamation of the lost distillery names Ben Wyvis and Glenskiach, both of which closed in 1926 – came in 2014, on McKenzie’s 40th birthday.

The following year McKenzie launched GlenWyvis Gin (produced at Saxa Vord distillery in Unst) from a helicopter, the label for which carried details about how investors could get involved with the new distillery.

On 16 April 2016 GlenWyvis launched its first crowdfunding campaign. Its goal was to reach £1.5m, but by the close it had reached just over £2m. The build began in January 2017, and was completed by November the same year. GlenWyvis distillery officially opened on 30 November 2017 and began its commissioning process (running the mash, fermenters and stills) in the next few weeks.

While some shareholders received a bottle of three-year-old whisky, its first commercially-available single malt won’t be released ‘until the whisky reaches optimum maturity’. GlenWyvis’ new gin still was installed in 2018, bringing production of its gin in-house, a majority decision made by the distillery’s 3,000 shareholders.

GlenWyvis is set up to produce a ‘Highland style’ yet green, grassy newmake with long fermentations and plenty of copper contact. Maturation in first-fill and refill American oak will add a sweet roundness to the final whisky, while a proportion of Sherry-matured spirit will provide a richer depth.

Small in size, GlenWyvisclaims to be a ‘craft’ distillery, but its redeeming feature is its 100% self-sufficiency. Powered by its own wind turbine, hydro scheme, solar panels and biomass boiler, the distillery operates completely off-grid (the turbine in fact belongs to MD John McKenzie, who takes GlenWyvis’ draff for his cows as payment). It even has its own electric car and at some point in the future will offer visitors tours in its electric bus. Latest details are available via this link

GlenWyvis can also claim to be Scotland’s first community-owned distillery, with a list of over 3,000 shareholders from the local Dingwall area and beyond.


Tironensian monks first arrived in Fife some 800 years ago to build an abbey on the banks of the River Tay and first produce uisce beatha in 1494. Now little more than a ruin, a single malt distillery has risen in its wake.

Built as a daughter house of Kelso Abbey, Lindores Abbey was founded on the edge of Newburgh, Fife, in the late 12th century by the Earl of Huntingdon. Once visited by kings and queens, the Tironensian Abbey is now little more than an overgrown ruin. In 1912 the Abbey and a neighbouring farm were sold to John Howison, a farmer in the Carse of Gowrie, Perth and Kinross. The lands were passed down through the generations and are now owned by Howison’s great-grandson and current ‘custodian of Lindores’, Drew Mackenzie Smith and his wife, Helen.

It’s claimed that the first written reference to whisky being produced in Scotland relates to Lindores Abbey. The Exchequer Rolls of 1494 lists that, by order of King James IV, ‘eight bols malt’ be presented to Tironensian monk Friar John Cor to produce ‘aqua vitae’ – the water of life. It’s thought that Friar Cor resided at Lindores, and the Abbey has become known as the ‘spiritual home of Scotch whisky’.

Mackenzie Smith had long considered building a distillery at Lindores, and finally embarked on a £10 million project in 2013, with backing from three European investors. An excavation of the land adjacent to the Abbey – a former farm steading used as a dairy – revealed an ancient 18-metre wall just five inches below the earth’s surface.

The excavation and subsequent archaeological investigations delayed construction until July 2016. Lindores Abbey’s ‘world-class’ visitor centre eventually opened to the public in October 2017, with distillation commencing almost immediately.

According to Mackenzie Smith, despite Lindores’ historical roots the company has faced at least one trademark challenge from consumer brands over the use of the Abbey’s name. As such the distillery will never produce a chocolate liqueur to avoid a battle with Lindt, producer of Lindor chocolate.

Considering its historical importance, Lindores Abbey distillery has been built as an aesthetically sympathetic monument to the 800-year-old Tironensian structure, using local wood from Denmylne and stone from Clatchard Quarry.

Lindores’ one wash still and two spirit stills will produce a lightly peated Lowland malt (the site lies just on the border with the Highlands) using barley grown on neighbouring farms and around Fife, and malted at Muntons. Maturation will be conducted on-site in a purpose-built dunnage warehouse, 25% of which will be heated to increase the rate of maturation.

The heated warehouse won’t be the only curiosity at Lindores: a special strain of yeast that may have existed in the 15th century is being replicated in partnership with Heriot-Watt University, and will be used to produce a limited edition single malt. In addition, instead of producing a gin, a percentage of Lindores’ new make spirit will be put aside to produce ‘aqua vitae’ – a malt spirit macerated with local herbs like sweet cicely, which grows abundantly on the banks of the River Tay. Eventually, fruit from the Abbey’s newly-planted orchard will also be incorporated.

Above all, the Mackenzie Smiths have plans to create a ‘world-class visitor attraction’ with Lindores, educating guests on the Tironensian monks’ crafts and way of life, the Abbey’s history as well as the whisky production process.


Taking it’s abbreviated name from Neachneohain, the Gaelic Queen of Spirits, this distillery embodies the spirit of this legendary character – strong, independent and never afraid to walk her own path – a quiet rebel and a fierce protector of nature. Perched above the Sound of Mull in secluded Morvern, Ncn’ean Organic Whisky Distillery started producing single malt whisky in March 2017, using the best ingredients and pioneering sustainable production methods. It is one of the new wave of Scottish farm distilleries designed by the late Jim Swan, set up to produce a light, fruity and organic single malt spirit.

The idea to build a distillery on the grounds of the historic Drimnin Estate came to the Lewis family in 2012, some 10 years after they bought and set about restoring the neglected property. The estate itself had once been Maclean clan territory, and formed part of the Drimnin Castle grounds, but was sold by a bankrupt Charles Maclean in the late 18th century. Following a succession of owners and misfortunes – Drimnin House itself burned down in 1849, its owners meeting unrelated yet tragic and untimely deaths – the estate was rebuilt and eventually restored into holiday lets, a cattle farm and conservation area.

By 2013 the Lewis family’s plans to build a distillery in the historic farm buildings adjacent to Drimnin House were well underway, with daughter Annabel Thomas leaving a job in London to manage the project personally as CEO of the newly established Drimnin Distillery Ltd. Following two investment rounds, which included a government grant, the project was finally completed in March 2017.

While Drimnin distillery became the working title for the project, the family and its private investors were keen to separate the business from the rest of the estate. At the start of 2017 the new name Ncn’ean was chosen – Drimnin Distillery Ltd will soon also be renamed Ncn’ean Distillery Ltd – and on 21 March the first spirit was filled into the cask. The distillery officially opened to visitors in July.

The first whisky to be released by Ncn’ean distillery is expected in 2020, although a limited number of individual casks are made available to purchase annually.

Ncn’ean (pronounced Nook-knee-anne), is an abbreviation of Neachneohain, the name of a witch-queen in Scots Gaelic folklore who, according to Sir Walter Scott, ‘rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under her grim banner’. Much like its namesake, Ncn’ean distillery on Scotland’s Morvern peninsula, is very much a leader in its protection of its natural environment, and intentions to operate at the forefront of innovation.

Ncn’ean has been designed as the first fully organic modern distillery in Scotland powered by 100% renewable energy. Wood chips for the biomass boiler are sourced from a local forest, while all by-products are recycled as animal and plant feed on the remote estate on which it lies.

The farm distillery was designed by the late distilling consultant Jim Swan to produce a light, fruity and estery spirit, a character intensified by slow mashes, long fermentations, horizontal lyne arms and shell and tube condensers, with a high, narrow spirit cut.

Experimentation comes in the form of varying yeast strains not usually adopted by distillers, while the wood programme will be focused predominantly on ex-Bourbon and red wine cask maturation, with a small Sherry influence. Two dunnage warehouses, located on the hill behind the distillery, feature temperature regulators to allow Ncn’ean greater control over the flavour generated in cask over time.


Skye’s second whisky distillery to produce a typical Island-style malt, complementing long-established Talisker Distillery at Carbost. It overlooks the Sound of Sleat and the dramatic wilderness of the Knoydart peninsula and is housed in a converted 200-year-old farmstead. Production got underway in January 2017 and the distillery also now offers visitor tours and there’s a shop and a café serving refreshments and light bites on site. Torabhaig is one of the four distilleries along the Hebridean Whisky Trail, the others being Raasay, Talisker and Isle of Harris.

Single Malt Scotch Whisky is inextricably linked to its place of origin, perhaps more so than any other product. The water, the land, the climate, all play a role in the character of the whisky. All these factors are also vitally important in planning a new distillery. Simply put, one can’t just build a distillery anywhere.

Some time ago, the old farmstead at Torabhaig was identified as the perfect location for a small, traditional distillery. All the factors needed to make good, robust island whisky were in place, right down to the Allt Breacach, the burn that feeds the site with purest island spring water, all this in a stunning natural setting. They were also fortunate to start with a handsome, rugged building, rich in history and local lore. 200 years or so ago, the stone that forms this building was hauled up from the ruined castle in the bay, by horse and cart. Men toiled from dawn till dusk building this Steading which was to stand the test of time for the next 150 years or so until farming practices changed.

Their 19th century steading has now been fully restored to hold the gorgeous copper stills and traditional wooden washbacks, and should allow production of whisky here for the next two hundred years; they have even built in a roof that can be removed, so that in time, the pot stills can be replaced without disturbing the old building again.

Sir Iain Noble, the man who founded Noble Grossart, Scotland’s first modern merchant bank, moved to the Isle of Skye in 1972. He purchased 20,000 acres of land, including a hotel at Isle Ornsay, which had been part of Lord Macdonald’s estate.

Noble – who founded independent blender and bottler Pràban na Linne (Gaelic Whiskies) in 1976 – planned to convert a 19th century listed farm steading at Torabhaig into a distillery. He’d obtained planning permission for the project as early as 2002, though sadly passed away in 2010 before his plans could be realised.

Around the time of his death, Mossburn Distillers, a subsidiary of Dutch drinks group Marussia Beverages BV, was also seeking a site on the island to build its own distillery. While the group hadn’t previously considered the renovation and preservation of a historic building for its project, Noble’s Torabhaig farm steading proved the perfect location.

Mossburn set to work renovating the property, which had become little more than a ruin, in 2013. The steading’s infrastructure took three years to rebuild, with a bespoke removable slate roof to allow access to the two stills for repairs.

Whisky production commenced at the distillery in early 2017, and a small visitor’s centre complete with café and retail shop opened to the public from July 2017. The Torabhaig single malt will be backed by Mossburn.

Torabhaig is another of the traditional farm steading-turned distillery projects cropping up across Scotland in recent years, though its output is significantly larger than many of its peers. Every drop of its spirit will be earmarked for bottling as a single malt, to begin with, though expect to see some siphoned off for blending further down the line.

In uncovering the true expression of Torabhaig, its distinctive character is fast evolving into a signature style, the Torabhaig flavour profile christened ‘Well-Tempered Peat’. The ambition with Torabhaig Single Malt is to change the course of whisky-making on Skye by injecting diversity, vitality and a distinctive character. A bright and exciting future for whisky is envisaged on this rugged and beautiful island. That said, Talisker remains a towering presence on Skye.


Although not strictly a ‘new’ distillery, Bladnoch Distillery has been completely renovated under new ownership and began production again in 2017 under the watchful eye of Master Distiller Ian MacMillan. Located near Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway, the distillery was originally founded in 1817, making it both Scotland’s most southerly distillery and the oldest working distillery in the Lowlands whisky region. A world-class visitor centre is currently being built.

Bladnoch’s rich history dates back to 1817, when John and Thomas McClelland were first granted a licence to distill Whisky on their Bladnoch farm in Scotland’s Lowlands.For nearly a century, successive generations of McClelland family grew and modernised the distillery. At its peak, the site had six washbacks and annual production of approximately 230,000 litres of alcohol, which cemented its status as the “Queen of the Lowlands.” Over the next 85 years, Bladnoch Distillery changed hands several times but continued to produce fine Lowlands Whisky.

It was one of many stills to close in 1905, during a period of over-supply and low sales. Bladnoch is not far from the sea crossing between Stranraer and Larne and twice in its history its saviours have come from Northern Ireland. The first of these was Belfast distiller Dunville & Co. which owned the Royal Irish distillery. It bought Bladnoch in 1911 and continued production – albeit intermittently – until 1937. At that point, Dunville’s directors were spooked by (Scottish-based) DCL’s declaration that Irish whiskey had no future. After DCL turned down the chance to buy the firm, it went into liquidation, despite being profitable and having stock. Bladnoch was closed once more.

Worse was to follow. Its new owner, Ross & Coulter, sold off Bladnoch’s mature stock and sent the distilling equipment to Sweden – and so the story continues, with owners coming and going at rapid rate. Bladnoch reopened in 1956, was expanded to four stills in 1966, became part of Inver House for a decade, and then in 1983 was bought by Arthur Bell & Son. After Bell’s was taken over it was folded into Guinness/UD [now Diageo] and production once again slowed. In 1993, it was officially decommissioned.

The year after, however, two brothers from Northern Ireland bought it with the initial idea of turning the extensive site into a holiday village. A change of heart soon after saw them wishing to start making whisky again – contrary to the terms of sale. It took six years to persuade Diageo to allow them to make 100,000 litres a year – below capacity and as it turned out right on the limits of profitability.

Most of the distillery’s income came from tourism, events and the extensive warehousing rented out to other producers. Production remained intermittent with mothballing taking place in 2009/10. In 2014, the brothers placed it into administration.

In July 2015 Australian businessman David Prior, along with ex-Scotch Whisky Association CEO, Gavin Hewitt, announced the purchase of Bladnoch and plans to restore the distillery to its former glory. Ahead of its reopening in 2017, three single malts created using existing stocks of Bladnoch (Samsara, Adela and Talia), were released in limited quantities in Australia, the UK and other global markets.

Bladnoch Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. 


Releasing limited edition whiskies using old casks filled before Bladnoch fell silent. Reimagined but respectful. New thinking with old expertise. It’s a place where fine Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has flowed for two hundred years. You can sense it in the deep bluestone walls of the Mash House, the Tun Room and the Dramming Room and you can feel it rising out of the pure waters of the Bladnoch River. This is the place where Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is being redefined.

In 2015 itself, David Prior began an extensive refurbishment of the distillery. After 2 years of renovations, Bladnoch Distillery resumed production of its grassy, malty typically Lowland-style spirits. In 2017, Bladnoch celebrated its 203 year anniversary, making it one of the oldest and one of the largest privately owned Scotch Whisky distilleries. In 2019, highly acclaimed Master Distiller, Dr Nick Savage joined the Bladnoch team. Bladnoch launched its state-of-the-art Visitor Centre experience, gift shop and Melba Cafe.

Isle of Raasay Distillery

The first legal distillery on the Isle of Raasay in northwest Scotland began distilling in September 2017, with a vision to create the finest Hebridean single malt Scotch whisky and a unique whisky destination with arguably the best view from any distillery in Scotland.

Experience at first hand the exciting journey from revitalising an island landmark building, to harvesting the first Raasay barley for a generation, and handcrafting the first Isle of Raasay single malt in Scotch whisky history with water sourced from a Celtic well deep beneath the distillery.

First Raasay Whisky in Scotch History: In 2020, they will release the first Isle of Raasay Single Malt in Scotch whisky history. Raasay whisky will be a taste of the ruggedly elegant, exceptionally diverse island, made in small batches from the mineral water drawn from the Celtic well on site. The long fermentation period brings a rich, fruity character to the spirit even before it touches the oak of the cask. They will then use a combination of virgin American oak, high rye bourbon and wine casks to create a contemporary single malt Scotch whisky for the future generation of discerning drinkers.

Raasay Single Malt Whisky: The Isle of Raasay Distillery began distilling in September 2017. It takes three years of maturation in oak casks before it can be legally called “whisky”. This means the first legal Isle of Raasay Single Malt Scotch Whisky will be bottled in 2020.

All maturation is carried out on the island in their own warehouses, which will maximise the influence of the variable Hebridean climate on the final single malt whisky. While waiting for the new Raasay whisky, they have crafted a single malt, aptly called Raasay While We Wait, that demonstrates their whisky-making skills and offers a tantalising taste of what’s to come from the Isle of Raasay Distillery. The new whisky will reach the market as a 46% ABV, natural colour, non-chill filtered whisky. This release in the 'While We Wait' series is a blend of peated and unpeated whiskies from a single distillery, finished in Tuscan red wine casks.

The idea behind Raasay While We Wait is to show the style they are aiming to achieve at the Isle of Raasay Distillery. Working with a Highland distiller, they blended heavily peated and unpeated single malt whisky together from this distillery, and finished the liquid in Super Tuscan wine casks from the Montechiari vineyard. This vineyard was chosen as they have excellent French oak casks, lovely Cabernet Sauvignon wine which seasoned the casks, and they are based in Tuscany, an area they have a strong relationship with as they developed their pot stills for the distillery with Frilli, the Tuscan based Pot Still producer.

The Master Blender achieved this by blending two expressions from one distillery; one peated, one unpeated. The whisky is then finished in French oak Tuscan wine casks. The inaugural expression has been produced from heavily peated (40 ppm) Scottish barley, distillers’ yeast and mineral rich water drawn and filtered from the Celtic well. Coupled with long fermentation periods of up to 115 hours, the resulting spirit developed a rich, fruity character before even touching the cask.

A £200,000 grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in 2018 has enabled Isle of Raasay Distillery to build its own bottling plant and more warehouses. HIE is an agency of the Scottish Government responsible for economic and community development in rural areas and small businesses. From 2020, Raasay Single Malt Whisky will be bottled on the island.


Hawick has a long and colourful history which can be traced back to the 12th century, when King David 1st granted land to a Norman family, the Lovels. Today Hawick is part of the Textile Trail and is the major centre for the industry in the Scottish Borders. The town therefore has many shops with a large selection of knitwear and cashmere.

The Borders Distillery®, the first Scotch Whisky distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837, was commissioned in March of 2018. This new distillery is dedicated to making whisky and capturing the spirit of the Borders. Every day in the Distillery they distill from local barley and create ‘ New Make Spirit’. The vast majority of this spirit is filled in oak casks for maturation until it develops into the finest Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

They keep some back to charge their Carter Head Still, designed and commissioned for the Borders Distillery. Once charged they can further distil again to the higher strength required to make their distinctive Gin and Vodka, as well as many other things, all from local barley by their distilling team.

Their hometown, Hawick, has a famous history of manufacturing, where cashmere is king and where tweed was invented. The distillery is in a landmark building in the Towncentre, making them familiar and new. There is a spirit of industry and enterprise here that inspires them in all they do.

Occupying the site of the former Hawick Electric Company, they have undertaken a careful and complete renovation of the building to a fully functioning distillery.

With a committed attention to detail and a real acknowledgement of the building’s history every tiny details has been covered. From the restoration of the original 1930 crane to the lead welded windows, this is a build that the owners are immensely proud of.

Lower East Side: Liberty – the freedom to do things your way – was the driving force of the Scottish Enlightenment and is the central tenet of the constitutions of the free world. At the confluence of these champions of freedom is Lower East Side®: a smooth, easy-drinking Blended Malt Scotch Whisky of exceptional quality. This is a whisky to drink your way, when you like it, how you like it.

The distillery uses locally-grown barley, all harvested from 11 farms lying within 30 miles of the distillery. It draws its water from an underground lake beneath the site. The lake’s water takes between 50 and 70 years to filter down from the hills through the rock. Even if it never rained again (unlikely in the Borders!) the lake contains enough pure water to last the distillery for thousands of years.

They also produce the Clan Fraser and the Clan Fraser Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky.

You’ll find these in the most forward-thinking bars: free-poured over ice, stirred liberally into a Manhattan and openly mixing with the world’s greatest drinks to create stylish new cocktails. To drink Borders is to celebrate liberty. And there’s only one way to do this: your way.

Lone Wolf distillery

Brewdog, the ‘punk’ brewer of the beer business, moved into distillation via its Lone Wolf spirits offshoot with the opening of a distillery in 2016. The venture includes – unsurprisingly – an iconoclastic approach to Scotch whisky production.

Located in in Ellon in rural Aberdeenshire, LoneWolf is a distillation subsidiary of BrewDog. This distillery produces gin and vodka from grain to glass and is already distilling grain whisky, mainly rye. In December 2016 BrewDog launched its first Scotch whisky, Uncle Duke’s, a four-year-old single grain sourced from an undisclosed third party distillery. The team is also working to launch its first Ellon-distilled whisky. LoneWolf whisky production began in 2018 using the only triple bubble still in the world – just one of the ways that LoneWolf runs against the pack and strives to challenge the traditions of the industry.

A serial headline-grabber, the company’s past antics include driving a tank through the City of London to publicise its Equity for Punks crowdfunding scheme, and packaging a 55% ABV freeze-distilled beer in small stuffed animals. What can we expect it to get up to in Scotch?

Non-conformist distiller Steven Kersley has worked at Oban distillery, tried brewing and distilling at Heriot-Watt, and spent four years managing a number of Diageo distilleries, including Benrinnes, Teaninich and Linkwood. He is experienced enough to try a disruptive technique in distilling Scotch Whisky at LoneWolf. Deconstructing the whisky-making process, the neighbouring brewhouse will supply all of Lone Wolf’s wash, experimenting with different yeast strains – not just distillers’ yeast – and varying fermentation temperatures. Peat may well be involved, but so might barley dried with cherry or apple wood, says Kersley, along with different grains like rye and corn.

Destined to produce whisky, Lone Wolf's peculiar wash still (left) is designed to increase reflux for a light spirit style
There are two pot stills for whisky, each with a 3,000-litre charge. The first has an ‘interesting’ neck with a triple bubble, to create plenty of copper interaction and reflux. Pot still number two is more traditional in style and shape, but is linked to a complex condensing system, including a second condenser with temperature control and a catalytic converter with a ‘massive’ area of copper surface. This can either be engaged for a more delicate spirit style, or bypassed for something heavier and meatier.

There’s also an eight-plate rectification column, designed for ‘stripping’ the spirit to make rye, Bourbon and grain. One run can create a spirit at 80-90% ABV, which can then be cut back, distilled again in pot still two or allowed to mature.


Beyond 2019, Diageo has big plans to invest £150 million over the next three years across their Discovering Distilleries sites (which will grow from 12 to 14 with the re-opening of the ‘lost distilleries’ of Port Ellen on Islay and Brora in Sutherland) and a new state-of-the-art immersive Johnnie Walker visitor experience in the centre of Edinburgh.

Douglas Laing are currently developing their Clutha Distillery in Glasgow, which they hope to open in 2020. Whilst over on the east coast, a John Crabbie & Co gin and whisky micro-distillery at Granton Harbour in Edinburgh is planned. Plans for the innovatively designed Port of Leith vertical distillery, which will sit alongside Ocean Terminal, are also taking shape.

Further south, the Borders will see continued growth in whisky production in the shape of R & B’s second distillery (complementing their site on Raasay) coming to Peebles and Mossburn Distillers Ltd, continue to develop their Reivers Distillery in Jedburgh.


Toulvaddie Distillery will be the first Scotch whisky micro-distillery to be founded and run by a woman in over 200 years, after Cardhu. This will be the first legal distillery in the Fearn and Tarbart peninsula, in the North East, Highlands of Scotland,.which was once rife with illicit stills, including one which was hidden under the pulpit of the local church. At the foot of Nigg Hill, on the site of the old World War II Royal Naval Airbase HMS Owl, Toulvaddie Distillery will soon begin to distill single malt whisky.

Founder and Distiller, Heather Nelson has spent a number of years designing, developing and now is in the process of building Toulvaddie Distillery. It has been a long time ambition and dream which has taken a colossal amount of work to finally get it off the ground.

Her family background is embedded in the agricultural industry with both sets of grandparents being farmers it meant that her whole life and culture was influenced by the land. Anyone who has had any involvement with farming knows that it is not a job, it is a way of life, a culture for the whole family – and in this area it is intertwined with distilling industry. Many years ago the farmers would have done it themselves in an illicit still away from the watchful eye of the excise man, but now the barley which is grown in the fields right next to the distillery is used for making whisky.

Whisky has always been perceived as a man’s drink, and it really isn’t, and this incorrect perception is dying, slowly, but things are changing. Starting Toulvaddie distillery will help break down the barriers. Hopefully it may encourage other women to try whisky when they maybe would not have done before.

The distillery is being built on the site of an old Royal Navy Airbase where Navy pilot bombers trained on how to land on the decks of aircraft carriers during the war. Incorporating the site history into the distillery is also important to Heather. Much of the base has been returned to farmland after it was no longer needed by the Navy for bomber training. The distillery to retain some of that history and the spirit of the men and women who worked there.

Toulvaddie will initially produce around 30,000 litres per year, hand crafted in the time- honoured tradition. Construction is underway and production to begin as soon as possible after that. A limited number of Year One casks will be available to purchase, thus allowing whisky lovers from all over the world to be part of its history.

At the heart of the distillery will be big work horse Wash Still Milly, and the smaller, slow and steady Spirit Still, Nelly. The stills are named after the Horse and Cow in the emblem. Nelly was born at Heather's parents small holding and lived there for all of her 23 years. Milly was a much later addition however there was a stong bond between them. Hopefully, their name sake stills will emulate their harmonious partnership.

Twin River Distillery

The team behind Deeside Brewery has opened a new distillery in River Deeside, thought to be the first in almost 200 years in the Scottish region.

Banchory-based Twin River has recently invested over £200k in the distillery to accommodate the production of its spirits – including gin and whisky – with plans for new premises in 2018. £1.4m will be invested to build a new brewery, distillery and visitor centre with taproom.

The distillery is seeking funds for the centre through both internal and external sources including private investment and crowdfunding, via the sale of early release octaves (55L casks).

To support with the development and production of its products, the distillery has appointed Andrew Tulloch as a distiller. Ryan Rhodes has also been recruited as brand director and joins Twin River with over 12 years of experience in the drinks industry.

Twin River’s spirits are manufactured entirely in-house, from the creation of a ‘wash’ to the final product. No spirit is brought in or contracted out. Rhodes believes, “To create a whisky, you firstly need a wash which is fundamentally an 8% beer. We’ve used our brewing knowledge to create a wash, which includes chocolate malt before distilling it to cask strength and laying it down in 55L virgin charred American oak casks. This type of cask ages the whisky much quicker.”


After more than five decades spent running local businesses, the Stewart family celebrated in July 2020 when the distillery became fully operational. There was further reason to be pleased late last year when Falkirk Distillery Company started producing a spirit for the first time. Fans will have to wait a wee while before sampling its whisky, though, as a spirit isn’t whisky until it has been distilled for at least three years.

Inside the magnificent new distillery building are two copper stills and a copper mash tun, which have a long history in whisky distilling having come from the Caperdonich distillery at Rothes, Aberlour.

George Stewart’s family-run distillery has taken the step to “producing status” after 10 years of vision, planning and construction work. Equipped with the mash tun and two stills from the closed Caperdonich Distillery (the Belgian Owl Distillery has been working with the other two Caperdonich stills for a while), the Falkirk Distillery will have the capacity to produce more than a million litres of alcohol annually. They want to produce a light Lowland malt that would appeal to a wide range of spirit drinkers.

Experienced Distillery Manager Graham Brown, who started at Distell and worked for both Deanston and Tobermory, is responsible for the development and quality of the whisky and explains that their main aim here is to focus on the quality of the spirit. There is no rush to just put anything out to market that isn’t something to feel immensely proud of and that facet will show in the final product.

Founder George Stewart also thinks in terms of time and said: “The whole process to date has been one of passion and patience. We have invested heavily in time and money to create something we hope the local area can be immensely proud of. We are overwhelmed with the support shown already from the local area and whisky community. There is something about whisky that really brings people together. Our expectations are that over 80,000 visitors will come through the doors here every year and that has to be a boost for the local community. Furthermore, once fully operational with tours and restaurant running, we will require well over 60 staff members.”

Falkirk Distillery waits for revival of tourism, located on the M9. It hopes for a large number of visitors once tourism starts up again after the Covid-19 restrictions. Then a restaurant and a tasting event centre will join the distillery. Whisky fans can follow the development of the distillery online and see if anything of note is in the offing.  

Glen Luss Distillery
Loch Voil in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is about an hour's drive from the new distillery

A new distillery opening in Scotland is a bit like a new restaurant opening in New York City: of course there is. But to find a new distillery-slash-brewery inside a national park? That’s a rarer treat, and having it set within Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park—one of the loveliest and most accessible parks from big cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow—is better still.

Glen Luss Distillery has been getting buzz lately for its promise of a micro-distillery serving—deep breath—single malt Scotch whisky, locally sourced botanical gin, aged and new-make rums, small-batch vodka, and craft beer in the loch-side village of Luss when it opens in May 2021.

People have been drawn to Luss for over 1500 years. It was originally known as Clachan Dhu or ‘Dark Village’ as it hid in the shadows of the surrounding mountains. It wasn’t until the Christian missionaries arrived in the 6th century, led by St Kessog, that the township took on the current name of Luss, from the Gaelic word ‘lus’ which means herb or botanical. Other notable settlers to the area include the Colquhoun Clan, who have called Luss their home since the 12th century, with Rossdhu as their ancestral seat. And the 13th century saw the arrival of the Vikings; whose final resting place lies under the Hogsback in the grounds of Luss Parish Church.

Glen Luss Distillery will be the first experimental brewery & distillery on the shores of Loch Lomond, nestled in the heart of the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. It will provide the township of Luss with an exciting year-round, all-weather, visitor experience to cater for the existing million+ tourists who visit annually. Our offering will complement the existing businesses in the area, supporting the diverse range of activities and experiences available within Luss.

Glen Luss Distillery will actively support the sustainable development of Luss by providing 26 full-time employment opportunities, as well as shorter term employment during additional phases of the project. Their ambition is to recruit 30% of the workforce from within the Luss and Arden Parish, and provide Modern Apprenticeships to support the development of the local population. Glen Luss Distillery will donate 5% of its profits annually, for a period of ten years from first profit to a Charitable Fund. Through this Charitable Fund, they will engage with local community groups to assist in the development of Community-Benefit Projects in the Luss and Arden area.

Glen Luss Distillery will aim to reduce the impact of over-tourism by working with the local community to support the forthcoming Traffic Management plan for Luss Village. This includes incorporating the proposed Village Green Space and New Car Park Facilities to the South of the township, which will promote the pedestrianisation of Luss.

Yes, the opening day is drawing near, but one might anticipate some more delay, given the Covid 19 curse, but Glen Luss has a crowdfunding “founders club” campaign running for a few more days for those interested in pledging. (Commitments run from “Clansman/Clanswoman” at £500 to “Clan Chief” at £5,000, with various bottles, merch, and parties included.) The work-in-progress project has the makings of a high-touch interactive experience, akin to what big distilleries like Glenfiddich and Macallan offer, with a guided tour of the facilities (the “making and tasting” experience), along with an interactive discovery centre with a cinema, virtual reality experience, and history and heritage walkthrough.

The region surrounding Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park has a wealth of distilleries already, though the “region” could constitute an hours-long drive west to Oban or east to Perth. And look, I’d recommend both ends of that whisky road trip, but there’s something great about the promise of a destination distillery just a 40-minute drive from Glasgow, in a village of only 150 people, on the shores of one of the largest lakes in the United Kingdom.

Given the potential for Glen Luss to attract some of the four-million-plus tourists who visit the park annually once coronavirus isn’t a thing (please, let that be soon), the distillery is making a commitment to sustainability.

“Energy efficiency, recycling, reducing waste, promoting area biodiversity, using electric vehicles, and preserving wildlife habitats in the area are all measures the distillery team plans to undertake in the effort to be environmentally conscious,” reports Whisky Advocate. Glen Luss also plans to hire locally and build a 240-car lot south of the village itself. Hopefully these best-laid plans help preserve the beauty and character of the area, while also giving us a new spirit-lover’s trip to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.

At this moment, there is an environmentalists’ move to block development of Glen Luss distillery.


A charming distillery and visitors’ centre built in 2014 within an 18th century farmstead that’s ideally situated just a few miles from St Andrews.

LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY: Kingsbarns Distillery, the brain-child of former St Andrews golf caddie Douglas Clement was five years in the planning, but took just 18 months to build. All new distilleries, regardless of the scale, need a lot of working capital, but Clement had little beyond a box full of business cards gathered as a caddie for wealthy golfers at Kingsbarns Golf Links on the Fife coast, a few miles from St Andrews.

Realising there was no nearby whisky distillery to satisfy the thirst of the course’s visitors, and having come across a derelict 18th century farm steading on the Cambo Estate, situated just a short distance from Kingsbarns, Clement decided to build his own.

The initial £100,000 seed capital was raised from 32 investors, golfers Clement knew from Kingsbarns, which enabled him to get moving. Further crowdfunding and government grants failed to procure the £1.6 million needed to actually build the distillery. He was nearly a million pounds short of target when the Wemyss family, owners of Wemyss Malts, stepped in and January 2013 saw Clement selling out to the Wemyss family.

With Clement remaining as a director, and funding now fully in place, work began on Kingsbarns distillery within six months and was up and running within 18 months. The relatively small distillery aims to fill just 24 casks per week (140,000 litres per year), although fully matured whisky became available in 2018.

Kingsbarns Dream to Dram

The flagship single malt from Kingsbarns Distillery in the Lowlands, owned by the Wemyss family. The Dream to Dram single malt Scotch whisky was matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks from Heaven Hill Kentucky distillery and first-fill STR barriques (STR means shaved, toasted and re-charred), and was distilled in 2015 and bottled at 46% ABV. A fruity, floral expression, and an excellent introduction from Kingsbarns!

Nose: You can really smell those first-fill bourbon casks. There’s vanilla and crème brûlée plus lots of new make character, tropical fruit, and quite pronounced alcohol.

Palate: Smooth texture, sweet cereal notes, light and fruity, with some roasty coffee notes.

Finish: Banana bread.

Kingsbarns Balcomie 46% ABV

The Balcomie is a sherried release from Kingsbarns distilled with locally-grown Fife barley. It was matured exclusively in American oak butts that previously held Oloroso sherry, which is rather unusual seeing as sherry is usually held in European oak. Richer, spicy notes from the sherry balance the sweeter, tropical notes from the oak. Top stuff from the Lowland distillery!

Nose: Cinnamon scrolls and hot cross buns, with a drizzle of maple syrup and dried cherry.

Palate: Pineapple upside down cake, marmalade and more cinnamon, with a touch of cocoa.

Finish: Apricot jam and chocolate-coated nuts.

Plans for New Distillery near Port Ellen Approved                               


Artist's impression of how the distillery will look 

The rumours of a new distillery near Port Ellen, the 11th Islay Distillery, go back quite a few years. It was referred to as "Farkin Distillery", named after the local farm and first written about as Farkin Distillery in November 2015. 6 years on and recently Argyll and Bute council have approved a new distillery on this location, to be built by the co-founders of Elixir Distillers, the brothers Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh. The official name is not yet known, the owners will name it soon. (It was named Portintruan Distillery early May 2022).

Does Islay really need another distillery?

Not everyone was pleased with the new distillery as it will generate more traffic through the village of Port Ellen, more capacity is needed on the ferry and a nice coastal part of the island will be built upon and lost for nature and wildlife. A Petition was drafted opposing the 11th distillery on Islay on the grounds that the island just didn’t have the infrastructure, fresh water and peat bogs for saturation on such a scale. Evidently, it hasn’t passed muster and the Distillery Manager has been appointed, Georgie Crawford who has worked for Diageo for 14 years at Talisker, Glen Ord and Teaninich, among others. After working for many years as Lagavulin’s Distillery Manager, she took over the position of project manager for the reconstruction of Diageo's Port Ellen Distillery in mid-2018.

She will be responsible for the production of up to one million litres of alcohol in the Farkin Distillery. The majority of this is to be produced from malt that is malted on the company's own malting floors on the distillery site. But first she will oversee the construction of this new Islay distillery in the south of the island - not far from the Port Ellen Distillery where she is currently based.

Elixir Distillers were founded by Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh, who also run the Whisky Exchange and, for example, own the Port Askaig whisky brand.On the positive side, it will generate more jobs on the island and to overcome the housing problems on the island, there will be 16 new houses built next to the distillery for the workforce.

Design Change 

The design of the distillery has changed dramatically since the original plans were submitted and the changed overall look, more traditional, is now more in line with the other three Kildalton Distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

Other data: The total investment will be between £20m and £30m, they will employ more than 15 people, the distillery will also have a visitor centre and they are expected to open in 2023, work will start this year.

InchDairnie Distillery: Kinglassie, Fife

As exciting as crowd-funded micro-distilleries seemed two or three years ago, they are becoming so common place that people are struggling to care about the latest grow-your-own-locally-sourced-organic-barley operation.

InchDairnie has shrouded itself with secrecy and mystery to such an extent that people know only what is posted on their website. It is located in the drab industrial park at the edge of Glenrothes. Uh Oh! But wait; standing on a huge plot at one end of the park is a distillery so modern and imposing that one feels as though one were driving onto a fancy sci-fi movie set. It is one of the most modern whisky production facility in Scotland, currently running at 2,000,000 litre annual capacity but with the ability to quickly shift up to 4,000,000.

Every detail has been thought through - from a site layout that will facilitate easy future expansion to a distillery that uses the latest technology to maximise efficiency in both production and environmental terms. Many of the traditional tools of a distillery have been replaced by modern engineered equivalents. The familiar processes are all present but often in new guises. Other innovations include varying the type of barley and yeast at different times of the year to use seasonal ingredients and to produce flavour variation. It’s whisky making Jim, but not as is known.

Their business plan will allow them to warehouse their whisky until it is ready. They have 4 warehouses to house 88,000 casks. No date is given, except that for a distillery built in 2016 over 18 months from 2014, their first single malt will be available around 2029! That’s thirteen years. If they can deliver on that promise then this alone differentiates them from the rash of craft distilleries that has appeared recently. The distillery has a 3 stills, including a Lomond which will allow them triple distillation. A mash filter is used, instead of a mash tun, to squeeze the sugary liquid from the thicker mash. There are 4 washbacks in the distillery, and the ABV of the fermentated wort is 10%, which is higher than many other distilleries. They test thousands of variations of yeasts in order to find the perfect recipe.

As Ian Palmer, their MD says, “Alongside malted barley, water and yeast, one of the most important ingredients in our whisky will be technology. In our quest for flavour, we have distilled decades of industry experience and knowledge into fine-tuning one of the most meticulously designed distillation processes in the world.”

After an extensive and meticulous development process, completed in 2017, RyeLaw was announced as the first release for InchDairnie. RyeLaw, made from a high proportion of malted rye, the key component in American rye whiskey and also malted barley, the key ingredient in Scotch whisky, was first distilled in December 2017, following a pilot distillation in October of the same year.

RyeLaw is unique in a number of ways. It has been created using the unconventional mash filter, one of only two in Scotland, which is able to process the viscous rye grains, unlike the traditional mash tuns in most distilleries. Its secret recipe, with its high proportion of malted rye and the fact that it is being made and matured in Scotland, means that it will meet the legal definitions of both a Scotch grain whisky and an American rye whiskey. Distillation partly took place in the distillery’s bespoke Lomond Hill still, which was installed alongside two traditional pot stills to provide the capacity to experiment and to enable the ability to have greater control over shaping flavour. As a result, RyeLaw was the first rye and barley whisky ever to be distilled in a Lomond still. It will not be used to produce a single malt.

RyeLaw will officially be categorised as a single grain Scotch whisky, made using malted rye and malted barley. This is in line with The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009.

The Prinlaws Collection will be a collection of unique flavour-led distillates from different yeasts, cereals and oaks. Every year up to two weeks are isolated for one off single campaign distillations at InchDairnie Distillery – distillations that may never be repeated, meaning PrinLaws bottlings have the potential of being some if the rarest distillates to come out of Scotland. Their oats distillate is the first chapter in the PrinLaws Collection from InchDairnie Distillery and features a mash bill primarily of malted oats to deliver a different flavour. There is no definition for whisky made from oats, so InchDairnie has borrowed the American definition of rye whiskey and bourbon whiskey and applied it to whisky made from oats, meaning that a minimum of 51% of mash bill must be from oats – Only the distillation of oats is so unusual that there is no legal definition of oat whisky in Scotland, Ireland nor North America, so InchDairnie Distillery is leading the definition.

The new distillate from InchDairnie Distillery is ground-breaking in that there is no Scottish law for specifically naming a whisky made of oats. As such under current rules the only official term for a whisky made from oats is “Single grain Scotch whisky”, despite this being distilled first in a copper pot still, followed by spirit distillation in their Lomond still.

They are also creating a true winter distillate using peated malted barley. The name of the distillate that will one day be mature whisky, is KinGlassie, named after the nearby village, and it is believed to be the first peated whisky from the Kingdom of Fife in modern time. Using peat from St Fergus in Aberdeenshire, the creation of KinGlassie will allow a chunky smoky flavour to come through.

KinGlassie will be distilled once a year for 2 weeks every December. It will be matured for around 8 to 10 years in Bourbon and Amontillado casks, which together will combine the true characteristics of the distillery. Distillation will take place in the distillery’s two traditional pot stills which are cooled with two condensers to ensure more copper contact than at any other distillery.

KinGlassie has been in development for over the past 2 years. When it is released, it will become part of the core range being created at the distillery including Ryelaw and an InchDairnie Single Malt Scotch whisky.

Strathenry is a full flavoured early maturing malt distilled at the distillery when not making the InchDairnie Single Malt. The name Strathenry comes from the nearby Strathenry Castle, a 16th century tower house in the parish of Leslie just north of the distillery in the old Kingdom of Fife. It will be sold or exchanged with the various distilling groups in Scotland. That is quite a feat for a young distillery, but the proof is in the quality of the liquid. Some Strathenry will be reserved and once mature it will form the body and spine of key blends from strategic partner MacDuff International.

Every year only a finite batch of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter is distilled and together, these scarce, mature distillates will eventually form the Vintage InchDairnie. Once they are gone, they are gone. Rather than distil the same spirit throughout the year, they change according to seasons.