With the current upswing in demand for Scotch whisky there have been a number of distilleries opening and re-opening as of late.
Here are the ones to watch out for in the coming year or so.
Permission has finally been granted by Argyll & Bute Council for Hunter Laing & Co to build the first new distillery on Islay since Kilchoman, in 2005.
The construction site can be found on the North-East coast near Port Askaig, equidistant between Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila distilleries.
Work is expected to be finished early 2018.
Most likely to become the 9th operational Islay distillery, Ardnahoe will produce a classic peated style of malt, using water from Loch Ardnahoe, wooden washbacks and traditional worm –tub condensers.
The distillery will have capacity to produce 500,000 LPA and expects to have approx. 200,000 litres leave the stills in year 1.
There are plans for a visitor centre with a café, tasting room and shop.
The most recent development to emerge from Ardnahoe is that Jim McEwan, former master distiller for Bruichladdich, has come out of retirement to take up the position of production director, responsible for shaping the style and character of distillery’s product.
Since being mothballed in 2009 Bladnoch Distillery has been purchased and the site completely renovated by Australian yoghurt entrepreneur David Prior, starting in 2015.
The refurbished site will make use of Douglas fir wooden washbacks and a steam boiler fuelled with LPG.
The site is aiming to produce its first malt spirit by May 2017 to coincide with the distillery’s 200th Anniversary.
Recently 3 new expressions were announce by Prior to be created from aged stocks:
Samsara – NAS
Adela – 15 Year Old
Talia – 25 Year Old
With spirit production hoped to commence in July 2017, the Borders Distillery by The Three Stills Company will make use of an old factory in Hawick Town Centre. It will be the first distillery located in the Borders to be constructed in 180 years and will cost £10m to build.
Three Stills and the distillery are led by four ex-William Grant & Sons heads: George Tait, Tony Roberts, John Fordyce and CEO Tim Carton.
Next year will see the release of a gin and the total production capacity is estimated at 1.8m LPA.
Borders is expected to produce a Scotch comprising light, floral notes in a typical Lowland style.
Information about this distillery, its owners and parent company is extremely hard to come by so beyond initial reports it’s difficult to know what sort of progress is being made.
The Clydeside Distillery is owned by Morrison Glasgow Distillers (MGD); headed by Tim Morrison, formerly of Morrison Bowmore Distillers and current owner of AD Rattray Scotch Whisky Company.
Costing approx. £10.5m to transform a 19th century pump house, Clydeside is hoping to commence production around Autumn, 2017.
The distillery intends to be a visitor experience with tours, tastings, a café and restaurant.
The whisky was expected to be of a characteristic light, fruity Lowland style but MGD have hinted that it could take a direction more akin to a traditional Speyside dram.
Owned by brothers, Simon and Phil Thompson, following on from their successful whisky bar in Dornoch Castle Hotel, Dornoch Distillery will sit in a transformed 135-year-old fire station in Dornoch.
Despite being crowdfunded and receiving a glut of pledges the brothers have put their own house on the market to pursue their dream.
They are currently running mash tests and fermentations in Sutherland and the first run of malt spirit is expected early in 2017. Their plan is to also produce gin to finance the whisky distilling in the initial years, in addition to bottlings of casks sourced from other distilleries.
They will make use of traditional floor maltings, heritage barley, oak washbacks, brewers’ yeast and direct-fired distillation.
Their intention is also that all of their whisky will be non-chill-filtered and have plans to create traditional organic malts using ex-Bourbon, Sherry and rye casks.
Drimnin Distillery (Name TBC)
A small new distillery is soon to be built in farm steadings next to Drimnin house, part of the Drimnin Estate on the Morvern Peninsula, Argyll.
The distillery aim to ‘explore the limits of what whisky from Scotland can be’, and intends to utilise renewable energy created utilising wood chips from the estate forests and hydro-electric power from Mungosdail River.
The plans for the site also include a visitor centre offering tastings and tours and a café/restaurant providing lunch in a converted greenhouse with views of Tobermory and Mull.
Owned by Jean Donnay, owner and designer of Glann ar Mor distillery in Brittany, Gartbreck is to be located on a farm to the West of the town of Bowmore, on the shore of Loch Indaal looking over to Bruichladdich on the opposite shore.
Their intention is to produce a typical peated Islay whisky, with an intended PPM of 30/35 (as a point of reference, this is the same PPM as Caol Ila).
It will be primarily matured in ex-Bourbon barrels, though there are plans to also use Sherry casks at some point.
The process will be traditional in nature, making use of a slow, directly heated distillation, Oregon pine washbacks and worm tubs condensers. Water will be sourced for the distillery from Grunnd Loch, approximately 900 metres away.
The output is expected to be around 60,000 LPA.
As of Spring 2016 construction has been delayed due to problems arising from a missing plot of land.
Constructed in 2016 and located in Dingwall. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign the distillery is 100% community owned by the Glenwyvis Distillery Community Benefit Society.
Water from both the Skiach river and Tulloch spring will make the whisky and the distillery will be completely powered by green energy.
Production of their first spirit was due to commence in time for Burns’ Night, January 2017, but I couldn’t find confirmation of this.
Gin is being produced at present and a distillery manager is currently being sought.
Holyrood Park Distillery
This distillery is to be situated in Edinburgh and due to be constructed by early 2018 will be the first single malt whisky distiller in Edinburgh since Glen Sciennes Distillery closed in the 1920s.
Owned by Canadians Rob & Kelly Carpenter and Scots David & Susan Robertson, Holyrood Park Distillery plan to renovate and make use of a 180-year old former engine shed building on St Leonard’s Lane.
Once open there are plans for a visitor centre with educational and practical activities but details for their upcoming spirits are currently scarce.
Isle of Raasay Distillery
Upon completion, tentatively forecast for Summer 2017, the Isle of Raasay Distillery will be the first legal distillery on the Hebridean island of Raasay. This is the first of 2 new projects for R&B Distillers, with the second being an, at this stage hypothetical, distillery in the Borders.
A pre-emptive release was recently emerged titled ‘Raasay While We Wait’ which was reviewed as being fruity and lightly peated.
The future fully-matured expressions are expected to be in this same style.
On-site there is to be a visitor centre along with overnight accommodation for members of the distillery’s ‘Na Tusairean’ whisky club.
Lindores Abbey Distillery
First recorded mention of Scotch whisky is in the Exchequer Rolls of 1494, when a request is made of Friar John Cor to make aqua vitae for King James IV.
Cor supposedly lived at the, now derelict, Lindores Abbey in Fife.
Lindores Abbey Distillery is to be set up across the road from this historical site, often referred to as the “spiritual home of Scotch whisky”.
The barley that will be used is to be grown and sourced from the surrounding 60 acres of agricultural land and some is to be dried with peat.
The site will be complete with its own on-site warehouse where the distillers intend to experiment with the speed of maturation.
Reports suggest that the distillery will be completed around September, 2017 followed by the release of an un-aged new make spirit ‘aqua vitae’ before the beginning of 2018.
Torabhaig Distillery is the second to be built on the Isle of Skye, following Talisker. Owned by Mossburn Distillers Ltd., Torabhaig is located on the South-East coast of the island in a 19th century farm steading at Torabhaig.
The distillery cost more than £5m and took more than 3 years to construct.
They are expecting to produce their first spirit before the end of 2017.
Information for this distillery is fairly hard to find and at this point they don’t actually seem to have a functioning website. It may only just be March but my scepticism is beginning to grow that they will produce spirit before the end of the year.
Toulvaddie is set to be the first whisky distillery founded solely by a woman.
Cardhu Distillery was opened by Helen Cumming in 1824 but the licence was held by her husband, John.
Founder, Heather Nelson, intends to make “a light easy-drinking whisky” in line with her own tastes and plans to fund and operate the distillery by herself with only the assistance of a brewer.
Toulvaddie will be a micro-distillery situated at the Fearn Aerodrome near Tain; the first legal distillery on the Fearn and Tarbart peninsula.
The distillery is hoping to be operational by May 2017, producing an initial quantity of 30,000 LPA.
Peated and unpeated expressions are both eventually set to be available.
Currently there are still a limited number of year one 70-litre casks available to purchase for £2,000, along with incentives available to anyone wishing to join the Distillery Founders’ Club.