It seems that every other week a new distillery is planned, granted permission or has been built up and down Scotland. In fact, from 2010 to 2015 the HMRC granted over 150 distilling licenses! Admittedly most of these licenses have been granted to companies planning to produce vodka and gin, however, there at least 40 of these distilleries that plan to produce our beloved single malt scotch. How can you keep with all these developments, how can you keep up to date with the all this new whisky? Fortunately, we are doing that for you – and in alphabetical order!
Holyrood Park Distillery
Another step toward the revival of Edinburgh single malt! Holyrood park will be amongst the first single malt whisky distilleries in Edinburgh for 90 years since closure of Glen Sciennes in 1920s. Holyrood Park is the product of two couples on either side of the Atlantic. Canadians Rob & Kelly Carpenter and Scots David & Sue Robertson. David & Susan have worked in distilling industry for 25 years: Diageo, Edrington Group, Whyte & MacKay and founding Rare Whisky 101. Rob & Kelly are founders of the Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. The distillery will be based in the Engine Shed building with a visitor centre attached costing around £3.6 million. Holyrood Park submitted their plans to the council in April 2016 and received permission in August of the same year. The aim is to produce whisky in 2017, initially producing 53,000 litres a year with plans to increase production to 140,000 bottles in 8 – 12 years time.
There not much information out about Duncan Taylor’s Huntly distillery. All we know is that it is in Huntly, Aberdeen and that Duncan Taylor was faced with the decision of tearing down a building built in 1899 and rebuild or renovate to ensure it is suitable. The discussion about the independent bottler becoming a distiller began in 2008, and was driven by Euan Shand. Unfortunately, a few weeks later after the Duncan Taylor decided to move forward with the plan the global economy crashed and the grand plan had to be postponed. Fast forward 5 years to July, 2013 and plans had been put forward and permission granted. Site preparation began with the widening and paving of the entrance to ensure that the equipment could easily be delivered. That is all we know and considering that completion was aimed for between 12 and 18 months it’s fair to say that it seems to be delayed. However, if Duncan Taylor can produce a single malt on par with their blends then we have a treat in store – no matter when the distillery is finished.
InchDairnie is the brain child of whisky industry veteran Ian Palmer – who has worked for Invergordon, Glen Turner, Glen Moray and Starlaw. Based in the outskirts of Kinglassie, Fife, the distillery will be run by Palmer’s company John Fergus & Co. InchDairnie will also be creating malt to be sold to other companies for blending, such as MacDuff International – their strategic partner. Palmer intends to release InchDairnie’s first malt in 2029 but it has already been said that the whisky won’t be released until it’s perfect which could be 10, 12 or 15 years time.
InchDairnie will use flavor innovations to gives its whisky a unique flavour; seasonal barley, mash conversion techniques, yeast, fermentation, and distillation. The malt used will be rare winter barley and spring barley from Fife and will be fermented with specially blended yeast strains. InchDairnie will also use an unconventional mash filter and hammer mill, high gravity fermentation to produce a more flavoursome spirit, and bespoke stills with double condensers to ensure more copper contact. The whisky will be contrast to the typical Lowland style, which will be ‘full-bodied and complex’ style and ‘slightly sweet edge’. InchDairnie has already received £1.7 million in a government grant.
Isle of Harris Distillery
The Isle of Harris Distillery began with the Tarbert Ten, a group of – you guessed it – ten men and women from the harbour town of East Loch Tarbet who now form the core of the Isle of Harris Distillery! It is the first distillery built on the Isle of Harris and the second built in the Outer Hebrides. The distillery plans to be at the forefront of introduction the world to this new Scotch whisky region! The distillery was funded with a massive £8.3 million from equity and another £3.1 million from grants.
The Isle of Harris Distillery will produce 300,000 bottles of single malt a year. This single malt will be named ‘The Hearach’ – the Gaelic name for the inhabitants of Isle of Harris. The Hearach will use incredibly soft water drawn from the Abhainn Cnoc a’Charrain and will be aged in a mixture of bourbon and sherry casks! The Hearach will be not be chill-filtered and will have no coloured added – a pure statement from the Isle of Harris. The first batch is planned for three or so years times, and will be limited to 1,916.
If you can’t wait or aren’t ready for the competition, well you’re in luck! Juniper, coriander, angelica root, orris root, cubebs, bitter orange peel, cassia bark and sugar kelp. Now, if you haven’t guessed what I’m talking about already… Gin! That’s right, can’t handle the wait then get yourself some Isle of Harris gin! We haven’t got our hands on a bottle yet but I’ll let you in on a not so well kept secret – it’s bloody good!
Kingsbarn Distillery was the vision of Douglas Clement, a former golf caddie and now the owner of his dream. The idea came to Douglas when being constantly asked by golfers where the nearest distillery was. The answer? Fifty miles away. The absence of any distillery nearby gave Douglas the opportunity of a lifetime. The plan came into true fruition when the project was joined by the Weymss (pronounced Weems) family. This isn’t the Weymss family’s first foray into the whisky industry. John Haig built a distillery on Weymss land in 1824 – the Cameronbridge distillery. As well as this the Weymss are also known for their independent bottling of single cask and blended whisky.
Kingsbarn draws the water used in their – soon to be – single malt from an aquifer 100 metres underground. This water fell upon the rock decades ago and filtered through the layer resulting in an immensely pure and soft water. The barley used is Chronicle and is grown in fife. Once fermentation is completed and the product distilled it is then placed in a mixture of ex-bourbon barrels, ex-Port barriques and ex-Sherry butts. A total of twenty-four casks will be filled per week and 140,000 litres will be produced a year. Kingsbarn began this process in 2015 and in 2018 they will release a young Single malt which they expect to elegant, fruity and light. In the meantime you can partake in Kingsbarn’s new-make spirit, with hefty ABV of 63.5%.
< Part 4 Part 6 >