WOLFBURN distillery in Thurso has been successfully commissioned and begun producing malt spirit.

This will be the first whisky to mature in the town for more than a century after the closure of the 19th- century distillery of the same name.

Building work began in August and the distillery equipment was installed at the end of last year.

Wolfburn production manager Shane Fraser, who previously worked at Glenfarclas, said: "This is an enormously exciting moment for everyone involved. To watch the distillery go from concept to reality has been a truly superb experience.

"Commissioning went very smoothly indeed – the equipment performed exactly as expected – and the first spirit, with a wonderful malty flavour, is already flowing from the stills."

The new Wolfburn distillery is sited 350 metres from the original. The first bottling of the next generation of Wolfburn single malt is expected in 2016, when it legally becomes whisky.

Wolfburn, which now claims the title of the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland, has the capacity to produce 115,000 litres of pure alcohol a year.

New distilleries are expected to open at Annandale in southern Scotland and on the Ardnamurchan peninsula later this year.