DEMAND for the first ever spirit to be released by the Ardnamurchan Distillery has outstripped its initial production run by three to one.

Adelphi, the independent Scotch whisky bottler which opened the West Highlands distillery in 2014, had limited production of its maiden spirit to 2,500 bottles. However the company said it has received orders for 7,500 bottles – in spite of the Ardnamurchan Spirit 2016 AD being too young to be legally called Scotch whisky. A spirit must be distilled in Scotland and aged for at least three years before it can be legally sold as Scotch.

Alex Bruce, who heads Adelphi and Ardnamurchan, trailed the launch last month. He told The Herald that the owners’ faith in the quality of liquid being produced had given it the confidence to introduce a spirit before its first Scotch whisky comes out, which is likely to be around 2021.

Mr Bruce said yesterday: “While it’s not unusual for there to be a healthy amount of interest in our whisky, the demand for our new Ardnamurchan Spirit was exceptionally high. We’ve produced 2,500 bottles but we could have easily sold three times that amount.”

Mr Bruce said the 2016 AD has been vatted from selected casks which have been maturing in Ardnamurchan since production began two years ago. It arrives on the cusp of a milestone year for Adelphi, which began its current incarnation as a bottler of rare malts in 1992.

Mr Bruce noted: “Approaching our 25th year of bottling the finest that Scotland can offer, we are delighted to be playing our part in this golden era for the industry. To be able to establish, and be part of, a brand-new distillery is something our dedicated team are extremely proud of.

“Founded on absolute transparency and traceability, our careful production and maturation techniques have allowed us to capture and bottle this unique flavour profile well ahead of our original plan.”

The distillery, located in Glenbeg on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, is powered by locally-sourced renewable energy. Much of the barley used in the production process is grown on Broomhall farm next to the Adelphi bottling facility in Fife.

The launch of the AD 2016 spirit comes shortly after Mr Bruce helped select the malt for the latest product for Fusion Whisky, the new Scotch business led by industry veteran David Moore alongside directors Jim Millar and Graham Langley. The Kincardine is a blend of Scotch and Indian single malt whisky.