Ardnamurchan Distillery



History: Adelphi, the company that built and own the Ardnamurchan Distillery, has a long history with Scotch whisky. In 1926, a distillery with the name Loch Katrine Adelphi was built by brothers Charles and David Gray and sited just south of the Victoria Bridge, at the edge of the Gorbals area of Glasgow. In 1880 a gentleman named Archibald Walker purchased the distillery, and although the distillery was demolished in 1960, Walker’s great-grandson, Jamie, started Adelphi as an independent bottler in 1993 until its current owners bought over the business in 2004. In 2014 the first spirit came through the pot stills at Ardnamurchan Distillery, which they claim is the “greenest” distillery in Scotland.

The whisky: The Ardnamurchan Distillery produces two signature styles of spirit, one peated and one unpeated. The spirit is matured in their warehouses in American and European oak, ex-sherry casks and American oak ex-bourbon casks until it’s deemed to be ready. As an independent bottler, the owners, Adelphi, release several outstanding whiskies from different distilleries.

Favourite dram: The Ardnamurchan Distillery itself has not actually released a whisky yet but what they have done is release a brand called Ardnamurchan Spirit 2016 AD, which has been aged but not to the three-year minimum that Scotch whisky must adhere to. Released as a limited edition to great acclaim, Ardnamurchan Spirit 2016 AD is a combination of peated and unpeated spirit, which spent the final three months in Pedro Ximénez-sherry butts. Some whisky purists turn their noses up at the thought of such a young product, but the key to any good whisky is the quality of the casks and after tasting this spirit I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and flavoursome it was, considering it has only been aged for a short while.

Why visit? I have to admit that this is not the easiest distillery to get to but if you are in the area then it is a must-visit on your travels. The team here are extremely passionate about their distillery and that really comes through on the tours. You can choose from the standard tour for £7, which lasts around 45 minutes and includes a dram at the end, to the manager’s tour, which is £40 and lasts around 90 minutes. It includes an in-depth tour with the manager and four recommended drams plus a free glass. With this distillery I would highly recommend booking ahead.

Interesting fact: One of the main things that sets Ardnamurchan apart is that from the very start the owners wanted to create a distillery that would be run on green and sustainable principles. All of the power and heat requirements for the Ardnamurchan Distillery come from local renewables. The river provides the distillery’s cooling water, there is a hydro-electricity generator and the biomass boiler is fuelled by woodchip from local forestry.

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