A new distillery is set to open this summer in a rural area of Scotland once famous for illicit whisky production.

Marking a milestone this month with the arrival of its new stills, The Cabrach Distillery will herald the return of ‘real Cabrach whisky’ to the area after more than 170 years and is the cornerstone of The Cabrach Trust’s transformational regeneration master plan.

As a purpose-driven and community-owned distillery, the project aspires to meet the ‘highest social and environmental standards’, creating 12 full-time jobs and 50 volunteering opportunities in the process.

The Herald: Pictured: The Cabrach Distillery Entrance Pictured: The Cabrach Distillery Entrance (Image: Collective Architecture)

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Jonathan Christie, chief executive officer of The Cabrach Trust, said: “The Cabrach is renowned for its role in the birth of malt whisky and the completion of The Cabrach Distillery will contribute to a tale of renewal like no other.

“Whisky distilleries are so often the lungs of rural communities, and our new distillery will anchor our regeneration vision, creating much-needed permanent, skilled employment whilst attracting thousands of visitors to this special place, who will be able to discover the area’s rich history, heritage, and natural beauty.”

The Herald: Pictured: The Cabrach Distillery Courtyard Pictured: The Cabrach Distillery Courtyard (Image: Collective Architecture)

The Cabrach Distillery takes pride of place at the centre of Inverharroch Farm, within restored 19th century stone steadings which will also house a café and heritage centre.

World-renowned coppersmiths Forsyths, based in nearby Rothes, has built its copper stills, which have now been transported to The Cabrach, and undertaken all major aspects of the construction.

In a first for the whisky industry, the Trust has agreed to a unique partnership with Forsyths which included a generous philanthropic contribution.

In recognition of its support, the Trust will count Forsyths as a founding partner alongside the Ethos Foundation and Bently Foundation which have both generously supported the project, alongside further funding from Highlands & Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Government.

Forsyths chairman, Richard Forsyth OBE, said: “We are honoured to use our decades of expertise in helping to build some of the finest distilleries in the world to support The Cabrach Trust in realising its innovative vision for The Cabrach Distillery.

“The unique location, famed for the vital part it played in Scotland’s malt whisky story, and the distillery’s unique status as a Community Interest Company, which will directly benefit the local Moray community we share, were the main draws for us to become involved and support the project as much as possible.”

The Herald: Pictured: The Cabrach Distillery is preparing to open this summerPictured: The Cabrach Distillery is preparing to open this summer (Image: Collective Architecture)

Ahead of the opening, the distillery has introduced The Cabrach Collective, a small community of 'founding champions' who will join the journey to ‘revive the long-lost craft of whisky making’ in the area.

The Collective will be limited to no more than 1,849 members, in tribute to the old steadings, home of The Cabrach Distillery, which has stood at Inverharroch since 1849.

The distillery has also unveiled its inaugural whisky proposition, The Feering, named after a ‘feering’, the first furrow ploughed which acts as a guide for all the rest.

Marking the first release in a trio of rare expressions, curated by master of malt, Alan Winchester, The Feering Early Harvest edition is a blended malt which marries together single casks donated by four local Speyside distilleries surrounding The Cabrach.

Alan Winchester, master of malt at The Cabrach Distillery, said: “Ahead of the opening of the distillery we are proud to launch The Cabrach Collective, an opportunity for whisky enthusiasts to join us on this remarkable journey and play a vital part in restoring a proud community like few others.

“One of the key member benefits is The Feering, which has been created for the sole purpose of beginning the regeneration of this special place in Scotland’s malt whisky story.

“Across our series of three, each expression will offer whisky lovers a different flavour experience and we are excited to share The Feering Early Harvest, a beautifully mellow, yet sprightly dram. A dram that reflects the whisky-making mastery the Cabrach was once famed for in the 1800s, combining a pervading warmth akin to the fabled hospitality of the area.”

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Limited to only 6,000 bottles worldwide, The Feering Early Harvest has an RRSP of £75 GBP and is available for purchase from The Whisky Shop and select local retailers.

The Cabrach Distillery will reach another important milestone of first distillation in August this year.

Thereafter the wild spirit of The Cabrach will be filled into fine casks to begin its patient maturation journey, culminating in the return and release of The Cabrach single malt whisky.

A registered charity formed in 2013, The Cabrach Trust was set up to preserve the cultural heritage of The Cabrach and safeguard its remote community.

Founded by Grant Gordon OBE, it has developed a community-led regeneration plan that will see the development of projects such as the historic distillery and heritage centre.

For further information about The Cabrach Distillery, click here