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The eagerly awaited reveal of the first new distillery on Scotland’s iconic ‘Whisky Isle’ since 2005 takes place today. Built with a £12 million investment from third generation Scottish family-owned Hunter Laing and Company, Ardnahoe Distillery is like no other whisky production facility on the island and has been built with both whisky connoisseurs and tourists in mind.
The distillery has plans to welcome 20,000 visitors each year and was officially opened by Rt Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen KT GCMG, with an attendance of key members of the island community and wider whisky industry. The distillery is set to create up to 30 new jobs on the island.
The fulfilment of a long-held dream by the family business, which includes Stewart Laing and his two sons Andrew and Scott, Ardnahoe is situated on the island’s north east coast between Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain distilleries. The site benefits from simply breath-taking views over the Sound of Islay and the Paps of Jura to the east, Mull and Colonsay to the north; an extraordinary and inspirational setting that has already been touted as the finest of any distillery in Scotland.
In keeping with the style of whisky for which Islay has become famed, Ardnahoe is producing a classic peated spirit for maturation in ex-American bourbon barrels and ex-Spanish sherry casks. The distillery combines state-of-the-art building design and technology with traditional distilling practices that include wooden washbacks, Scottish-made lamp glass stills and worm tub condensers. It is the only one if Islay’s nine distilleries to have the latter feature, so drinkers can expect one of the most characterful, complex and enchanting whiskies to come out of the revered island in the future.
Advance interest in the distillery has been astonishing with the 400 pre-order casks made available to private enthusiasts and collectors all sold in record time.
Speaking about the Islay welcome on offer, Andrew Laing, export director, commented: ‘We wanted the visitor experience to be at the heart of Ardnahoe. Our family business values and our distillery team, most of whom are islanders and steeped in the whisky industry, offer a warm Islay welcome to all who want to be part of the Ardnahoe journey. Ardnahoe is a distillery that we all can be proud of.’
Ardnahoe also offers a unique visitor experience, with tour facilities built on one level to accommodate visitors of all abilities, with stunning views throughout. Facilities also include warehousing, a large visitor centre comprising retail facilities, whisky bar and restaurant offering a broad range of locally-sourced, high quality merchandise.