Kingsbarns Distillery and visitor centre
The Kingsbarns Distillery and the visitor centre opened its doors to the public on 1 December. Since then the centre has had visitors from the village and local businesses as well as (inter)national tourists interested in the whisky making process.
The distillery is situated in Kingsbarns in the Scottish Lowlands. It’s owned by the family Wemyss, known for their blended malts and single casks. Thanks to this new distillery they can add an own single malt to their product line.
In a few weeks they’ll start distilling at Kingsbarns, after the last checks on the equipment have been done. That way a new Kingsbarns whisky might be announced in January. This means we can expect the first Kingsbarns single malt around the beginning of 2018.
For those who can’t wait until then, the distillery together with the visitor centre, the shop and the bar are already open. Every day there are guided tours followed by a tasting of Wemyss malts. On the website you can also register for a more extended and specialised tour.
Source: Kingsbarns Distillery newsletter, Evy Vinck
Michael Urquhart, managing director until September.
Michael Urquhart, managing director of Gordon & McPhail, is retiring in September. For the first time in the 120-year history of the family company, someone outside the family will run the distillery. Ewen Mackintosh is now the chief operating officer and he will take over from Michael Urquhart after the transition. Mackintosh has spent his career with Gordon & MacPhail, starting out as a student while he was attending the University of St. Andrews. Since 1991 he has been managing whisky supplies and the development of the Benromach Distillery. “We are moving from what I describe as a sibling partnership, myself, my two brothers, and my sister down to the next generation. It’s a positive evolution,” said Urquhart. Urquhart will stay involved in the business in an advisory role. He will also continue his work with the Scottish Council for Development & Industry’s Highlands & Islands Committee.
The Tennessee Whiskey Trail takes you across the 11 distilleries in the state and the history of moonshine and spirit. It all started when the government shot down legal distilleries. Moonshiners saw their chance to make some money out of their activities. Unfortunately, they could not follow the demand and distilled their products with paint thinner, kerosene and bleach. This blinded and killed their customers. It went as far as good moonshiners asking the courts to recognize their products and forbid the “rotgut ‘shine”. Luckily today, such issues are no longer the case. But legitimate, unaged spirits can be fun to explore. That is what the Tennessee Whiskey Trail wants to do. It will take you to all kinds of distilleries, some newly opened and others with a long rich-distilling tradition. You have Ole Smoky, George Dickel, Corsair, Green Brier Distillery and of course … Jack Daniel’s.
More information can be found on their website.
The Auchroisk distillery in Banffshire (Speyside) is one of the youngest in Scotland. It was founded in 1974 and their first single malt appeared in 1978. Official bottlings exist since 1986 under the name “The Singleton”, probably because Auchroisk was too much of a tongue twister for the average scot. In 2001 they decided to use their own name Auchroisk. Nowadays Diageo uses the Singleton name for different malts on three international markets: Dufftown in Europe, Glendullan in the US and Glen Ord in Asia. Auchroisk is gaelic for “shallow ford across the red stream” referring to the Mulben Burn which is near to the distillery.
The distillery is the fourth one to be built by Justerini & Brooks. At the time they also owned Glen Spey, Knockando and Strathmill. They bought the property when they discovered Dorie’s Well. The architecture is quite remarkable for a distillery because it has futuristic aspects. The steam machine in their offices used to be part of the Strathmill distillery.
Originally Auchroisk whisky was used for blends only. Even though their single malt has a lot of success, over 90% of production is being used in J&B blends. The brand lost its fame when they lost the Singleton name to Diageo.
Good to know: apparently the motto of the official distillery bottlings is “drink quickly” because once the bottle is opened; the cork dries out and breaks easily. This is off course not the case for independent bottlings.
Fred Laing and his daughter Cara
Fred and Stewart Laing have been leading the whisky company Douglas Laing & Co. for 40 years and have now decided to go their own way. Fred will remain in charge of Douglas Laing but Stewart will be starting a new project: Hunter Laing & Co. The separation isn’t due to fights or disagreements but simply to provide a more secure future for the next generations in their whisky family.
This means that Stewart will take over some brands to his new business like the Old Malt Cask, the Old & Rare Selection, House of Peers and Sovereign Single Grain. The bottling company of the family in East Kilbride will also be part of Hunter Laing. He chose Glasgow as a home base. He will concentrate on reinforcing the position of the brands in his possession, as well as developing some new products.
Douglas Lang will still produce their Single Cask Provenance and brands like Director’s Cut, Double Barrel, Premier Barrel, McGibbon’s and Big Peat under the leadership of Fred.
These aren’t the only developments in the family Laing. Fred’s daughter Cara will join her father at Laing & Co as chief of marketing after working at Morrison Bowmore Distillers for years. Stewart’s sons Andrew and Scott are also prepared to help their father. They gained experience in the whisky industry at Edition Spirits Ltd., an independent bottler.
According to the brothers, Scottish whisky is more popular than ever and now is the time to diversify the product and create new ones for the next generation.
More news from our friends at Amrut! The distillery broke a new record. They matured two Bourbon casks for eight years in their distillery and warehouse in Bangalore. This is the longest an Amrut whisky has aged. The special bottling received the name “Greedy Angels” because of the 274 liters of alcohol they lost during those eight years. 144 years will be made available worldwide. Prices are estimated at 200 euro.
More information can be found here.
The famous Talisker Distillery opens a brand new visitor center after a one million pound restoration. The center was opened right in time for the Easter holidays and the start of the new tourist season. Since Talisker is the only distillery on the island Skye, it is an important tourist attraction with over 60,000 visitors last year. This new center offers the opportunity to tell the story and show the heritage of Talisker whisky. Not only the tourism sector benefits from this investment, the local economy is also blooming. According to the director Mark Lochhead who opened the center, the investment has been a success so far: “Talisker is going from strength to strength as a brand and the distillery is growing in popularity with people coming from all over the world to visit the home of our iconic single malt.” Next to a visitor center, the distillery also offers a nice view on the warehouses and new tasting rooms.
The agency Historic Scotland, who safeguards the nation’s historic environment on behalf of the Scottish government, is thinking about producing its own whisky. This is part of a grander plan to transform one of the Speyside distilleries into a major tourist attraction.
The Dallas Dhu distillery in Moray has been closed as a working distillery since 1983 but the agency owned and managed the site as a visitor attraction for 15 years. Recently Historic Scotland held a feasibility study to explore the possibility of restarting whisky production and thus expanding the distillery into a national visitor centre for Scotland’s national drink. Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop states that while bringing the distillery back into production, they will guarantee the historic value of the site. While other distilleries are investing in new distilling techniques, Dallas Dhu will show visitors a traditional distilling process in order to offer a unique view in this world famous product.
The Dallas Dhu distillery was owned by Alexander Edward in 1899 and sold before it had gone into production to Wright and Greig Ltd. in Glasgow. They changed the original name Dallasmore in Dallas Dhu. After the First World War the distillery was sold to Benmore Distillery and they continued production until 1983. They closed Dallas Dhu because of a water shortage. Historic Scotland has maintained the distillery ever since.