The Arran distillery on the Isle of Arran is celebrating its 25th birthday this month. I will be featuring whisky from this distillery in my open tasting A taste of the old and the new in August.
Back in the early 1800s, there were many small stills to be found across the island. Not all of them were legal of course! However, after the last still closed, the island was left without a distillery for many years.
In 1994, a new distillery was built, at Lochranza. a small village at the north end of the island. There is an interesting story about the construction works. Building had to be halted when a pair of golden eagles decided to nest in the hills above the distillery. Eagles are a protected species in Scotland and therefore they could not be disturbed.
On the 29th June 1995, the first spirit flowed at the distillery. After three years maturation, the first cask of Arran Single Malt was opened, which marked the first legal dram on Arran for over 160 years.
In 2003, the distillery laid aside a special sherry hogshead cask for the drinks chain, Oddbins. Bottled in 2017, this 14 year old produced only 286 bottles from the cask. I am pleased to say I have one of those bottles and will be sharing a dram with my guests at the tasting in August.
The Arran Distillery was named Scottish Distillery of the Year in 2007 and three years later their official 14 year old was released. An 18 year old was released in 2016, which saw the distillery enter the arena of aged whisky.
The Isle of Arran has been called ‘little Scotland’ because there is a bit of everything on the island. Dramatic mountains, a dynamic coastline, cultural events and festivals and a wealth of local produce make the island a fantastic place to holiday.
And of course, there is the award-winning visitor centre at the distillery.
Why not join me in August for A taste of the old and the new.