Absolute Escapes January 23 2020

Scotland’s national drink is world-famous and with over 120 whisky distilleries in Scotland producing drams that are all individual, it would be fair to ask yourself ‘does Scotland need any more whisky distilleries!?’… well, yes, yes we do!

­Over the last few years, there has been a whisky boom in Scotland, with new distilleries being founded and old names being revived. From Speyside to Islay & The West Coast, new whisky distilleries are regularly opening across Scotland. With nuanced differences stemming from the barley to the bottle, there is a near-infinite number of possible whiskies to be made. So if you haven’t quite found your favourite, it might not exist yet!

Along with unique whisky distillation, distilleries are also developing other aspects of their brand. From crafting their founding story to designing their own tweeds, offering top class food and drink within the comfort of the distillery and their close connection and contribution to the local community.

With 15 years’ experience of arranging self-guided tours on Scotland’s whisky trails, Absolute Escapes know a thing or two about the ‘water of life’. Discover some of our favourite new distilleries that have opened their doors and begun their whisky legacies …


Ardnahoe Distillery, Islay

One of the newest distilleries on the famous whisky-producing island of Islay, Ardnahoe Distillery (Gaelic for ‘Height of the Hollow’) is sat on the east coast overlooking Jura. The distillery is wonderfully designed – if viewed from the correct angle, the stills actually sit between the Paps of Jura in the background.

Founded and run by the Laing family who has a long history in the whisky industry, they aim to produce a classic Islay smoky malt which is wonderfully dynamic using ex-bourbon barrels and ex-oloroso sherry hogsheads.


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Holyrood Distillery, Edinburgh

Ideally located at the bottom of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile and set in a historic 180-year-old building, Holyrood Distillery is the first malt whisky distillery in the Capital for nearly 100 years. It was once commonplace to have whisky distilleries in the centre of towns and cities, so it’s excellent to have whisky production back in our city.

While their whisky isn’t yet for sale (all whisky has to mature for at least 3 years before it can legally be called whisky) the distillery offers tours which focus on the creation of flavours from the main tasting profiles of smoke, spicy, fruity and sweet.


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Lagg Distillery, Isle of Arran

This new addition to the Isle of Arran is actually the second distillery from the Isle of Arran Distillers, with their other distillery based in the north of the island in Lochranza.

This new distillery aims to put peat at the heart of their whiskies and increase our appreciation of this bold element. This natural product is used by a number of distilleries to give their whisky an earthy dimension.

As varieties of peats have differing aromatic herbs, the Lagg distillers aim to experiment with the effects these have on the whisky.


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Borders Distillery, Hawick

The Borders Distillery in Hawick is the first Scotch Whisky distillery to open in the Borders since 1837. The town of Hawick has a proud textile history and is still a central component of the Scottish tweed industry, and the distillery has also created their own tweed to connect to their heritage.

The blended Scotch whisky market is huge, with the vast majority of malt whiskies being used to create blends. The Borders Distillery is using their spirit to help produce a number of blended whiskies.

Why not include an additional day in Hawick while walking the Borders Abbeys Way and tour the Borders Distillery?


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Ncn’ean Distillery, Drimnin by Lochaline

Based on the Morven Peninsula and a short ferry from the Isle of Mull is a distillery which is breaking rules, pushing boundaries and asking questions of the tried and tested distilling methods.

The Ncn’ean Distillery was founded to experiment with whisky and use organic produce in the process with the motto “made by nature, not by rules”.

The Ncn’ean Distillery is certainly an exciting addition to Scotland’s distilling legacy.


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Clydeside Distillery, Glasgow

The Clydeside Distillery tells the story of Glasgow’s maritime connection with whisky exporting, along with a family story spanning generations.

The distillery is based on the site of one of Glasgow’s famous docks, Queen’s Dock, and was built by an ancestor of the founder of the Clydeside Distillery. Their own whisky is still in the ageing process but I’m sure it will be worth the wait. The Clydeside Distillery is a must-visit while in Glasgow.


Lindores Abbey Distillery, Fife

After taking a break of over 500 years, the whisky stills at Lindores Abbey are at work again! The abbey was once home to Benedictine monks, who – along with their spiritual connection – were very practical and even tried distilling. In fact, the earliest written reference to Scotch Whisky (or ‘Aqua Vitae’, as it was then known) originates from Lindores Abbey.

While their malt whisky matures you can have a taste of the new make spirit, which – under very particular methods – makes for a spirit that is robust, complex and interesting.


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Sample Scotland’s Whisky Trails with Absolute Escapes

Established in Edinburgh in 2004, Absolute Escapes are award-winning specialists in self-drive holidays in Scotland. We know where to find the best experiences – send us an enquiry now and start planning your unforgettable trip.

A whisky distillery is greater than the sum of its parts, from humble beginnings a world-renowned drink is made and more distilleries are always welcomed.

Many distilleries are embracing new ways to attract visitors and tell their individual stories, so even if you’ve visited a distillery before I strongly suggest you keep exploring our national drink.

Sàinte Mhath!

Jason Martin
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