Ardnamurchan
Distillery
Founded in 2013
The location of this distillery has a complex and confusing history. The current iteration of Ardnamurchan Distillery is located on the western coast of Scotland, facing the Atlantic -- west of Fort William and north of Oban.

The story of Ardnamurchan Distillery jumps around a bit, so stay with us on this. First, the Ardnamurchan of today is not the Ardnamurchan of the past. This confuses a lot of other folks who write about it.

You see, the first iteration of Ardnamurchan Distillery was founded back in 1826, by Charles and David Gray, on the shores of the River Clyde in Glasgow -- a Lowlander. That distillery went through its ups and downs before eventually being demolished in 1968. The Glasgow Central Mosque now stands on the site.

Fast-forward to 1993, when some descendants of the orignators decide to become independent bottlers under the Adelphi name. They got the idea to build a "new" Ardnamurchan Distillery in 2007, but this time in the far western Highlands.

Their first home-grown single malt spirits dripped off the cooling coils in 2014. Very litttle is known about the production quality, techniques, and capacity of Ardnamurchan Distillery just yet. But as they establish themselves, we are certain we will begin to learn quite a bit more.

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Distillery Details

  • Country
    United Kingdom, Scotland
  • Region
    Highlands
  • Established
    2013
  • Owner
    Adelphi Distillery
  • Type
    Single malt
  • Number of stills
    1 wash, 1 spirit
  • Visitor center
    Yes
  • Status
    Active
  • Address
    Ardnamurchan Distillery, Glenbeg, Highland PH36 4JG, United Kingdom
  • Phone
    +44 1972 500285
  • Website
Dog Dogson
Dog Dogson's
Smartass
Corner
The original Ardnamurchan Distillery experienced "The Great Gorbals Disaster" in 1906, when a huge washback collapsed, spilling a wave of raw alcohol into the town. It did not go well.
About
Highlands
There's a dram for everyone in the Highlands!

Highlands are the largest of the Scottish Whisky regions. Geographically the Highland Whisky region is defined as everything north of an imaginary line between Dundee and Greenock.

Single malt Whisky from the Highlands offer a lot of flavour diversity. You'll find everything from smoky drams to light and elegant floral & fruity Whiskies coming from the Highland distilleries.
Highlands
Video from Ardnamurchan
Video transcription
Speaker 1: Two thousand and four, and at that point it was going to be very simple selling casks of very high quality Whisky to an established market place that was going to be established quite rapidly. The Whisky market was getting tighter and tighter, and our ability to get good quality Whisky and turn in an incredibly good market share, but we needed volume and therefore the ownership of the distillery was paramount in the next stage of our development.

Charles: The building of a distillery would take Adelphia back to its roots. The next step was to undertake a feasibility study, and look at potential locations.

Speaker 1: This was not something that we were able to rush. This took a great deal of time in terms of planning, checking our numbers, checking that we got everything right, and then finding the right site for the distillery was also something which was very complicated.

Charles: The Ardnamurchan distillery is located at Glenbeg, on the southern edge of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. Ardnamurchan is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and is among the most remote and unspoiled parts of the U.K. mainland.

Speaker 2: We have two reasons for choosing Ardnamurchan. One is, of course, it's... one of it is under the ownership of the same people as Adelphi, but secondly, it is due to its remoteness, it is already fairly sustainable in the way it looks at heating and its water provision. The fact that we can find the best quality water, and ironically even though it is Ardnamurchan and it's always wet, having enough water, we had to look for a river that had holding locks above it, so that the quantity was consistent year round. When we were putting the brief together, it was very important for us that we could fit in with our surroundings in the West Coast.

It had to fit in to the local architecture, and while we can use modern building materials, steel frame, etc., etc., it had to look like it was meant to be there, and all this in quite a compact space which was also very important for our neighbors. The wood chip facility that is already existing in Ardnamurchan has allowed us to design the first 100% woodchip powered biomass boiler for Scotch Whisky distilling. The engineering behind that is incredibly complex, but it is something which we are absolutely 100% behind.

This distillery concept will allow us to take the full circle of Scottish product. So, we will be growing all our own barley in Scotland. Certainly for the first few years, we would like to concentrate that to the farm where we do all our bottling currently, in West Fife. That barley will then travel up to Ardnamurchan to be malted in our own maltings.

The whole process allows us to produce the Whisky on site, but also to use the drough from the mash tank to feed the beasts of Ardnamurchan: the deer, the cows, even the sheep. And we can use the pot ale to fertilize the fields where necessary. So, this full cycle is incredibly important to the brand, and something that we would like to promote, and hopefully encourage other distilleries to do.

Charles: The construction of the distillery took place between February 2013, and June 2014. The build involved engineers, technicians, and skilled workers from across the U.K. and beyond.

Speaker 2: The remoteness of Ardnamurchan presented us with unique challenges, both for the equipment delivery, and for the contractors involved in the build. Access to the Peninsula involves a short ferry crossing, and negotiating single track roads. These roads must be some of the most torturous and narrow, and yet spectacular roads anywhere in Scotland.

We discovered that the narrowest point of the single track road which leads up to the distillery was just 3.3 meters wide. And as funny as it may seem now, our distillery is designed to that maximum width, so the largest piece of equipment in the distillery which is the two ton mash is no wider than 3.3 meters. We had some narrow bridges following the convoy that brought the steels in, and watching the skill of the lorry driver was quite incredible.

Charles: The construction team survived the weather, the remote location, and the midges, to complete on schedule and allow production to begin in June 2014.

Speaker 3: Fix in the wash that we're looking for.

Charles: The Ardnamurchan Distillery will produce two distinct styles of single malt Whisky: one peated, and one unpeated, matured in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks.

Speaker 4: We are producing both unpeated and peated style of spirit. In both cases, we get lovely fruitiness, a mouth-filling texture, and unique honey-peppery character. We also want the spirit to marry well with a lot of the very carefully selected casks which we get from America and Spain.

Speaker 1: The West Coast of Scotland is one of the best places, if not the best place, in the whole...distillery in 2007 at Glenborrodale Castle. And amazingly, as I was reading through, we have stuck to every single point as best we could, and it wasn't because these were constantly in front of us, it was because we felt very strongly about each of them.

Charles: Adelphi's Ardnamurchan Distillery aims to become one of the foremost producers of quality Scotch Malt Whisky, by blending traditional methods with environmentally responsible techniques.

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