Hunter Laing & Company on cloud nine

Ardnahoe Distillery
Image credit Konrad Borkowski

THE doors to Islay’s newest whisky distillery swung open this morning (April 12).

Ardnahoe Distillery has become the ninth working distillery on the island and was created with a £12 million investment from family-owned blending and bottling firm, Hunter Laing & Company. It is the first distillery to be built on the island since Kilchoman in 2005.

Aiming to draw in 20,000 visitors each year, the distillery – which sits on the island’s north east coast between the Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain distilleries – was officially opened by Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, with key members of the island community and wider whisky industry in attendance. Ardnahoe will produce a peated spirit that will be matured in a combination of ex-bourbon barrels and ex-sherry casks.

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Production at the distillery is overseen by industry veteran, Jim McEwan, and incorporates traditional distilling practices, such as the use of wooden washbacks and Scottish-made lamp glass stills, with automation said to be kept to a minimum.

Stewart Laing, managing director of Hunter Laing & Company, said: “Since working as a teenager at Bruichladdich Distillery over 50 years ago, I have had a huge affinity with Islay and its malt whiskies. When we decided to build our own distillery, there was only one possible location.

“We have built a great team to manage the distillery and run the visitor centre and in a few years’ time we will be able to drink a great whisky in the classic Islay style, staying true to the island’s heritage with a heavily peated malt.”