North meets south for Arran blend

Andy Bell (left) and James MacTaggart with the first cask of the blended spirit

ISLE of Arran Distillers is creating a new blended malt by mixing spirit from both its Lagg and Lochranza distilleries.

Dubbed Project North & South, the blended malt will contain spirit from Isle of Arran Distillers’ original Lochranza distillery in the north of the island and the recently-built Lagg distillery in the south.

When the two distilleries resumed production on May 11 following a period of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first run of spirit from both facilities was vatted together, combining both heavily peated and unpeated spirit, and filled into bourbon barrels, sherry hogsheads and sherry butts at the Lochranza distillery. The casks will now “slumber on the island until the time is right” for bottling as a blended malt.

James MacTaggart, operations and production director at Isle of Arran Distillers, said the team wanted to create “something very special with which to remember this period in history”.

“This is a first for Isle of Arran,” he said.

“We are aware of blended malts where the whisky from one distillery is married with that of another, or blended whiskies created by mixing grain with malt whisky, however this is the first time that we know of malt whisky from two sister distilleries being blended at the spirit stage.

“As the owners of two wonderful distilleries on the Isle of Arran, we felt it was right to join the two sides of our island together and produce a whisky that would always be a marker for this unique period in time.”

Isle of Arran sales manager Andy Bell said: “The experimentation at the heart of this process speaks to the truly independent nature of our company.”