Leith innovators’ bonny addition to the world of Scotch whisky

Jamie Lockhart

Bonnington Distillery releases its first single malt as distiller looks to the future

HALEWOOD Artisanal Spirits has just passed a major milestone with the release of the first whisky from its Bonnington Distillery in Leith, which began production in 2020. 

Here, SLTN talks to Bonnington Distillery manager Jamie Lockhart about the inaugural release as well as the team’s plans for the future. 

What differentiates Bonnington Distillery in terms of its production methods? 

“Experimentation and innovation are very much at the heart of what we do here at Bonnington, yet we have also balanced this from a practical perspective to ensure we’re properly set up to produce the volumes that we’re looking to achieve long term (we are already making 1 million litres of pure alcohol a year). 

“However, there are definitely differentiators that will set us apart. 

“For example, the shape and style of our stills enables us to produce new make spirit that is more Highland in style than traditional Lowland. 

“We have access to both peated and unpeated malt, and have also built up a wide variety of unique casks that will give us the opportunity to experiment with a range of innovative finishes.”  

‘Our stills enable us to produce spirit that is more Highland than Lowland in style.’

• Will this release be representative of future releases from the distillery, in terms of its style and flavour? 

“Obviously, our inaugural release was produced by our team here at the Bonnington Distillery, so it contains a certain distillery character that will naturally be reflected in all Bonnington-produced whiskies.  

“However, it is still a little too early for us to determine a signature style and flavour that will be present in all our future releases. 

“We have just welcomed new master blender, Jill Boyd, to the team. Jill joins us from Compass Box where she has years of experience in producing creative new blends. 

“As we build up a stock profile of age and cask types, Jill will be integral in the development of our flagship Bonnington Single Malt, as well as our limited edition releases. 

“There has been a real resurgence in Scotch whisky production in Edinburgh over the past few years, with the opening of the new Port of Leith and Holyrood Distilleries, so it’s a really exciting time for the local whisky industry. 

“It’s great to be a part of this and we look forward to growing our offering to create something really unique and special for Bonnington.”

• What range of casks are you using to mature the Bonnington spirit? Are you sticking to one or two types or are you using a wide range of different types and sizes? 

“Our inaugural release is a single cask expression, matured in Ruby Port casks, but this will not be the case for all our future releases. 

“We have so many different types of casks available, from Moscat, Calvados, Marsala and Tokaj, our master blender will definitely be experimenting with these for our upcoming releases.”

“There has been a real resurgence in Scotch whisky production in Edinburgh.”