Islay’s ninth distillery opens

15 April, 2019 by Andy Young

The prolific Scotch whisky producing island of Islay has welcomed its ninth distillery, the first new site to be opened on the island since 2005.

The Ardnahoe Distillery is owned by traditional bottlers and blenders Hunter Laing and Co, who started work on the site in 2016. The £12m distillery is located on Islay’s north-east coast between the Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila distilleries.

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The distillery will produce a traditional Islay peated-style of spirit, which will be matured in both ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks. The first runs of distillation began in October 2018 with cask number 001 filled on November 9 that year.

Hunter Laing’s Managing Director, Stewart Laing, said that when the company decided to realise its long-held ambition to make its own whisky, there was only ever going to be one place the distillery was built.

“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.”

That team includes former Bruichladdich Master Distiller, Jim McEwan, who came out of retirement in order to take up the role of Master Distiller with Ardnahoe.

As well as the state-of-the-art distillery the new site includes a visitor centre, whisky bar and restaurant as Hunter Laing looks to make the most of Islay’s tourism and the Scotch whisky boom.

Business Development Director, Scott Laing, said: “Ardnahoe is one of a series of new developments that will continue to strengthen Hunter Laing over the coming years.

“We have a strong development team working on new international brands and we are targeting several important new markets that will fuel our continued growth.

“Ardnahoe is the catalyst that makes this possible without sacrificing our family’s commitment to quality.”