Ardnahoe Distillery opened its doors last week in Port Askaig, Isle of Islay. Owned by renowned, family run independent bottling company, Hunter Laing, who invested $22 million (AUD) into the construction, it is now the first distillery added to the peated whisky capital in over 15 years. The distillery itself boasts astounding views over the Port towards Jura making the structure sure to impress those that visit.
But alas, if you are looking to sample their wares you are in for a wait. The production of whisky has only just started and as we know, must be matured for at least 3 years and 1 day before being sold as such. However, the brand new facility does have a café and tasting area where you are welcome to sample other whiskies bottled by Hunter Laing and trust me, they have some pretty special expressions so all is not lost.
Now if you are looking for a carbon copy of your favourites such as Lagavulin, Ardbeg or Bruichladdich you are in for a surprise. Although the distilleries Master Distiller is Jim McEwan (who made his name on Islay reviving Bruichladdich) and needs absolutely no introduction, the distillery is doing things slightly differently from the others.
First of all they are using worm tubs and are the only distillery on the island to do so! What is a worm tub you ask? Well worm tub condensers are huge wooden condenser that are hard to install, harder to maintain but results in a heavier final product and added desirable sulphuric notes. The Ardnahoe’s still also has wooden washbacks, and the longest lyne arms in Scotland. What does all this mean? Essentially, the whisky produced should be more than capable in holding its own against the Islands other ‘big players’.
I can’t wait to make up my own mind. Remind me in 3 years can you?
- R. Tucknott – Travelling Whisky Reviews