Ardnahoe Distillery

Port Askaig

Isle of Islay

History – The Laing family have had a passion for Scotch for over seven decades when Stewart Laing started blending his own whiskies. His Son, Stewart joined the business in the 60’s and helped grow the business, introducing brands such as House of Peers blends range which saw great success in South American and Asian markets.In more recent times Stewarts sons, Andrew and Scott, joined the business and in 2013 they formed Glasgow-based Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd as a blender and bottler of Scotch whisky. The family were not just content on bottling other distilleries whiskies, they had a dream to build their own distillery in whisky mecca that is Islay. The family knew the Island well having worked with many if not all of its eight distilleries. Back In 2015 they found the perfect location by Loch Ardnahoe on the Northeast of the island, with access to the deep loch waters. With planning permission secured in 2016 they set about creating Islay’s ninth distiller. At the end of last year they ran their first spirit through their stills and only last week saw Ardnahoe Distillery open to the public with the families dream finally a reality.

The Spirit – As you know it can take a long time for single malt whisky to be ready. What we do know is that they want to create a single malt here that is a ‘a new take on a classical Islay whisky’. They will be creating peated and un-peated whisky but are in no rush to get this into bottles with the message being it will be ready when its ready. In the mean time it would be well worth having a look at the range of independent bottlings and whiskies that Hunter Laing & Co have released. The most recent is the “Islay Journey”, a Blended Scotch that has been created using finest distill-eries on the Isle of Islay to celebrate the families long relationship and commitment to Islay and its incredible distilleries.

Geek Alert – Amongst the whisky geeks Jim McEwan is a cult hero having been the former Bruichladdich master distiller. Jim came out of retirement and became the Production Director at the new Ardnahoe Distillery ensuring the final spirit would be the best it could possibly be and with this legend overseeing production i have no reservations in saying it will be outstanding.

Why Visit? – It is the first distillery built on Islay since 2005 and has created around 25 jobs on the Island. This is not some small distillery that only produces 1 litre of spirit a day in a an old shed. It cost a reported £14 million to build this distillery and visitors centre which is modern in aesthetic yet traditional in its methods. Islay is an incredible place and not only because of its distilleries but Ardnahoe Distillery has given us another compelling reason to visit.

Interesting fact – If you are really into your whisky then keep your eyes peeled for the Ardnahoe Fèis Ìle Programme. This will offer a range of amazing experiences at the distillery from food pair-ing with whisky to a private tour from the distillery manager.