PLANS to reopen an iconic distillery on Islay have been formally submitted to local authorities.

A planning application setting out proposals that will see the Port Ellen Distillery reopened more than 35 years after it was closed have been filed with Argyll and Bute Council, following community engagement and pre-application consultation with key stakeholders.

Subject to planning approval, Port Ellen will be brought back into production in a combination of modern and heritage buildings housing both traditional and innovative approaches to distilling in one complex.

This will be achieved through two pairs of copper pot stills and two separate distillation regimes. The primary distillation regime will use two stills that exactly replicate the original Port Ellen copper pot versions.

A second, smaller pair of stills will produce alternative spirit characters, allowing whisky makers to experiment with new styles.

The stills pay homage to John Ramsay, who initially owned Port Ellen and who helped established it as one of the most innovative distilleries of the 19th century.

The buildings at the Port Ellen distillery have been transformed since it first opened in 1824, with the distillery closing and largely being demolished in the 1930s, before being rebuilt in the 1960s.

Following its most recent closure in 1983, few of the original buildings remain. The original kiln building with pagoda roofs and traditional sea-front warehouses will be restored, with a new stillhouse created for distillation.

Georgie Crawford, the master distiller leading the Port Ellen project, said: “This is another hugely significant milestone on our journey to bring Port Ellen Distillery back to life.

“This is no ordinary distillery project, we are bringing a true whisky legend back to life and we believe our plans do justice to the iconic status of Port Ellen and will capture the imagination of whisky fans from all over the world.”

Ambitions to reopen the distillery were announced in October 2017, when Diageo pledged £35 million to bring back both Port Ellen and Brora distillery in Sutherland, both of which closed in 1983.