Ardross Distillery
Averon Valley

History: This newly built distillery is located just 30 miles north of Inverness. It is set on the 50-acre Ardross Mains Farm that dates back to the 19th century. They have managed to retain many of the 19th-century steading buildings, farmhouse and worker cottages, with even the materials from other rundown buildings being recovered and used for the rest of the distillery.

The state-of-the-art distillery cost an estimated £15 million to build and recently launched its first product. Theodore Gin launched a couple of months ago with the company having big plans for the brand with an aim of selling 50,000 bottles of gin in the UK by the end of this year, and a three-year plan predicts a total of 250,000 bottle sales. Theodore Gin is distilled in an innovative gin house away from the whisky production on the same site.

The spirit: One look at the distillery, its website, ethos and branding tells me these guys are not messing about. It feels like they are serious about showing a more innovative yet traditional approach to creating their spirits.

Theodore Gin is described as an elegantly aromatic Scottish gin, inspired by the lost civilisation of the Picts.

Its botanical recipe includes pine, damask rose, pomelo and bourbon vetiver, and the spirit has been distilled in a multi-stage process to extract the best flavours and aromas from each of the ingredients.

As with the distillery’s ethos of innovation, two master distillers have collaborated in its creation – one British, Andrew W. Rankin, and one French, Barnabe Fillion, combining traditional and new techniques.

Why visit? With more than 30 new Scotch whisky distilleries in the planning or building stages we are truly going through a golden era of whisky production. The world is loving Scotch at the moment. Like Ardross, most of these distilleries have been a big investment not only in the construction itself but for the local community who will see more jobs and visitors to the area. Ardross visitor centre is not quite ready but when it is it will be a welcome addition with a bonus being it is not that far to get to from Inverness.

Interesting fact: Greenwood Distillers, which runs the distillery, is an exciting and relatively new spirit company led by Andrew W. Rankin, a trained master blender with 50 years’ experience in the whisky business. This year alone the distillery plans to launch seven spirits in the UK.