ANNANDALE DISTILLERY COMPANY LTD, Annan, Dumfriesshire
RASCALLY LIQUOR NEW MAKE MALT SPIRIT 63,5 %
Peaty As Hell…
RASCALLY LIQUOR NEW MAKE PEATY SPIRIT 63,5 %
Annandale’s two signature single malt whiskies won’t be mature until at least 2018, although fans can still pick up a cask in the meantime.
The modern Annandale distillery produces two types of single malt whisky, both matured in American oak barrels – an unpeated spirit that’s described as “smooth and sophisticated”, while a peated version is depicted as “strong and powerful”. The contrasting styles are a reflection of the Lowlands’ peated whisky past, and its modern reputation as a region that produces softer styles.
The original Annandale Distillery was built in 1830 by former Elgin-based excise officer George Donald, who named the site after the valley in which it is situated. Using water from the Middleby Burn for the whisky and the Guillielands Burn for cooling and power, the distillery produced single malt whisky for 90 years.
Donald ran the distillery until 1883 when it passed to John S. Gardner & Son, the namesake of which kept cows, pigs and horses on-site, feeding the animals on the draff and leftover grain from the distillery. Under Gardner’s tenure the distillery underwent a modest expansion, and at the height of its production was making 28,000 gallons of spirit annually.
Just 13 years later John Walker & Sons purchased the site, but the now renowned whisky group had grander ideas up its sleeve. Come 1919 the company decided to abandon Annandale to concentrate on developing its signature blended whisky, Johnnie Walker. By 1921 the distillery was closed, its fittings stripped for use elsewhere.
The site passed into the hands of the Robinson family, who were famous for producing Provost porridge oats. What was left of the distillery became a production line for the breakfast cereal brand, while the bonded warehouses were used to house cattle. The remainder of the buildings fell into a state of disrepair.
In 2007, the site was purchased by the Annandale Distillery Company, led by husband-and-wife owners David Thomson and Teresa Church, who also own market research operation, MMR Group. The duo set about painstakingly returning the site back to its former glory over a seven-year period that cost in the region of £10.5 million.
Production of two significant whisky styles began in November 2014, named Man O’ Words after the poet Robert Burns, and Man O’Sword after Scottish warrior Robert the Bruce. Casks of both are available to purchase before the spirit is mature enough to be called whisky. The Annandale Distillery Company put a price tag of £1 million on the first cask filled on 15 November 2014.
George Donald, a former excise officer, builds the original Annandale distillery
The distillery is sold to John S. Gardner & Son
Annandale Distillery is rebuilt and extended
John Walker & Sons buy the distillery for £2,000
John Walker & Sons mothballed the distillery after making the decision to focus on its new blend, Johnnie Walker
The site is officially closed and stripped of its equipment
The distillery is purchased by the Robinson family for the production of Provost porridge oats
Annandale Distillery Company purchases the site with a view to returning the distillery to its former glory
The distillery begins operation for the first time in 95 years
CAPACITY (MLPA) i
CONDENSER TYPE i
Copper shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
FILLING STRENGTH i
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
HEAT SOURCE i
MALT SPECIFICATION i
Peated (45ppm) and unpeated
MALT SUPPLIER i
Bairds and Pencaitland
MASH TUN MATERIAL i
MASH TUN TYPE i
NEW-MAKE PHENOL LEVEL i
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
SPIRIT STILL CHARGE (L) i
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Tall, slim necked, boil ball
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
One wash, 2 spirit
Dunnage in two-level sandstone warehouse
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
WASH STILL SHAPE i
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
WASHBACK CHARGE (L) i
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
WASHBACK TYPE i
WATER SOURCE i
WORT CLARITY i
YEAST TYPE i
Unpeated malt uses Fermentis Safwhisky M-1 and Mauri Distillers; unpeated uses Mauri Distillers
Annandale Distillery Company
2014 - present
John Walker & Sons
1896 - 1921
John S Gardner
1883 - 1896
George Donald & Co
1830 - 1883
ANNANDALE’S WHISKY REVIVED AFTER 99 YEARS
16 November 2017
The first single malt whisky from Annandale distillery for 99 years is on its way to being released.
Annandale whisky Man o'Words
Momentous occasion: David Thomson and wife Theresa Church hold the first two bottles of Annandale single malt whisky
The Lowlands distillery, which last operated in December 1918, became operational once more in 2014.
In a ceremony held at the distillery yesterday (15 November), the first two bottles of legal Annandale single malt for 99 years was drawn from Cask No 1.
While one bottle will be kept by the distillery, the second will be sold along with the first cask for £1 million.
Prof David Thomson, managing director of Annandale distillery, said: ‘It’s our ambition to make decent whisky here, I hope we’re doing that, and that in 100 years time we’ll still be making decent whisky and that we’ll be employing decent and honest people from Annan.
‘It’s definitely not the end of the story, it’s not even the beginning of the end of the story, but in Winston Churchill’s immortal words, it just might be the end of the beginning.’
Thomson and his wife Theresa Church acquired the former Annandale distillery in 2007 and set about rebuilding and fitting the site over a period of seven years.
The late Dr Jim Swan, whose family was in attendance, was instrumental in the set-up and Thomson paid tribute to him before the cask was drawn.
He said: ‘Jim Swan was at our elbow right the way onwards from word go. Jim’s knowledge of whisky was profound and his ability to translate his knowledge into a working distillery was even greater.
‘When he came here he entertained us royally… he just brought the place to life. He was a great loss to us, and a great loss to the industry and to his family. Hopefully this is a lasting memorial to what Jim’s done.’
Annandale will now focus on bottling its first general releases of single malt for two distinct brands: Man o’ Words and Man o’ Swords.
The two brands refer to two ‘locals’ who made it on the world stage: Robert Burns and Robert the Bruce.
Annandale Man o’ Words is an unpeated expression while Man o’ Swords is peated at 45ppm. Both will be matured in a mix of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry wood.
The first releases of both expressions will be from single casks filled from the distillery’s initial production runs.
Around 240 numbered bottles will be produced from each cask. Casks 2014/033 and 2014/037 will be unpeated Man o ‘Words, while casks 2014/066 and 2014/071 will be peated Man o’Sword.
Named ‘Early Release of First Production’, the first four casks will be released in early 2018, and will be on strict allocation to those registering interest via Annandale’s website.
The original Annandale distillery was built in 1830 by former Elgin-based excise officer George Donald, who named the site after the valley in which it is situated