Islay’s ninth distillery and the first for independent bottler Hunter Laing & Co.
ISLAY SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Once built, Islay’s ninth distillery will produce a traditional Islay whisky style – fruity, heavy and peated with sweetness from a mixture of quality ex-Bourbon casks. Production director Jim McEwan, formerly master distiller of fellow Islay distillery Bruichladdich, will not only design the distillery and spirit character (along with architect Iain Hepburn), but also carve Ardnahoe’s approach to cask selection and maturation.
Ardnahoe’s layout has been designed with the visitor in mind, with plant equipment – wooden washbacks, bulb-shaped stills, worm tubs – placed in such a way as to establish a natural flow for distillery tours. An educational facility as well as a distillery, owner Hunter Laing & Co. hopes to attract visitors arriving by boat from the Isle of Jura with an illuminated exterior waterfall returning process water to the Sound of Islay.
The distillery will be equipped to produce around 500,000 litres of alcohol a year, though the majority of its operation, including mashing, fermenting and distilling, will be done by hand.
Ever since Stewart Laing worked at Bruichladdich as a teenager he felt an affinity with Islay and harboured a dream to one day build a family-owned and run distillery on the island.
In 2013 Laing established independent bottling company Hunter Laing & Co., and recruited his two sons, Andrew and Scott, to the board.
Noticing rapidly growing demand for its Islay whiskies, and with a desire to secure a future for his two sons, in January 2016 Laing acquired a site on the northeast coast of Islay and lodged plans to build an £8 million malt whisky distillery.
Planning permission was granted for Ardnahoe distillery in September 2016, and construction work began shortly after.
The distillery and visitor centre, which will feature an illuminated exterior waterfall, is expected to be operational by summer 2018.