A location on the most westerly point of the British mainland has made Adelphi, Ardnamurchan’s owner, think long and hard about sustainability.
A hydro-electric generator in the river which also provides Ardnamurchan’s cooling water generates all the power required, while a biomass boiler using wood chips from a local forest provides all the hot water. The draff heads to local herds and pot ale goes as fertiliser for the fields.
Two styles of spirit have been made from the outset – peated and unpeated. Both use barley grown on the estate of one of the owners.
Legal distilling was unknown on the remote Ardnamurchan peninsula until independent bottler Adelphi opened its distillery there in 2014. This is not however the first distillery to bear the Adelphi name.
The original was built in the Gorbals district of Glasgow in 1826, passing into the hands of Archibald Walker in 1880, making the firm the only distiller to make whisky in Scotland, Ireland and England. By 1887 it was producing over 500,000 gallons of both malt and grain whisky a year. It was bought by DCL in 1903 and its pot stills stopped four years later. Grain was made until 1932. The site is now where Glasgow’s Central Mosque stands.
Archibald Walker's great-grandson, Jamie, started Adelphi as an independent bottler in 1993. Its current owners bought the firm in 2004.
CAPACITY (MLPA) i
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube outside building
FERMENTATION TIME i
FILLING STRENGTH i
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
HEAT SOURCE i
Biomass from locally sourced wood chip
MALT SPECIFICATION i
MALT SUPPLIER i
Bairds using malt from Broomhall Farm
MASH TUN TYPE i
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
SPIRIT STILL CHARGE (L) i
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Traditional with boil ball
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
Dunnage on site
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
4 oak and 3 stainless steel
WATER SOURCE i
Glenmore River and springs above the distillery
WORT CLARITY i
High clarity because of 20 minutes recirculation
YEAST TYPE i
2013 - present
Demand for Ardnamurchan distillery’s first release has massively outstripped supply – even though the spirit is too young to be called whisky.
Ardnamurchan Spirit 2016 AD
Shades of grey: Ardnamurchan Spirit 2016 AD’s bottle is designed to mark the area’s volcanic past
The remote west coast distillery, owned by independent bottler Adelphi, is releasing 2,500 bottles of Ardnamurchan Spirit 2016 AD, a vatting of immature peated and unpeated spirit filled into cask in June 2015 and October 2014. Spirit must mature for at least three years before it can be labelled as ‘whisky’.
But pre-orders for the new liquid have exceeded 7,500 bottles, with Danish whisky distributor FC Whisky estimating that it could have sold 800 bottles in Denmark alone. ‘Demand has been wild,’ said FC Whisky’s Claus Fisker.
‘Prior to a launch we contact our UK and international agents and distributors to gauge interest and take pre-orders,’ said Adelphi and Ardnamurchan MD Alex Bruce.
‘While it’s not unusual for there to be a healthy amount of interest in our whisky, the demand for our new Ardnamurchan Spirit was exceptionally high. We’ve produced 2,500 bottles, but we could easily have sold three times that amount.’
Ardnamurchan Spirit 2016 AD (the ‘AD’ stands both for Ardnamurchan Distillery and Anno Domini) is a vatting of 29 ex-oloroso and Pedro Ximénez Sherry octaves (55 litres each), filled with peated and unpeated spirit in June 2015 and October 2014 respectively.
The spirit then spent an additional three months marrying in 500-litre ex-Pedro Ximénez Sherry butts.
The bottle, created by Edinburgh-based Nevis Design, is coated in ‘ash/moine’ (slate grey) to mark the volcanic past of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, featuring a hydrometer-shaped window to highlight the colour of the spirit.
Copper lettering refers to the spirit’s production: barley grown on Broomhall Farm in Fife, next to the company’s bottling facility, the use of 100% renewable energy sources, and Sherry casks for maturation.
Bottled at 53% abv, Ardnamurchan Spirit 2016 AD has a UK RRP of £47.50.