Ardnamurchan is the new rough diamond of the independent bottler Adelphi on the picturesque west coast of Scotland. The distillery is located on the peninsula of the same name, just north of the Isle of Mull. With its unusual geographic location, Ardnamurchan steals the southeastern Oban Distillery from the title of “western most distillery in mainland Scotland”. A new distillery with great potential is developing here, far from the tourist conurbations. Ardnamurchan is not only geographically remarkable, it also sets new standards in terms of sustainability and environmental sustainability.
What does Ardnamurchan whisky taste like? After commissioning in 2014, Ardnamurchan already exceeded the legally required minimum maturation period of three years in August 2017. However, it is currently unclear when we can expect the first bottlings in stores. However, the new make and some tasted “premature” malts suggest that we will be dealing with an excellent new Highlands whisky. The distillery produces a peat and an undort whisky in equal proportions.
The non-smoky Young Malt already had a seductive bouquet with malty heather notes and a sweetness reminiscent of fresh pastries after a few months of barrel aging.
The medium-weight peat young malt adds a dry, not too dominant campfire smoke note to this tasty dish. Fans of Highland and Malts Island should keep their eyes and ears open after the first release.
How is Ardnamurchan whisky made?Ardnamurchan attaches great importance to an environmentally friendly approach and gets all of its electricity from a hydropower generator from the nearby river. This also supplies the distillery with cooling water for the condensers. The heat required to operate the stills is supplied by a biomass boiler that is heated with wood chips from local production.
The distillery’s four wooden wash backs were previously used in France to produce cognac. The distillery also has three additional steel wash backs. In contrast to many large distilleries, the fermentation times are relatively long at over 72 hours. The distillery promises a fruity and complex wash. Distillation is carried out in two beautiful classic copper stills. The wash still has an “onion shape”, which means no bulges in the shoulder and neck area and holds 10,000 liters. The Spirit Still has narrow shoulders, a clear ball and a narrow neck with a capacity of 6000 liters. Both have sloping lynx arms. In total, Ardnamurchan currently has around 500,000 liters of possible output capacity, but has only used around 180,000 liters to date. An increase in production is planned.
The young Ardnamurchan Distillery bears the name of a distillery that already existed in the 19th century. Contrary to its name, the Ardnamurchan Distillery, built in 1826, was by no means on the peninsula, but in Glasgow in the Lowlands. In 1903 the distillery was taken over by DCL and closed only four years later. Interestingly, the original distillery was temporarily owned by Archibald Walker, whose great-grandson Jamie Walker founded the independent bottler Adelphi in 1993. The company Adelphi was sold in 2004 by Jamie Walter to Keith Falconer and Donald Houston for reasons of age. These continued the company’s tradition and planned to build their own distillery near the company’s headquarters in Glenborrodale Castle on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. Because of the geographical and historical connection to Ardnamurchan, the revival of the name for Adelphi was obvious. The company received planning permission in 2012. The construction of the distillery turned out to be an adventurous project. Anyone who has completed the roller coaster ride to the distillery will hardly be able to imagine how trucks with heavy equipment should have found their way to the distillery grounds. The distillery had to be adapted to the rural conditions, so that the size of the mash tun, for example, is aligned with the narrowest part of the road leading to the distillery. On June 25, 2014, Princess Anne personally filled the first barrel of the distillery. A good century after the old malt whisky distillery, the Ardnamurchan Distillery, was revived, where it belongs by name.
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