Roger and norah-Lynne

Tarbert Distillery to open soon

Tarbert Distillery for Isle of Harris

Tarbert Distillery

Luskentyre Beach Harris

An Isle of Harris Distillery is planned to start construction later this year and with the creation of 20 new jobs can only be a boost to the Islands economy.

Government Grant

This good news followed the announcement by the Scottish Government of a £1.9 million grant to fund up to a third of the total building costs of the new project, and is the lion’s share of a total £2.4 million that has been allocate to several industries, including Findlater’s Fine Foods, Linlithgow; Sandyford Abattoir, Paisley; Struan Apiaries, Conon Bridge, near Dingwall and TM Fresh Direct, Carfin. As reported by the Scotsman

The Isle of Harris Distillery has been in the planning for a while and is to be built on reclaimed land. The whole project would consist of the distillery itself, a warehouse and a car park. It is not clear yet whether or not a visitors centre is planned but I would be very surprised if a project of this size did not have one. Water will be drawn from two disused reservoirs on the East Tarbert Burn

Production Start

It is expected that up to 90,000 litres a year will be produced and the aim is for the quality market. Watch this space! Production is expected to begin sometime in 2015. With the 3 years required to actually call your drink whisky then in theory we could be trying the first dram as early as 2018 but I am sure that most of us will want to wait a while for something a bit longer in barrel.

Whisky Making in the Islands

The history of whisky making in the Outer Isles is a bit chequered with the major landowner (James Matheson from 1844) banning all distilling and closing the only existing, Shoeburn, distillery. This is ironic because it is asserted that James Matheson made his fortune selling opium to the Chinese.

The first legal distillery to open in recent years is the Abhainn Dearg distillery at Uig on the Isle of Lewis (not far from the impressive beach)

Abhainn Dearg

Uig Beach

This however is a much smaller affair than the Tarbert distillery. It consists of a few brick built and tin roofed buildings in a pretty isolated corner of the Island.

There is no visitor centre as such but visitors are welcome and you can now buy the finished product. When we dropped in in 2011 only the “Spirit of Lewis” was available, the basic spirit that of course could not be called whisky. We enjoyed this as something we had not tried before, but look forward to a nip of the real thing.

The distillery took a bit of work to get a licence, not helped by the fact that it uses a former illegal still from  North Uist!

Off on a complete tangent if any of you have read the Lewis Trilogy by Peter May then a lot of the action in the final book The Chessmen is set around the Uig area.

Lidl 33-Year-Old Malt Whisky For Christmas

Lidl 33-year-old Whisky Given 'Superstar' Status by Whisky Legend Jim Murray

Lidl Stores have announced the release of a 33yr old malt whisky, which would seem to be aimed straight at the  whisky gifts Christmas market. There is something really special about this one though. I has been described by renowned whisky expert Jim Murray as a “superstar”, after he got the chance to try a … more »

World’s Largest Pub Quiz

The World's Largest Pub Quiz

The world’s biggest pub quiz is planned for November 29th and will be to fund the charity Help The Heroes.

The sponsors of this mammoth event (when it is hoped 10,000 people will get involved) is the long established whisky firm of Arthur Bell. The aim is to raise over a million pounds for the charity in the UK.

www.bells.co.uk/helpforheroes/ is the place to go to find out more.

Help the Heroes is a UK based charity that is aimed at rehabilitating and providing extra help for returning soldiers who have been injured or otherwise affected in recent conflicts. It is providing excellent help and should act as a spur to our government to do more.

A really short post for this one but thought it worth putting up.

Roger

First London Whisky Distillery Announced

London Whisky DistilleryThe first London Whisky Distillery for 100 years has been announced by The London Distillery company in Battersea (TLDC). The first in fact since the closure of the Lea Valley distillery in 1910. At its peak Lea Valley was producing just under 155,000 gallons of malt whisky a year and employed around 40 people.

No it will not be in the power station!

TLDC has been the conception of Darren Rook who is a former manager of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in London and has been in the planning for over two years, with production due to start in November of this year.

It will of course be some time before something that is legally London Whisky will go on sale, as it has to be in barrel for at least three years if it were in Scotland to earn that name. It is expected that a barley spirit will be available in smaller bottles as a product until the real stuff comes of age. As with several fledgling distilleries it is planned to also produce a dry London Gin to help finance what has to be a long term investment.

The distillery will be using traditional barley and,as much as possible, water from a spring local to their site in Battersea. The water from the spring is hard in nature and ideally suited to the intended style of London Whisky, indeed this type of water is responsible for some of the finest scottish whiskies, including Glenmorangie and Highland Park.

The aim is to produce a “light floral” whisky with its own distinct flavour, not so much to compete directly with Scotch Whisky as to complement he range of superb malt products already available in these isles.

Malt Whisky in England

England actually has a long history of malt whisky production with major production centres in Bristol and Liverpool up until the end of the 19th century. There was a steady decline though and it is only in the production of gin that spirit production still takes place on a major scale.

There are however several small scale distilleries in operation, with Norfolk, Cornwall and just down the road from me in Cumbria being three counties with distilleries to mention.

The first Cornish Whiskey Distillery for 300 hundred years was announced last year. (note the spelling).

The Distiller

The man overseeing the production will be John McDougall who has worked at several well known distilleries, including Laphroaig and Balvenie. it is his responsibility to ensure that the finished product comes up to scratch.

I for one wish this new London Whisky Distillery all the best for the future and look forward to one day trying one of their malts.

Roger

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First Cornish Whiskey For 300 Years Announced

Cornish WhiskeyThe first Cornish Whiskey for 300 hundred years has been announced by the company Hicks and Healy Cornish Single Malt.  The limited edition single malt goes on sale very shortly.

The first bottle to be produced will actually be put up on e-bay in a special presentation box, with the proceeds going to Cornwall Community Foundation. The Auction ends on Monday.

Enthusiasts will no doubt notice that this Cornish Whiskey is spelt with an “e” in it unlike its near relation Scotch Whisky. This is to emphasise that it has an  even closer cousin in Irish Whiskey, although this particular single malt has been produced in a traditional Scottish-made copper still and by double distillation.

The Cornish distillery is situated at Healy’s farm near Truro in the South of the county but the mash was created at the St Austell Brewery using Maris Otter barley harvested at Trerulefoot and spring water was used from the brew house which dates from Victorian times.

The still may possibly be one of the smallest legal stills in the country at just 1,200 litres (264 gallons) although if any one knows different please let me know.

The liquor from the distillation is aged in American Bourbon casks which have been charred first. This should give a chocolaty, smoky flavour to the final product. This technique has been put to good use in the recently released Alligator Malt from the Ardbeg Islay distillery but the Ardbeg is a much peatier Whisky.

The price for a half litre bottle of this Cornish whiskey is £150 so it is not exactly aimed at the man on the street. At a strength of 61.3% it is also noticeably stronger than most single malts on the market, which tend to be at or just above the 40% mark (there are of course exceptions).

The launch of the whiskey has been met with great enthusiasm, particularly by Jim Murray of The Whisky Bible. Here

This Cornish Whiskey is one of several exciting new ventures in the whisk(e)y world. This Summer I was able to visit the Abhainn Dearg distillery on the Isle of Lewis, which will be producing its first whisky very shortly, and it has just been announced that Cumbria will be getting its first distillery at just down the road from where I live. More on that when I have more to tell.

Roger

Cornish Whiskey

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Isle of Lewis is booked

Isle of Lewis

Now we have had confirmation that the hotel on the Isle of Lewis is booked so something to look forwards to.

Looks and sounds a bit quirky but quirky generally suits us down to the ground and since this will be our first visit to the Isle of Lewis we intend to enjoy every bit of it.

Will need to get the ferry sorted out now. We will be crossing from Skye as that will be the end of our first week of our holiday there. The crossing to the Isle of Lewis (actually to Tarbert on Harris) takes about 1 1/2 hours I gather. Opportunity to see some whales I hope as these are often off Waternish point close to the ferry route. I was able to see them from the point last year but they were too far away to photograph.

We only have one full day on Lewis so will try to make the most of it. The standing stones at Callanish Here are most certainly a must visit place and so too is one of Scotland’s newest distilleries at Abhainn Dearg Here.

Abhainn Dearg is the first whisky distillery to be built on the Isle of Lewis for over 200 years and at present their single malt is still in barrel, but due for bottling this year and with any luck we will be able to pick up a bottle if it is ready. Quite exciting really. They do have a blended whisky available to buy already.

So that is our plan for our trip to the distant Isle of Lewis. No doubt I will have plenty of photographs to show and whisky tasting notes to relay.

Our holiday is planned

So it is that time of year again. Christmas and New Year are well and truly over and in the past so it is time to look forwards to what the year has to bring. Despite the difficult and gloomy financial we have great plans for the future. This new site is just one of the projects that I have lined up.

Considering the number of malt whiskies there are from Scotland alone I think that this project in it self will take up a large amount of our time. There is one really good thing though, I though I knew a little bit about scotch whiskey before but it was nothing compared to what I know now and I have barely scratched the surface yet.

Any way back to the title of this post. We have finalised our holiday plans. We have booked 2 weeks in a cottage in Stein on Skye instead of the usual 1 week. Time to do some saving I think.

We would also like to take advantage of the extra time by taking a trip to Harris and Lewis We have contacted one hotel but so far have not had a reply. Will kee trying though. The whole thing looks fantastic.

Will update as the plans progress.

Roger