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The story so far

The Ardnamurchan peninsula is famous for its outstanding and untouched beauty and abundance of natural resources. Our Distillery is situated half way along the peninsula in the small village of Glenbeg. It was designed to both look like a distillery but also to fit in with the surrounding buildings. 

At Ardnamurchan Distillery we follow what we believe is the lightest-touch approach to distilling in our remote location, including adding value to co-products and empowering a realistic and tangible circular economy.

Award-winning West Highland Distillery

Whisky is a natural product and we’ve ensured this is reflected in the way we operate. Unusually in the whisky industry, all the power and heat requirements for Ardnamurchan Distillery come from local renewables, the river that provides the distillery’s cooling water has a hydro-electricity generator, solar panels provides us with energy and the biomass boiler is fuelled by wood chip from local forestry. The overall footprint of the distillery is a light one.

In addition, the co-products of the whisky making process are recycled on the peninsula. An example of this being  the still energy rich draff, a co-product from the mashing, is combined with the pot ale to produce animal feed for the use on the peninsula.

The entire process has been designed to create an overall flavour profile that is expected of the west coast of Scotland, gentle peat smoke, rich and oily with honey, fruit and salinity on the palate. 

Mashing

Our mashtun was individually designed to fit both our distillery and the narrowest bridge (3.2m) when being transported across the Ardnamurchan peninsula. 

The malted barley is added to the mashtun along with hot water to start the mashing process. The water is heated by our biomass boiler using wood chips from sustainable local forestry. 

Once our wort is ready it gets transferred to our washbacks for fermentation. The draff left over from the mashing is mixed with the evaporated pot ale and makes a nutritious animal feed for local farms.

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Fermentation

If you ask any distillery that ferments in wooden washbacks what style of washbacks are best, they will tell you wooden ones are best. If you ask a distillery using stainless steel washbacks the same question, they will tell you stainless steel is best. 

At Ardnamurchan we opted to use both styles, we have four wooden ones, one made from oak and three from Oregon pine and three made from stainless steel.

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Distillation

Our spirit is distilled using traditional copper stills, the wash still holds 10,000 liters and the spirit still, which has a neck with a boil ball for extra reflux, holds 6,000 liters. 

We use standard shell and tube condensers, unusually located outside the building, to turn the spirit vapour into liquid. 

Our new make spirit is cut at around 75% ABV. We use water from the Glenmore spring to dilute the spirit down to 63.5% ABV before filling the casks.

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Maturation

Unusually, these days, we have our own dunnage warehouses at the distillery. 

Our whisky matures right next to where it was made, on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, in close proximity to the North Atlantic Ocean (Ardnamurchan translates as “Headland of the Great Seas”). 

We believe the rugged west coast air gives our whisky a certain element that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

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Witness our process first-hand

Come to Ardnamurchan and let us share our beautiful location with you. You can book a guided tour of our distillery or simply visit our well-stocked visitor centre!  

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