Isle of Arran Distillers
Known as “Scotland in Miniature”, the island of Arran boasts the entire spectrum of Scottish scenery from mountains and glens to lochs and beaches. Sandwiched in between the coast of Ayr and the Kintyre peninsula, during the 19th century it was home to more than 50 illicit distilleries, who found the rugged terrain the perfect refuge from the taxman. In 1995, the island became home to its first legal distillery in over 150 years as The Isle of Arran Distillers was founded by Harold Currie, former Managing Director of Chivas and House of Campbell, at Lochranza in the north of Arran.
Lochranza is a wonderful place to make whisky. Aside from the beautiful scenery, Loch na Davie is an excellent source of lovely clean, soft water, cleansed by granite and softened by peat as it comes down from the mountain above. Production takes place entirely on the island and is of a traditional style, with wooden washbacks and copper stills. Maturation occurs mainly in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry oak, with a number of other types of casks—Amarone, Sauternes and Port, for example—used to finish whisky—a trait for which the distillery is known. The atmosphere of sea breezes and clear mountain air together with the warm flow of the Gulf Stream matures the Arran Malt to perfection in earth floored warehouses. In 2019, a new distillery was opened in Lagg, on the south of the island, which will be dedicated to producing peated whisky.
The Arran malt is typically very balanced, showing lots of cereal, malt and grain character, with notes of apple and vanilla frequently appearing. Their range has now reached a level of maturity, with whiskies of 10 to 25 years old released annually. In addition, they produce interesting casks finishes and many limited edition, small batch releases that are highly sought after by whisky fans. Arran offers a fantastic breadth of whiskies that beginners and seasoned whisky fans both love.