Fife Whisky Festival Blog

Our malty musings...

lindores abbey distillery

Lindores Abbey Distillery


Published on: 2/10/18 by Justine

My first visit to Lindores Abbey was back in March 2016 and, as you can see from the photo, work on the distillery had yet to start.

Well, what a difference a couple of years makes! The distillery is complete and the stills are now running. Even though I had visited Lindores a few times since that first ‘pilgrimage’ and thought the distillery would prove to be a well thought out visitor experience, Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith have exceeded expectations.

For those of you who are unaware, it’s widely acknowledged that the Exchequer Roll of 1494 contains the first written reference to whisky in Scotland: John Cor, a monk at Lindores Abbey, was allowed “8 bolls of grain to make aqua vitae for the King”. Therefore, rather than creating gin whilst waiting for their spirit to mature, Lindores have decided to produce aqua vitae; more in keeping with the heritage of the site and the traditions of the Tironensian monks who arrived there in 1191.

Not only is this spectacular distillery the perfect venue for the 2019 Fife Whisky Festival Opening Dinner (read more here), we are delighted that Lindores Abbey Distillery, the newest (and yet, strangely, maybe also the oldest!) Fife distillery, will be joining us once again at the Corn Exchange in Cupar on 9th March.

lindores abbey distillery

Be sure to head over to chat to Drew, Helen, Tim, Andrew and Gary and taste the Lindores ‘water of life’.

lindores abbey distillery

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indie brands

Isle of Arran Distillery


Published on: 26/09/18 by Justine

After five days of glorious sunshine during my visit to Islay in the summer of 2014, I hopped on the ferry headed to Arran. Hoping for more of the same weather whilst visiting ‘Scotland in miniature’, it did, however, proceed to pish it down for the next two days. So, every cloud and all that; I pretty much installed myself at the distillery and this is when I really discovered the Isle of Arran Distillery and its single malt range.

The Isle of Arran distillery was built in 1995 and the first, legal, dram of Arran whisky, in over 160 years, was poured three years later.

The distillery is located in Lochranza, in the north of the island. However, the same owners are making progress with the construction of another distillery, Lagg Distillery, in the south at Brodick. This distillery will be responsible for producing the Isle of Arran’s peated malts and is on track to produce spirit for the first time at the end of February 2019 with the Visitor Centre opening in the Spring.

Arran currently produce peated as well as unpeated whisky and have always been prepared to experiment with a number of cask finishes, with great success.

indie brands

We are over the moon that Isle of Arran Distillers and the Indie Brands team will be returning to the Fife Whisky Festival on 9th March. With a number of expressions to choose from, including cognac as well as whisky, be sure to say hello to the team on the day and enjoy a dram or two from their extensive range.

indie brands

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old pulteney

Inver House Distillers


Published on: 22/09/18 by Justine

Here at Fife Whisky Festival at HQ, we’re looking forward to welcoming the team from Inver House Distillers to next year’s festival on 9th March.

With suberb single malts from Balblair, Pulteney and Knockdhu distilleries, we’re sure that you’ll have plenty to savour and enjoy at the Inver House stand.

Old Pulteney 12 years is a permanent resident in the FWF whisky cabinet; an outstanding, core range dram which should be a go to for everyone. With its recent rebranding, we’re looking forward to trying the new 15 years, 18 years and non-age statement, Huddart.

old pulteney

Situated in Wick, Pulteney is one of the most northerly distilleries on mainland Scotland and with its coastal influence on the maturing whisky, it is rightly known as The Maritime Malt.

Knockdhu distillery is where the AnCnoc single malt is produced. The whisky was given a different name so as not to be confused with the nearby Knockando distillery. However, if you know your Gaelic, you’ll be aware that AnCnoc means ‘black hill’, named after Knock Hill which is known as The Black Hill by the locals.

ancnoc

Balblair distillery, featured in the film The Angels’ Share, produces a Highland single malt. From 2007 onwards, its releases have come in the form of ‘vintages’ rather than age statements as such.  With a fantastic range of both sherry and bourbon cask matured whisky, you’ll be sure to find something to please your taste buds!

With plenty to choose from, make sure you stop by the Inver House stand on the day!

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InchDairnie


Published on: 18/09/18 by Justine

Here at Fife Whisky Festival HQ, we’re delighted that the InchDairnie team will be returning to Cupar on 9th March.

First point: The Glenrothes (the whisky) doesn’t come from Glenrothes (the town); it comes from Rothes in Speyside. Second point: Glenrothes, the town, has its very own distillery and it’s called InchDairnie. Right; that’s cleared that up.

 

Distilling started at InchDairnie at the end of 2015. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll see any InchDairnie whisky on the shelves before 2025. Ian Palmer, who has over 40 years’ experience in the Scotch whisky industry, has decided to wait until the InchDairnie single malt is at least a decade old before releasing it.

In the meantime, InchDairnie produces spirit to be used in Macduff International’s blends and we must remain patient, waiting for its single malt to reach perfection.

What will the InchDairnie team will be pouring?

What’s inside the ‘Black Box’?

You’ll need to head along on 9th March to find out!

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wemyss

Kingsbarns and Wemyss Malts


Published on: 18/09/18 by Justine

Having visited Kingsbarns distillery several times now, we can say that a few things have changed since St Andrews Day 2014 when, founder, Douglas Clement’s ‘From Dream To Dram’ distillery was officially opened.

The first spirit came off the stills in January 2015 and in December this year, those members of the Founders Club, who supported Kingsbarns right from the start, will be rewarded with the inaugural bottling. We look forward to a general release shortly afterwards. If the recently released two year old spirit drink, created from two first fill ex-bourbon barrels, is anything to go by, these are exciting times.

Doug has since moved on to more success with a new venture, Fife Ambassadors, and the distillery is now owned and operated by the Wemyss family, who were partners from the beginning. Here at Fife Whisky Festival HQ, we still mourn the loss of the amazing Velvet Fig, a limited edition blended malt from Wemyss Malts. Thankfully, they still create plenty of other delicious whisky.

wemyss

As you can probably guess, we’re big fans of the Kingsbarns and Wemyss Malts teams and we’re delighted that they’re returning to the Fife Whisky Festival on 9th March. Whether it’s from their blended malts ranges (bottled at both 46% abv and at batch strength), their new Family Casks range or their single cask offerings, whichever dram you taste, you’ll not leave the Wemyss Malts stand disappointed!

wemyss

For those of you who also enjoy a malternative, Wemyss’ Darnley’s Gin and Darnley’s Spiced Gin aren’t too shabby either! Now that the new Darnley’s gin distillery is up and running at Kingsbarns, it’d be the perfect opportunity to taste them if you haven’t already.

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Eden Mill


Published on: 12/09/18 by Justine

As well as celebrating the talents of so many whisky makers from all over Scotland, here at Fife Whisky Festival HQ we’re revelling in the renaissance of whisky making in the Kingdom. So, we’re over the moon that the lovely folks at Eden Mill will be joining us once again on 9th March.

Eden Mill whisky

Eden Mill is the first combined distillery and brewery in Scotland. Although whisky making has only recently returned to Guardbridge, the place itself has quite the whisky making heritage. Converted to a paper mill in 1872, it was previously known as Seggie Distillery, founded in 1810 by none other than William Haig of the illustrious Haig family. The distillery continued until 1860 when it was transformed into the Guard Bridge Paper Mill.

In 2012, the site reopened as Eden Mill Brewery and distilling returned to Guardbridge two years afterwards. Using smaller size casks for maturation, and employing an innovative wood policy, Eden Mill’s whisky came of legal age this year and releases of their first single malts have been very well received. Eden Mill is currently in the process of building its brand new distillery at the Guardbridge site.

Eden Mill Whisky

 

We’re looking forward to welcoming back Caitlin and Euan to 2019’s Fife Whisky Festival!

Eden Mill Whisky

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deanston

Distell


Published on: 12/09/18 by Justine

If you’ve seen the film The Angels’ Share, you’ll know that when Harry arrives at the distillery in the minibus with Robbie and the rest of the group, they park up outside Glengoyne. When they head inside the distillery, however, as if by magic they’re suddenly in Deanston!

The distillery started life as a cotton mill but was converted in 1965 with the first spirit running off the stills four years later. The whisky was originally bottled as Old Bannockburn, then later as Deanston Mill and now, of course, simply Deanston.

The range is all naturally coloured and unchillfiltered. The core range – Virgin Oak and 12 Year Old – are bottled at an unusual, but welcome, 46.3% abv. In addition, there have also been limited editions, such as the 2008 Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Matured, which have been bottled at a much higher strength.

We’re delighted to welcome the Distell team back to the Fife Whisky Festival in 2019. As well as pouring delicious Deanston drams, the team will also have whisky from their sister distilleries, Bunnahabhain and Tobermory (including Ledaig) for you to taste.

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Adelphi


Published on: 30/08/18 by Justine

The first time I came across Adelphi was during a visit to the Speyside whisky festival way back in 2007. My friend and I went to a whisky and chocolate tasting hosted by Alex Bruce and, to be honest, we’d never heard of Adelphi before; we only went because the tickets for our first choice event had sold out.

Well, a big thank you to all those people who bought tickets to the other event as it was at that moment that I caught the Adelphi bug. For the last ten years, I’ve spent the first hour of many a whisky festival loitering around the Adelphi stand like some kind of weird whisky stalker.

adelphi whisky

This independent bottler, with strong links to Fife, bottles single cask, cask strength whisky with the number of bottles ranging from 100 to 700. The whisky is all naturally coloured and non-chill filtered. Oh…and delicious. Absolutely delicious.

As for the Adelphi team, well, they’re a busy bunch of people. As well as their single cask offerings, Adelphi also created The Glover – a fusion of Scotch and Japanese malt whiskies – in 2015 shortly after opening their very own distillery – Ardnamurchan – in 2014.

As well as the impressive single cask offerings, 2018’s Fife Whisky Festival goers were able to taste the Fusion range: Glover 4 Edition, E&K, Winter Queen and Brisbane. We were very lucky indeed that the last one was launching in Melbourne and Cupar almost simultaneously!

adelphi whisky

We’re absolutely delighted that the Adelphi team will be returning to the 2019 Fife Whisky Festival on 9th March. Be sure to pay them a visit on the day.

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Single Cask Whisky

The Single Cask


Published on: 28/08/18 by Justine

The name pretty much sums it up! Each bottle of whisky from The Single Cask comes from, well…a single cask. With the mission of ensuring that each whisky ends up in your glass in its purest form, what’s also great is that all of the Single Cask releases are un-chillfiltered, naturally coloured and bottled at natural strength.

This independent bottler started in 2010 and now has whisky bars and shops in both the UK and Singapore. As well as offering superb single cask bottlings, The Single Cask team can also arrange cask ownership.

We’re delighted that The Single Cask will be sharing their whisky wares with you all once again at 2019’s Fife Whisky Festival. Make sure you say hello to Tom and enjoy a dram or two from their splendid selection!

Single Cask Whisky

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Springbank


Published on: 26/08/18 by Justine

Springbank is the oldest independent family owned distillery in Scotland. Founded and owned by the Mitchell family since 1828, the distillery actually produces three different single malts: Springbank, Longrow (heavily peated) and Hazelburn (unpeated).

What’s also unique about Springbank is that it’s the only distillery to complete the entire production process, from malting 100% of their barley using traditional malting floors to the final bottling, on site.

If you visit the distillery, you’ll not find too many computers! Most of the work is carried out by actual humans. Of course, times change and technology advances but when you visit Springbank distillery, it’s great to see that certain traditions are being kept alive.

We can’t wait to welcome back Grant and the Springbank team to the

2019 Fife Whisky Festival.

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