After visiting many distilleries over the years, you might think you have seen rural parts of Scotland and then you start the trek to Glenbeg, Ardnamurchan Distillery. The owners of this distillery first broke ground on site in 2013. It is the case of another independent bottler finding a need and value in owning stock of their own. A few other examples of this:
INDEPENDENT BOTTLER // DISTILLERIES
Gordon & MacPhail Benromach
A.D. Rattray Clydeside Distillery*
Chieftain’s Glengoyne / Tamdhu
Cadenhead's Springbank / Kilkerran
Now of course all of these have their own history and reasons for the alignment. I have put an asterisk next to the two distilleries I have visited recently where an independent bottler has built and opened a completely new distillery. Others on this list have bought old, defunct distilleries or are just married due to buyouts, mergers and entrepreneurs wanting distilleries. If someone has any more please send them via my contact page so I can add them to this list!
Anyways, surprise! As you saw on the list above, this post is about Adelphi and Ardnamurchan. The distillery is on the far west coast of central Scotland. West of Fort William and northwest of Oban. Seems simple enough but trust me those roads are small! I was again visiting with our group from the Rascal + Thorn Coastal Scotland tour of 2019. Ricky and Collin walked us around the distillery starting with the wood chip biomass boiler – nerd alert! The draff can also be dried out and thrown in here for processing. They have a malting floor on site, but it has not been used yet. For now, they are using unpeated malt and Inverness peat, peated malt. The milling is next and happens 5 days a week. The hopeful plan is to use local Ardnamurchan peat and use their own malting floor.
As you move through the distillery, you’ll find yourself at the usual starting point after the barley is milled– the mash tun. Here they have a 2-ton mash tun followed by 4 wooden (2 pine and 2 oak) and 3 stainless steel washbacks. For fermentation they are using brewers and distillers’ yeast with an average 4 to 5 day fermentation. Their long fermentation time allows them to achieve the spirit flavor that they want which is flowery and sweet. After fermentation you move into the still room where you will find their singular wash and spirit still. The wash still has a capacity of 10,000 liters and the spirit still is at 6,000 liters. Right now, they are producing about 250,000 liters of new make spirit per year.
There has not been an official whisky release from Ardnamurchan yet, but we did get to try a few things right from the cask and a few special edition releases. The anticipated release date for a regular offering is in 2021. In the meantime, all different types of casks are at rest in their one of 4 dunnage warehouses. In their warehouses you will find everything from ex-bourbon, oloroso, Pedro Ximenez, quarter and octave casks.
I got to try a few lovely bottling from Adelphi and then a warehouse release that is just for the distillery.
Ardnamurchan Single Malt
Warehouse Release Limited Batch
Cask Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez octaves
2 Years old – Bottled July, 10th 2019
Holly’s Tasting Notes: Nutty toffee and a hint of vanilla on the nose. Subtle lemon as well. The palate offers green apple, citrus, nuts and a slightly dry finish.
With water - more honey notes shine through on nose and palate.
Not only was it an amazing trip but we also got to see Charles MacLean and his 3 sons come by the distillery. They had just been training for their charity row across the Atlantic Ocean. You can follow their progress here—The Scotsman. Definitely a brand and distillery to keep an eye on and in the meantime, start drinking Adelphi! I know many of you are big fans. Thanks again to Connal and Ricky for your time!