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Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd has laid the groundwork to create a unique blended malt by filling casks with new spirit from both their Lagg and Lochranza distilleries.
The independent Scotch whisky company owns and operates two distilleries on Arran; Lochranza Distillery in the north and Lagg Distillery in the south. In March this year both distilleries underwent a period of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the distilleries began production again on May 11 after this short period of closure, the first runs of new spirit from each distillery were vatted together. This precious mix, combining both heavily-peated and un-peated spirit, was filled into bourbon barrels, sherry hogsheads and sherry butts at their Lochranza Distillery. These unusual casks will now slumber on the island until the time is right for bottling as a future blended malt.
This is a particularly interesting project to mark this unique moment in time. As an island whisky producer, Isle of Arran Distillers is in the rare position of owning a lowland and a highland distillery both based on one island off the west coast of Scotland. The DNA of the two distilleries is inextricably linked through their island connection and the flavour profile of the future blended malt whisky is bound to create something very special with which to remember this period in history.
Director of operations and production for Lagg and Lochranza distilleries, James MacTaggart said: ‘This is a first for Arran. We are aware of blended malts where the whisky from one distillery is married with that of another, or blended whiskies created by mixing grain with malt whisky, however this is the first time that we know of malt whisky from two sister distilleries being blended at the spirit stage.
‘As the owners of these two wonderful distilleries, we felt it was right to join the two sides of our island together and produce a whisky that would always be a marker for this unique period in time.’
Sales manager, Andy Bell added: ‘I am proud to have played a part in creating this truly unique blend, and will follow with interest as these casks mature. The experimentation at the heart of this process speaks to the truly independent nature of our company.’
Andy Bell and James MacTaggart pictured with Cask No 1 when the Lagg distillery first opened. NO_B27whisky01