In 2015, Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd located the perfect four-acre site on the Northeast of the island, with access to the deep Loch Ardnahoe waters. Founded in 2018, it’s a modern distillery, the youngest on the island, set in a stunning location, and it employs rigorously traditional methods and values.
It produces a classically peated style of Islay single malt whisky - smoky, dynamic and full-bodied.
The barley is ground into grist in the beautiful 100-year-old Vickers Boby mill – the only piece of equipment in the distillery which is not new. The copper-domed mash tun creates the clearest wort possible and Oregon Pine washbacks are specially designed and constructed (minimal sap and knots) to optimise conditions for yeast development. The two lantern-shaped copper pot stills have the capacity and design (unusually long descending lyne arms) to allow the vapours plenty of copper contact. Unique to the island is the traditional style of worm tub condenser, in which large copper coils submerged in tanks of cold water allow the vapour to condense gradually. This method, while less efficient, adds texture and complexity to produce a fruity, peaty spirit that’s ultimately appreciated in the glass!
Around 70% of casks are bourbon, imparting flavours of toffee, honey and vanilla to the whisky. The 20% sherry barrels impart intense flavours of red fruits, brown sugar and spices.
Visitors will enjoy experiencing how modern design works in perfect harmony with traditional techniques and equipment.
Visitor centre winter opening hours: 10am-4pm, Tuesday-Saturday. All tours and tastings available to book online. Tours run daily at 10am and 2pm.
The Illicit Still café and bar is open 10am-3.15pm. Light lunches served 12pm-2.30pm (booking advisable).
For information and to book tours and tastings or experiences such as the Whisky Journey through Scotland, Blending Experience or First Steps in Whisky, or to experience a whisky & cheese pairing or a whisky & food pairing, please see the distillery website.
Contact the café on 01496 840777.
Updated November 3, 2023.