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Issue 103 - Not as Daft as it Seems (Daftmill)

Whisky Magazine Issue 103
April 2012


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Not as Daft as it Seems (Daftmill)

Neil Wilson visits this pretty farmhouse distillery

Francis Cuthbert is no ordinary distiller. He also happens to be a farmer who, along with his brother Ian, tends to 1,000 acres of prime arable and beef stock land just south of Bow of Fife, off the A91 between Auchtermuchty and Cupar. This might make him something of an oddity within the industry today but a couple of centuries ago his twin occupations would have been regarded as fairly normal. Prior to the late-Victorian distillery-building boom much of Scotland's malt whisky industry had evolved out of farmyard concerns that were dotted around the Highlands and Islands, aside from the grain distilleries, such as Kennetpans and Kilbagie, which were centred in Clackmannanshire and of a truly industrial scale, largely satisfying the voracious London market. Farming and distilling were symbiotic activities that complemented each other, so when the Cuthberts decided in 2003 to create a distillery on their achingly pretty Daftmill Farm, they were simply reverting to type. But why did they do it? “That's a good question'” Francis pondered.

“I thought I was mental at the time but our motivation lay in the fact that we were passionate about Scotch whisky and it simply struck us as something that we could achieve if we set our minds to it.” What would have been glaringly obvious to any casual observer who arrived at Daftmill Farm in the early 2000s was that everything required to create malt whisky was in place already. It simply needed exploiting. The grade B-listed farm b...

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