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Issue 126 - The Lowland Distilleries

Whisky Magazine Issue 126
March 2015


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The Lowland Distilleries

The comeback boys

The ‘Lowland' classification of single malt whisky embraces distilleries south of a theoretical ‘Highland Line,' running across Scotland from the Firth of Clyde in the west to the Firth of Tay in the east. In terms of style, Lowland malts have traditionally been considered rather delicate creatures, all too often dismissed as light and bland. Not ‘proper' whiskies like those of the Highlands and Islands.

In recent years, the classification has seemed less and less relevant, with the Lowland region in recent years boasting only two working distilleries, in the shape of Auchentoshan near Glasgow and Glenkinchie, south of Edinburgh, with St Magdalene in Linlithgow having closed in 1983, followed a decade later by Rosebank, Littlemill and Bladnoch.

However, the situation improved slightly with the re-commissioning of Bladnoch, near Wigtown in south-west Scotland, during 2000, followed by the opening of Fife's Daft Mill facility late in 2005, though at the time of writing, Bladnoch is once again unproductive, with the owners having entered liquidation last year. At present, the fate of the old Wigtownshire distillery is uncertain.

The Lowlands as a malt whisky-making region are staging a comeback. Remarkably, of the seven Lowland malt distilleries currently operational, only Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie date from prior to 2005, and several additional Lowland distilling projects are in the pipeline.

Glenkinchie distillery – best known for its 12 Years Old and Distill...

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