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Issue 134 - Where the Land Meets the Sea

Whisky Magazine Issue 134
March 2016


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Where the Land Meets the Sea

The Arbikie Highland Estate

We tend to set less store by Scotch whisky making ‘regions' than we used to, and judge whiskies on their own merits rather than trying to find stylistic similarities with others produced in the same area.

But if we are going to talk of traditional regions, nowhere has fared worse in relatively recent times than the Eastern Highlands in terms of distillery losses. Until the 1980s, the area boasted Glenury Royal at Stonehaven, Lochside and Hillside / Glen Esk at Montrose, North Port and Glencadam in Brechin, as well as Fettercairn and Royal Lochnagar. Of those, only Glencadam, Fettercairn and Royal Lochnagar – all dating back to the 1820s – survived, but since 2014 the provision of Eastern Highland distilleries has increased by 25 per cent, with the establishment of Arbikie Highland Estate Distillery.

Arbikie is located near the village of Inverkeilor, overlooking Lunan Bay, between the historic North Sea ports of Arbroath and Montrose in the county of Angus. According to the team at Arbikie, “This is an estate profoundly shaped by its environment: the red sandstone-tinted soil, the powerful sea and the turbulent weather give Arbikie a character found nowhere else. And here, situated where land meets sea, sits our distillery… this place has all the ingredients required to produce spirits of the highest quality.”

The 2,100 acre estate is owned by the Stirling family, which can trace its agricultural roots back as far as 1600 on the west coast of Scotland. Bill ...

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