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Issue 35 - A dream of a distillery (Arran)

Whisky Magazine Issue 35
November 2003


This article is 14 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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A dream of a distillery (Arran)

Our Mystery Visitor travels to Arran

Isuppose that most, if not all readers of Whisky Magazine have dreamt of running their own distillery. Back in 1995, after a distinguished career in the industry, Harold Currie did rather more than that – he built his own brand new distillery, from scratch, and started producing single malt whisky.

His dream was to resurrect the lost distilling tradition on the Isle of Arran – a small island in the Firth of Clyde, sheltered from the Atlantic gales by the Mull of Kintyre – and today a popular holiday destination.

The site chosen was at Lochranza, in the north of the island at the foot of a beautiful glen, close to the ruined Lochranza Castle.

With tourism in mind, a visitor centre and restaurant was naturally also part of the dream and, in fact, is the first step on any tour.

The centre runs seven days a week throughout the summer, with guided tours departing on the hour. There are limited winter operating hours. Admission is £3.50, with the normal concessions.

For that, there's a small exhibition with an attractive waterfall display and an explanation of wood and ageing, followed by a short video in the rather cheesy replica 18th century “Crofters Inn”.

The film itself starts well enough, with interesting footage of the distillery's construction but then tails off into a conventional sales presentation. It's something of a lost opportunity to exploit one of Arran's unique aspects – after all, when did you last see a distillery being built?

I certainly wo...

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