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Issue 40 - Small but perfectly formed?

Whisky Magazine Issue 40
June 2004


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Small but perfectly formed?

Recent issues have reported on two micro distillery projects being launched this year. On this page Terry Williams writes about the Loch Ewe Distillery at Drumchork Lodge, Wester Ross

Their licence to run a small, private distillery gives Frances Oates and John Clotworthy several more superlatives to add to The Drumchork's existing list: Top malt whisky bar of the year in 2001, one of the largest collections of malt whiskies in the world, and the most northerly collection of single malts on the Scottish mainland.

Now they can add the only licensed ‘illicit' still in Scotland, the first ever licensed distillery on the north-west coast, and the first time any whisky has been distilled, matured and also bottled on Loch Ewe. Although at one time the locality was well-populated with whisky stills, none of them were officially approved.

The plan at The Drumchork is to replace a derelict outbuilding with a ‘cottage distillery', with visitor centre, illicit still, whisky-tasting room, viewers' gallery, exhibition and bonded warehouse.

A four-to-five day ‘package' will allow visitors to experience aspects of a traditional Highland way of life – peat cutting, creel fishing, whisky tasting and make-your-own whisky under John's supervision, using the still and working to a well-guarded local traditional recipe.

At the end of the week participants will cask their own spirit and sign the end of the cask. Then in five years' time they will be invited to attend the bottling of ‘their' mature whisky.

“Up to six new jobs are anticipated. In a community of around 300 people scattered over six square miles,” says Frances, “this represents a significant b...

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