Whisky Magazine Issue 83
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Raymond Armstrong is nothing like the average Scottish whisky distiller – and that's because he's an Irishman with a building background. Dominic Roskrow travelled to Galloway on Scotland's west coast to meet him.
Ask most people what they would expect a Scottish whisky distiller would be like, and the last person they would suggest is Raymond Armstrong.
There's a very good reason for this – he's neither Scottish or a whisky distiller.
In fact he's an affable Irishman with a motor of a mouth and a direct and uncompromising approach to life that is both totally endearing and mildly scary. And he happens to own and run a Scottish whisky distillery more by luck than design.
Armstrong's a builder and architect by trade and has long family links and an emotional attachment to the South West corner of Scotland – and it was that combination that led him off his chosen career path and in to the uncertain world of making alcohol.
Bladnoch Distillery doesn't feel like it's really part of the Scottish whisky industry at all. It is situated on the edge of Wigtown, close to the English border,way down in the South west of the country, and a world away from the distilleries of Speyside and The Highlands.
The region's beautiful,among the prettiest parts of Scotland but also among the least appreciated.
Its landscape of lochs, streams and woodland is more varied than other parts of the country and bears much in common with Ireland which you can see on a clear day from the region's western coastline.
The port of Stranraer is close by, making travel to Northern Ireland easier than travel to Glasgow or Edinburgh. As commuter journeys go, the ferry between the two countries isn't the most conve...