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Issue 91 - Lowland life

Whisky Magazine Issue 91
October 2010


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Lowland life

Gavin D. Smith charts the rise, fall and soon the rise again of distilling in the Lowland region

Currently, the most southerly working distillery in Scotland is Bladnoch, located in the far south-west of the country, some 50 miles from Dumfries. But for the intervention and persistence of Ulster businessman Raymond Armstrong, who revived distilling at Bladnoch in 2000, the former Bell's distillery could well have been the subject of this feature.

Happily, however, it is not, and news that the old Annandale distillery, 15 miles from Dumfries, is in the early stages of being restored and re-commissioned means that the Dumfries & Galloway region will eventually boast a brace of active distilleries.

For many years, the area was home not only to Bladnoch and Annandale, but also Langholm and nearby Glen Tarras distilleries.

Of the quartet, Langholm was the first to be established, constructed on a site between the main road just south of the historic mill town and the neighbouring River Esk in 1765.

For most of it active life, Langholm was in the hands of the Connell family, with Arthur Connell purchasing it in 1832, and when Alfred Barnard visited in the mid- 1880s, the distillery was turning out some 46,000 gallons of whisky per year.

Much of the Langholm ‘make' went for blending, with the Connells producing a blend of their own by the name of Mountain Dew, and what was sold as ‘self whisky,' ie single malt, was retailed in England. Barnard also mentions a fascinating aspect of Langholm distillery, noting that “...the aged Manager informed us that there is annuall...

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