Located just outside of Port Ellen on Islay’s south coast, the name is derived from the historic farm estate where the distillery is located and means ‘place of the stream.’ The correct pronunciation of this is Port-nah-truan.
Sukhinder Singh, co-owner of the distillery, outlined his vision for Portintruan: “Elixir Distillers has always taken a flavour-led approach, and this will be the Portintruan philosophy as well. We will be utilising a number of old-style production techniques which we believe will accentuate the depth and character of the spirit. A key part of the process will be using malt predominantly from our own floor maltings on-site, and we will be using direct-fired wash stills for the distillation. We plan to work with different phenol levels across the range, which will all have their own specific flavour profiles.”
There are various plans for the distillery, with one being the addition of an experimental distillery within the site – meaning two in one. The aim is for the team to produce rum as well as Scotch whisky. 14 houses for Islay families working at the distillery are included, a vistor’s centre too with a bar, a restaurant, a tasting room and an education facility to serve as an apprenticeship programme base.
The aims of Portintruan are believed to be the combination of old-style production with modern technology, as well as bringing a focus on sustainability. Distillery manager Georgie Crawford spoke on this, recognising the work still to be done: “Working within what is currently possible on Islay, we want to be as green and as responsible as we can. We are talking to the Islay Energy Trust, our fellow distillers on the island and suppliers to ensure we take all opportunities to be greener. We are using the latest technology to implement a heat loop for our water usage to ensure the maximum amount is recycled and reused with the heat recovered for other processes. We’re also using a bio diesel for our direct-fired stills which is the cleanest fuel we can currently source, and we’re building the distillery so that it can use hydrogen power once that is available.”
The announcement comes ahead of the 2022 edition of Fèis Ìle, an annual festival of whisky and music on Islay. Taking place from the 27th May to the 4th June, the event will allow attendees the opportunity to view the distillery plans, as well as tastings ran by Elixir Distilleries across the days.
With all plans in place, Portintruan anticipates 2024 as the year distilling begins.