ARRAN Robert Burns
In fact, we’re a dynamic distillery, doing things the old way. In addition, we craft our spirit using traditional methods and a few chosen, pure ingredients, reviving an ancient heritage of whisky-making on Arran.
We’re proud of our heritage, but we make distinctively modern whiskies. Furthermore, we’re always working on new expressions and giving the world new flavours of Arran to enjoy.
Our whisky is made largely by hand with the help of eye, nose and palate. Our Master Distiller James MacTaggart has over 40 years experience in whisky making. He leads a team of passionate, skilled people as they nurture our spirit from barley to bottle.
Ours is the only working distillery on an island that was once home to many of the illicit stills on the west coast of Scotland. This is where we distill the unique character of Arran known as Scotland in miniature into an incomparable whisky.
What makes our whiskies special is simply the quality of the water on Arran, the quality of the barley we select and the skill of our talented distillers to combine the two. Our home village of Lochranza really is the perfect location for producing the perfect Malt. The area is home to the purest water in all of Scotland – water that”s been cleansed by granite and softened by peat as it slowly meanders from the mountaintops into nearby Loch na Davie.
Arran enjoys a warm microclimate – the atmosphere of sea breezes and clear mountain air, together with the warm flow of the Gulf Stream is ideal for the speedy maturation of single malts. The island has a reputation for producing the highest quality whisky.
MAKING ARRAN WHISKY
We make whisky the old way. It’s not the easiest or the cheapest way, but it’s the best. Our whisky has only a few ingredients – chiefly two types of barley, Optic and Oxbridge, and water from Loch na Davie, the purest in Scotland. The malted barley is mixed with this water in the mash tun to make wort, which goes into wooden washbacks, where yeast is added to begin fermentation. At the end of this process we have a liquid – called wash – that’s about as strong as very strong beer.
The wash is double-distilled in copper pot stills. The first distillation produces a liquid that’s about 23% alcohol, and the second raises this to an average strength of 68%. This colourless liquid is matured in oak casks which have held wines and spirits like sherry and bourbon. The wood gives colour and character, and the choice of cask is probably the most important influence on the character of the end whisky. Once it reaches the desired age, we bottle most of our single malts at 46% abv or at cask-strength. We never add anything artificial – so all the colour in our whisky comes from the wood of the cask.
TO CHILL OR NOT TO CHILL – WHY WE TREAT OUR WHISKY GENTLY
Furthermore, most whisky is chill-filtered to remove a range of substances. This is including proteins and esters which are produced in the distillation and maturation process. The reason is largely to do with appearance. In addition, as these substances can make the spirit turn a little cloudy when you add water or ice. However we believe the process destroys some of the subtle nuances of aroma and flavour that add to the character of the end whisky, so we never chill-filter our malts.This light aromatic Single Malt is ideal for drinking prior to or during a meal. It is very fresh with no artificial colouring. This beautifully packaged malt is made for easy drinking. A very versatile dram, this whisky can be enjoyed alone, with water or ice, or even in a long drink.