The Arran distillery
Building a distillery on an island that had only ever known bootleg distillation was something of a daring feat. And Harold Currie, formerly of Chivas Regal, was just the man for the job. Today, Arran Distillers Ltd is owned by private shareholders.
Its first 10-year-old whisky was bottled in 2005 and is a celebration of the distillery’s journey, giving the Isle of Arran the key it needed to be admitted into the major league of distilleries in the process.
Easily accessible, the Isle of Arran is home to a number of visitor attractions. The local fauna is one of them, with wild-roaming deer, seals and golden eagles. Construction work on the distillery was even interrupted in order to prevent disruption to a couple of golden eagles who were nesting on an adjacent mountain.
Built on the spectacular site of Lochranza, the distillery may not boast the charm of distilleries of yore with its purely decorative pagodas, but the inside is authentic. The still chamber is cosy and adorned with greenery (the Irish head distiller here, Gordon Mitchell, has green fingers), the warehouses are well-ventilated to encourage fast single malt ageing, and the restaurant is definitely worth a visit.
The particularity of Arran whisky lies in its finish, carried out in a wide variety of casks that previously contained wine (from Champagne, Margaux or Marsala) or even brandy (cognac and calvados).