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Ncn' ean

SCOTCH SINGLE MALT WHISKIES > N

NCN'EAN DISTILLERY also see Drimnin

NcNean is a Western Highland Malt with a capacity of 100.000 Ltres.

Ncn’ean (pronounced Nook-knee-anne), is an abbreviation of Neachneohain, the name of a witch-queen in Scots Gaelic folklore who, according to Sir Walter Scott, ‘rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under her grim banner’. Much like its namesake, Ncn’ean distillery on Scotland’s Morvern peninsula, is very much a leader in its protection of its natural environment, and intentions to operate at the forefront of innovation.

Ncn’ean has been designed as the first fully organic modern distillery in Scotland powered by 100% renewable energy. Wood chips for the biomass boiler are sourced from a local forest, while all by-products are recycled as animal and plant feed on the remote estate on which it lies.

The farm distillery was designed by the late distilling consultant Jim Swan to produce a light, fruity and estery spirit, a character intensified by slow mashes, long fermentations, horizontal lyne arms and shell and tube condensers, with a high, narrow spirit cut.

Experimentation comes in the form of varying yeast strains not usually adopted by distillers, while the wood programme will be focused predominantly on ex-Bourbon and red wine cask maturation, with a small Sherry influence. Two dunnage warehouses, located on the hill behind the distillery, feature temperature regulators to allow Ncn’ean greater control over the flavour generated in cask over time.  

The idea to build a distillery on the grounds of the historic Drimnin Estate came to the Lewis family in 2012, some 10 years after they bought and set about restoring the neglected property. The estate itself had once been Maclean clan territory, and formed part of the Drimnin Castle grounds, but was sold by a bankrupt Charles Maclean in the late 18th century. Following a succession of owners and misfortunes – Drimnin House itself burned down in 1849, its owners meeting unrelated yet tragic and untimely deaths – the estate was rebuilt and eventually restored into holiday lets, a cattle farm and conservation area.

By 2013 the Lewis family’s plans to build a distillery in the historic farm buildings adjacent to Drimnin House were well underway, with daughter Annabel Thomas leaving a job in London to manage the project personally as CEO of the newly established Drimnin Distillery Ltd. Following two investment rounds, which included a government grant, the project was finally completed in March 2017.

While Drimnin distillery became the working title for the project, the family and its private investors were keen to separate the business from the rest of the estate. At the start of 2017 the new name Ncn’ean was chosen – Drimnin Distillery Ltd will soon also be renamed Ncn’ean Distillery Ltd – and on 21 March the first spirit was filled into cask. The distillery officially opened to visitors in July.

The first whisky to be released by Ncn’ean distillery is expected in 2020, although a limited number of individual casks are made available to purchase annually.

CAPACITY (MLPA) i
100.000 Ltrs
CONDENSER TYPE i
Multi-pass shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
66-114 hours
FILLING STRENGTH i
63.3%
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
1
HEAT SOURCE i
Steam from a biomass boiler
MALT SPECIFICATION i
Organic, Scottish, unpeated
MALT SUPPLIER i
Muntons from five organic farms
MASH TUN TYPE i
Semi-lauter
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
71-72%
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
100%
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Lantern
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
3,500
STILLS i
2
WAREHOUSING i
Dunnage on site
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Lantern
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
5,000
WASHBACK CHARGE (L) i
5,000
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
6,650
WASHBACK TYPE i
Stainless steel
WASHBACKS i
4
WATER SOURCE i
Local spring
WORT CLARITY i
High clarity
YEAST TYPE i
Varies, includes Fermentis and
Anchor distillers yeast

Drimnin Distillery Company

NCN'EANNcn'ean
DISTILLERY
One of the new wave of Scottish farm distilleries designed by the late Jim Swan, which is set up to produce a light, fruity and organic single malt spirit.

NCN'EAN DISTILLERY
HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Ncn’ean (pronounced Nook-knee-anne), is an abbreviation of Neachneohain, the name of a witch-queen in Scots Gaelic folklore who, according to Sir Walter Scott, ‘rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under her grim banner’. Much like its namesake, Ncn’ean distillery on Scotland’s Morvern peninsula, is very much a leader in its protection of its natural environment, and intentions to operate at the forefront of innovation.

Ncn’ean has been designed as the first fully organic modern distillery in Scotland powered by 100% renewable energy. Wood chips for the biomass boiler are sourced from a local forest, while all by-products are recycled as animal and plant feed on the remote estate on which it lies.

The farm distillery was designed by the late distilling consultant Jim Swan to produce a light, fruity and estery spirit, a character intensified by slow mashes, long fermentations, horizontal lyne arms and shell and tube condensers, with a high, narrow spirit cut.

Experimentation comes in the form of varying yeast strains not usually adopted by distillers, while the wood programme will be focused predominantly on ex-Bourbon and red wine cask maturation, with a small Sherry influence. Two dunnage warehouses, located on the hill behind the distillery, feature temperature regulators to allow Ncn’ean greater control over the flavour generated in cask over time.

The idea to build a distillery on the grounds of the historic Drimnin Estate came to the Lewis family in 2012, some 10 years after they bought and set about restoring the neglected property. The estate itself had once been Maclean clan territory, and formed part of the Drimnin Castle grounds, but was sold by a bankrupt Charles Maclean in the late 18th century. Following a succession of owners and misfortunes – Drimnin House itself burned down in 1849, its owners meeting unrelated yet tragic and untimely deaths – the estate was rebuilt and eventually restored into holiday lets, a cattle farm and conservation area.

By 2013 the Lewis family’s plans to build a distillery in the historic farm buildings adjacent to Drimnin House were well underway, with daughter Annabel Thomas leaving a job in London to manage the project personally as CEO of the newly established Drimnin Distillery Ltd. Following two investment rounds, which included a government grant, the project was finally completed in March 2017.

While Drimnin distillery became the working title for the project, the family and its private investors were keen to separate the business from the rest of the estate. At the start of 2017 the new name Ncn’ean was chosen – Drimnin Distillery Ltd will soon also be renamed Ncn’ean Distillery Ltd – and on 21 March the first spirit was filled into cask. The distillery officially opened to visitors in July.

The first whisky to be released by Ncn’ean distillery is expected in 2020, although a limited number of individual casks are made available to purchase annually.

ANNABEL THOMAS, NCN’EAN
March 2019
Ncn’ean founder Annabel Thomas chose Scotland’s west coast to open a 100% organic distillery in 2017. Here she tells Kirsten Amor Ncn’ean’s sustainability struggles, potential growth for botanic spirits, and why the timing is right for yeast experimentation.

Ncn'ean founder Annabel Thomas at her distillery
Career change: Thomas started Ncn’ean distillery on the family farm in Drimnin
‘The original idea for Ncn’ean came from two places: one, that I love whisky and I always had a connection with Scotland through my family. But I also felt like there was an opportunity to do Scotch more sustainably and more creatively, and that was what I wanted to achieve.

‘When we first started building the distillery we found loads of obstacles [on our journey] towards sustainability, and we’re still encountering them. The thing I realised is that it is definitely a “journey” rather than an “end goal”.

‘Most of the energy we use in the distillery comes from our biomass boiler, which we wanted to use as we have a source of timber literally right next to the distillery, and we wouldn’t then carry any road miles in getting fuel to us. It took us a long time to get the set-up of the boiler right for distilling; they prefer to operate continuously, whereas we only have one distillation shift a day. We spent a total of nine months tweaking it to get it working as we wanted, which was unexpected.

‘Sourcing organic Scottish barley was more difficult than I expected – there’s actually not that much of it. Not only do you have to find the barley, but you also have to find a maltster who is certified to process it.

‘There’s also all the smaller things we’re now working on, like trying to find more sustainable cleaning products for the distillery. Most people use caustic soda, which is not good in many ways, so we’ve been working hard to find an alternative to that. We’re making sound progress, but it’s not easy.

Sustainably fuelled: Ncn’ean uses woodchips from a nearby timber forest for fuel

‘Ncn’ean botanical spirit was the outcome of lots of different developments we did with our new make spirit. We’re in this beautiful part of remote, wild Scotland, and we have fantastic plants growing all around us.

‘There aren’t many distilleries in Scotland that are working on botanical spirits, but I hope more do. With ours for example, we hope that it’s drunk more like a gin, with a tonic. We also hope that it opens people’s eyes to drinking whisky in a different way.

‘The botanic spirit category is obviously very small at the moment, and the vast majority of the public still don’t know what it is. I hope at the most basic level it will grow. It’s interesting because people understand gin, and maybe this category will give them something more original to drink.

‘It’s too early to start educating people on these spirits, however. The category is still being designed by those that work in it and needs to develop further before we can say to a consumer “this is a botanical spirit”. That’s a challenge that we in the industry will have to face, because consumers will start asking questions and wanting to know the difference between them.

Ncn’ean distillery is located in a remote corner of Scotland’s west coast

‘The biggest surprise for me in the industry as a whole, not having any particular background in whisky myself, is the yeast side. I’ve always been interested in all different types of alcohol, and knowing how passionately brewers feel about their yeast, I was surprised at how little interest there was from the distilling industry overall – particularly at the bigger distilleries. A lot of them use the same yeast in all of their whiskies, and the same strains as each other.

‘Traditionally distillers have approached experimentation through the cask and maturation side of operations, but now that those have been “done”, people are now looking at the underlying spirit. Yeast is such an important part, I can’t help but think we’ll see more and more creativity in this area.

‘Some people have described Ncn’ean as the most remote distillery in Scotland. Unlike other distilleries that are in more touristy areas, we don’t have as many visitors. The plan was never on having a huge chunk of revenue from tours. We are very small and intimate – we have a maximum of 30 visitors a day, which is tiny when compared to others that receive millions a year.

‘The people that come love it, because they get a very personal experience and they get to meet the whole team – they appreciate the “behind the scenes” view.

‘What we have been trying to develop with our whisky is something that enables the underlying spirit to shine through. We put in so much effort to ensure our new make spirit is as delicious as possible, and then the casks just provide extra flavour and maturation, and bring it all together.

‘I want Scotch whisky to be seen as less snobbish, more democratic. We don’t suggest Ncn’ean whisky to be only drunk neat – personally I love whisky in a Highball, and that is one of the things we will suggest as a serving when it comes out next year. We’ve designed it to be unpeated and fruity. If we can persuade people to drink more creatively then we will feel like we have succeeded.

‘Hearing people’s feedback on our work and their support for what we’re trying to do in the industry, particularly with sustainability and being organic, has been amazing. Having those conversations and comments will stick with me for a very long time.’

FIRST FULLY ORGANIC SCOTCH DISTILLERY OPENS
June 2017
Scotland’s ‘first’ 100% organic single malt Scotch whisky distillery has opened on a remote farm estate in the Highlands.

Youthful appearance: Ncn’ean will aim to produce a ‘young, light’ style of spirit
Ncn’ean distillery (pronounced Nook-knee-anne), began producing spirit in March, but will start welcoming visitors to the distillery from July.

Its name is an abbreviation of Neachneohain, a witch-queen in Scots Gaelic folklore who was also referred to as ‘Queen of the Spirits’.

Situated in renovated farm buildings on the remote, historic Drimnin Estate near Oban and Fort William, Ncn’ean – formerly known under its working title of Drimnin distillery – will produce just under 100,000 litres of pure alcohol each year.

Ncn’ean is thought to be the first fully organic Scottish distillery, sourcing only organic barley and local spring water to make its single malt spirit.

It is also one of the greenest distilleries in the country, sourcing all its energy from renewable sources and recycling by-products from the process as cattle feed on the estate’s farm.

The style of single malt whisky produced at Ncn’ean will be light and fruity, with maturation taking place predominantly in ex-Bourbon and red wine casks.

Some experimentation will also take place using alternative yeast strains and temperature regulators in its on-site dunnage warehouses – methods developed for the distillery in collaboration with the late whisky consultant Dr Jim Swan, whose other projects included Kilchoman and the soon-to-open Lindores Abbey.

The distillery is the brainchild of Annabel Thomas, whose parents Derek and Louise Lewis bought Drimnin Estate in 2002.

Thomas, a former strategy consultant in the City of London, was considering her future over a cocktail in 2012 when the idea to build Ncn’ean at her family’s estate came to her.

She said: ‘I always loved Scotch and I felt we had something new to bring to the conversation, but there was also a local drive to what we wanted to do.

‘Drimnin is a very tiny place with not many businesses, so therefore not very much employment. Being able to provide a sustainable business with jobs in an area that otherwise doesn’t have many was always part of the motivation.’

Ncn’ean has employed a team of three distillers, lead by distillery manager Gordon Wood, formerly at nearby Oban distillery. Joining him are distillers Lorna Davidson and Reay Whyte.

Dr Swan had acted as consultant master distiller on the project before his death in March this year.

‘Jim came to Ncn’ean two weeks before he died, and we’d gone through the whole recipe together,’ Thomas said. ‘He was due to come back the week we filled our first barrel, but he never made it.’

Dr Swan worked with Thomas and the Ncn’ean team, which includes managing director Benet Slay, formerly head of Carlsberg UK, to design the distillery and its spirit.

‘There are a couple of things which we are really passionate about,’ Thomas said.

‘One is the environment, and doing things right by nature. We also want to play around with how we make the whisky.

‘We’re going for a relatively young, light style of spirit as a basis, but we have a number of ideas up our sleeve, some of which will be within the realms of Scotch as defined by the SWA, and others will be outside it.

‘We’re young and independent and this gives us the freedom to experiment. We’re exploring new taste profiles every month, seeing what a small-batch craft whisky can deliver.’

Ncn’ean expects to release its first single malt whisky in 2020, when the spirit is three years old. In the meantime, the distillery is offering the opportunity to purchase one of its first barrels at £3,000 for an ex-Bourbon cask, and £3,900 for an ex-wine cask.

The distillery will welcome visitors on a pre-booked basis Monday to Friday, and hopes to establish a multidistillery tour in collaboration with nearby Tobermory, Oban and Ardnamurchan distilleries.

UNINHIBITED BY TRADITION
Annabel started Nc’nean to change the way the world thinks about whisky from Scotland. Her mission was to create a whisky which could exist in harmony with this planet we call home. After leaving her job in London in 2013, she spent four years raising funds and building the distillery from the ground up on the west coast of Scotland. We’ve been distilling since 2017 and we’ve just launched our first ever whisky. We hope you love it as much as we do

PIONEERING SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION
Sustainability runs in our veins. We believe it is our responsibility to constantly improve our impact on this earth in terms of carbon footprint, pollution and biodiversity. We use organic Scottish barley in a distillery powered by renewable energy and recycle 99.97% of our waste. We plan to bottle our whisky in a 100% recycled clear glass bottle (a first in Scotch whisky, we think). Find out more about sustainability and how it drives us here.

EXPERIMENTAL IN NATURE
A philosophy, a way of looking at the world, a curiosity, a willingness to try. Out of this approach, our first two products were born - our Botanical Spirit and our even more adventurous Aged Botanical. Simply asking ‘why’ or ‘what if’ was also the start of our yeast experiments at the distillery: the realisation that most distilleries in Scotland use the same yeast because it produces the highest yield of alcohol

WALK YOUR OWN PATH
The inspiration for our name, Neachneohain, was an ancient Gaelic goddess. She was known as the Queen of Spirits and a fierce protector of nature. Strong and independent, she was never afraid to walk her own path. We try to follow her ethos in everything we do.

NC’ NEAN
ORGANIC
SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Made by Nature not by Rules
46 %
Batch 03
5.040 Bottles
I started NC’NEAN to change the way the world thinks about whisky from Scotland
My Mission was to create a whisky which could exist in Harmonylicious however you drink it, but especially with this planet
we call home. Since 2017, we’ve been distilling whisky with Organic Scottish  Barley,
using 100% Renewable Enery.

Smooth and Elegant, our whisky is easy going and delicious however you drink it, but
especially good with soda i find i can taste citrus, peach, apricot and spice

I hope you can love it as much as we do.
Annabelx

Say it: NC-NEE-AN,
Drink it: As you like.
Our Favourite: Whisky with Six 2 parts NC NEAN, 4 parts soda over Ice with mint sprig

Small Batch Whisky
Organic Scotish Barley
100 % Reneable Energy
100 % Recycled Bottle

Non Chill Filtered

NCNEAN, Drimming, Oban, Scotland

NC’ NEAN
ORGANIC
SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Made by Nature not by Rules
46 %
Batch 04
5.040 Bottles
I started NC’NEAN to change the way the world thinks about whisky from Scotland
My Mission was to create a whisky which could exist in Harmonylicious however you drink it, but especially with this planet
we call home. Since 2017, we’ve been distilling whisky with Organic Scottish  Barley,
using 100% Renewable Enery.

Smooth and Elegant, our whisky is easy going and delicious however you drink it, but
especially good with soda i find i can taste citrus, peach, apricot and spice

I hope you can loe it as much as we do.
Annabelx

Say it: NC-NEE-AN,
Drink it: As you like.
Our Favourite: Whisky with Six 2 parts NC NEAN, 4 parts soda over Ice with mint sprig

Small Batch Whisky
Organic Scotish Barley
100 % Reneable Energy
100 % Recycled Bottle
Non Chill Filtered
NCNEAN, Drimming, Oban, Scotland

NC’ NEAN
ORGANIC
SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Made by Nature not by Rules
46 %
Batch 05
5.040 Bottles
I started NC’NEAN to change the way the world thinks about whisky from Scotland
My Mission was to create a whisky which could exist in Harmonylicious however you drink it, but especially with this planet
we call home. Since 2017, we’ve been distilling whisky with Organic Scottish  Barley,
using 100% Renewable Enery.

Smooth and Elegant, our whisky is easy going and delicious however you drink it, but
especially good with soda i find i can taste citrus, peach, apricot and spice

I hope you can loe it as much as we do.
Annabelx

Say it: NC-NEE-AN,
Drink it: As you like.
Our Favourite: Whisky with Six 2 parts NC NEAN, 4 parts soda over Ice with mint sprig

Small Batch Whisky
Organic Scotish Barley
100 % Reneable Energy
100 % Recycled Bottle
Non Chill Filtered
NCNEAN, Drimming, Oban, Scotland

Beautifully situatedon the Drimnin Estate on Morvern Peninsula the distilleri has a astouning vieuw tpwards Mull. The Estate was bought by Derek and Louise
Lewis in 2001 and their daughter Annabel Thomasis the founder of the distillery.
One of the fundamentals when it was build was to make it as sustainable as possible.The boiler   fired by wood chips was bought in from Germany. The
ashes from the boiler isused to fertllise the  distillery garden> The Barley is Scottish and certified Organic and the waste heat is recycled through the
temperature controlled warehouse.

The distillery came on stream in March 2017 and is equipped with a one ton semi lauter mash tun. Trials with different types of yeast champagne
red wine etc to create fifferent flavour  profiles is part of the work. There are four stainless steel wash backs and the fermentation time is between
65 and 115 hours.

There is a 5000 ltre wash still and a 3500 ltre spirit still, but with slightly descending lyne arms and sub coolers. The owner isorking on two basic
recipes of fruity whisky, "new Style"to be enjoyed young and öld Style" with lower cut points and destined for a longer maturation.

The plan for 2020 is to do five mashes per weekand 94000 litres of pure alcohol

A botanical spirit including wild herbs and flowers foraged from the surroundings of the distillery was launched in autumn 2018.

The first single malt Ainnir matured in red wine and American Bourbon barrels was released in September 2020. In March 2020 a funding of more
than 1.9 million pound was secured to help with the continued growth as well as buying bottling equipment

Annabel Thomas, founder of modern farm distillery Ncn’ean, has found a creative use for her new make. ‘Historically there has been a perception in the industry that it’s a bit worthless unless you put it in a cask,’ she says.

‘I feel that is a shame, because if you put enough care and effort into it, you can create something really special. We decided to make the botanical spirit because we had so many compliments on our new make.’

Launched in 2018, Ncn’ean botanical spirit is a re-distillation of the distillery’s own pot still spirit with juniper, coriander, grapefruit and locally-sourced herbs. Though it makes a natural pairing with tonic water, this creation is legally distinct from gin because it isn’t based on neutral alcohol.

However, such botanical spirits are not just a novel alternative to gin. Lindores Abbey in Fife also produces a botanical aqua vitae, which it describes as being part of a local distilling tradition that stretches back to the 15th century.

Long before the emergence of what we now call whisky, there was usquebaugh, an early example of Scottish distilling made by flavouring alcohol with herbs and spices. This ancestral spirit was made in pot stills on a small scale, for medicinal and recreational purposes

QUEEN OF SPIRITS
Our name is an abbreviation of Neachneohain, known as the Queen of Spirits in Gaelic legend, and our guiding star. She was a huntress, a fierce protector of nature and never afraid to walk her own path. We try to follow this ethos in everything we do.

OUR HOME: THE MORVERN PENINSULA
The distillery is located on the beautiful and wild Drimnin Estate which offers long stretches of coastline, well sign-posted walks and plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities (including White Tailed and Golden Eagles, Scottish Wildcat, Pine Martens and Otters). More details about the estate and accommodation options, including a bed and breakfast, are available on the estate website.

Just 12 miles down the road, Lochaline is the main village on the Morvern peninsula. It is served by a regular ferry service to Mull and

EXPERIMENTAL IN NATURE
A philosophy, a way of looking at the world, a curiosity, a willingness to try. Out of this approach, our first two products were born - our Botanical Spirit and our even more adventurous Aged Botanical. Simply asking ‘why’ or ‘what if’ was also the start of our yeast experiments at the distillery: the realisation that most distilleries in Scotland use the same yeast because it produces the highest yield of alcohol.

Protectors of nature, net zero distillers
We are extremely lucky to be located in an area of the world which has outstanding natural beauty, and this gives us the everyday motivation to preserve and enhance the land we inhabit. But if that is the carrot, the stick is the climate crisis, and we believe it is incumbent on every business, however large or small, to measure and reduce their impact as quickly as possible.

And since we see this as our biggest responsibility, we have spent the last year measuring our first ever carbon footprint. We are super chuffed to announce that we are now officially certified as net zero for whisky production. It's been a long old journey from building our renewably powered distillery, to bottling our first whisky in recycled glass, to collecting all our data on emissions and beyond - but one that is so important not only for us, but for the wider world of spirits. We've included a bit more detail on our net zero achievements below, but for our full sustainability report, click here.

To celebrate our news, we are giving you 15% off all orders on our website this week. Just click here to shop now with the code ZERO15. Offer ends Sunday 11:59pm.

Introducing Aon, our first single cask bottling
Ahead of our first seasonal release in October, we bring a new series of whiskies into the world, Aon. Aon means one in Gaelic and will be our collection of single cask releases. Each cask will be hand-picked because it is delicious, unique and unrepeatable. For those of you in the UK, our first is an exclusive with Selfridges and brings together our shared values of innovation and sustainability, plus our joint love of delicious whisky! Matured in a first fill ex-bourbon cask before moving to a first fill ex-tequila cask, Aon 17-329 is bright and wild with notes of toasted vanilla, juicy peaches and bittersweet tea. Our use of tequila barrels is particularly exciting, since we are the first Single Malt Scotch Whisky to be bottled from an ex-tequila cask! There are only 289 bottles to go around, many of which will be available online shortly, but to get your hands on a bottle right away head into Selfridges stores in either London, Manchester or Birmingham. We will update our instagram, twitter and facebook channels as soon as bottles are available from the Selfridges website.

An even bigger announcement...
Along with our first single cask release, we have even bigger news! We are excited to be bringing you our first seasonal release on the 23rd of October in the UK, with bottles reaching Europe a little bit later. We will be releasing 4504 bottles of some of our early cask experiments which have been chosen by our very own Queen of Spirits, Annabel. As our nearest and dearest you will receive priority access 12 hours prior to the general public, on the 22nd of October. We will be letting you know more information nearer the time.

A win for our whisky
We are excited to announce that we've won our first ever Great Taste Award. The judges have been sipping away on all sorts of spirits over the last few months, and we are pleased to say that they awarded us a gold star. Comments from the judges included 'lovely pear drop nose', 'sweet clean single malt' and 'a rich but elegant malt with a hint of spice'.

We are hiring!
Fancy joining our small team of intrepid adventurers in the western highlands of Scotland? We're on the lookout for a Highlands and Islands based Operations Executive to help make our supply chain run like clockwork. Please note there are a few key criteria - to fit the bill you must be a recent graduate and based in the Highlands and Islands. If it sounds like your dream role or you know anyone who would be interested, click here to see the full job spec and for how to apply.
With love from Team Nc'nean x

Aon news
Hello everyone, we are here with an announcement about Aon 17-329, the Selfridges exclusive single cask release. After a couple of days of trying to get the allocated bottles for online sales up on their website, Selfridges are still experiencing a technical issue. This means that the bottles will not be going online this weekend. We are extremely sorry about this – we want nothing more than all our UK friends to be able to have a fair chance at accessing these small releases.

Half of the allocated online bottles are being shipped to the London store for telephone only orders. Please call 0207 318 2375 to place an order at 10am tomorrow morning (Saturday 2nd Oct) when they open. Once the bottles are sold out there will be a waiting list for the other half of the bottles if the online issue persists. Please note Selfridges will be limiting purchases to one bottle per order and the bottles can only be delivered to the UK. Once again we apologise to any faithful fan who didn’t manage to get their hands on a bottle.

The good news is that we have our first seasonal release coming up in a couple of weeks which will be larger and more widely available, and of course available to purchase from our own website. Since you are signed up to this newsletter you will be getting priority access to these bottles.

Aon 17-329 is also the first of many single cask releases that we plan to release, so there should be plenty more to go around in future both in the UK and across Europe. To those of you who managed to get your hands on a bottle, we really hope you love the spirit as much as we do.

Say hello to Quiet Rebels
Later this week, we are excited to be launching our brand new series of whiskies, Quiet Rebels. This series is all about the people who make Nc’nean what it is, about our small team of eco-conscious drinks fanatics on a mission to bring together a new generation of Scotch drinkers. Annabel will be kicking things off with her very own selection of some of our early cask experiments. We will be sending you more info on Friday, but it is a small release and is a different cask profile to our core expression, and it will be priced at £65.95 a bottle.

What you need to know ahead of Friday
There will be 4504 bottles of new and delicious whisky to go around and these are being divided up between our own website, UK retailers (both online and in store), the distillery shop and our European partners. As our closest friends, you will be receiving exclusive access ahead of the general public, so please listen up for more details.

If you are based in the UK and signed up to this newsletter you will be able to shop via your unique link which we will be sending out at to you at 5pm on Friday 22nd of October. Bottles of this release will be restricted to one per person, though you will be able to add other items to your basket.

If you are based in the UK and miss out on the allocation on Friday evening, a small portion of the bottles will be reserved for the general public launch on our website on Saturday 23rd October at 9am.

If you miss out on both of these opportunities, we will be sharing a list of retail partners in the email on Friday at 5pm. There will also be some bottles available at the distillery for locals, so do pop by and pick up a bottle. Please only use this option if you live locally.

If you are based in either Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium or Italy, there will opportunities for you to be able to buy a bottle through bricks and mortar stores and online. In Germany, we will be launching on the 2nd of November with our other European partners following a couple of weeks later.

Going for (double) gold!
Making whisky in the most sustainable way possible is our bread and butter, but what would be the point without making spirits which taste delicious too. We are spirit nuts, and that's why we're super chuffed to announce that our Organic Single Malt has won a double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition - one of the most prestigious drinks competitions in the world!

Our prices are going up
If you buy directly from our website, we have some news for you. It goes without saying that the world has been rather unsteady over the last few years. Lockdowns, fuel prices and the transport crisis all contributing to a drastic increase in both material and transport costs. Our packaging costs alone have increased by 15% and will continue to go up over the next 12 months. We've spent the last year absorbing these costs ourselves, but the time has come to put the prices of our spirits up.
We know this isn't the news you had hoped for, so we have made some other improvements on our website. Firstly, from tomorrow we will remove all shipping costs, making shipping free across the board. Additionally, from Thursday we will be rewarding you for buying more - £5 off every bottle of spirits you add to your basket when you buy more than one bottle. Please note this offer does not apply to the 'Taste of Nc'nean' sample pack. From midday on Thursday 5th of May our website pricing will be as follows:
Single Malt Scotch Whisky (with gift box): £59.95
Single Malt Scotch Whisky (without gift box): £56.95
Botanical Spirit: £37.50
Aged Botanical Spirit Set: £54.95
Taste of Nc'nean Sample Pack: £20.95

Our European journey
Excitingly we are now available in 11 European countries outside of the UK! We know that plenty of you are following from further afield, so we are here with an update for where you can pick up our spirits across Europe. You can now buy our products in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Click the links above to shop on line in your respective country.

Walk on the wild side
Our second foraging and cocktail day is taking place on the 10th of June. In collaboration with forager and medical herbalist Clare Holahan (West Highland Herbal), we will host 10 guests for a day of foraging, wild cocktail making and learning about the most intricate parts of our distillery. For more details on pricing, where to stay, and how to book click here.

We hope you love the new whisky as much as we do!
With love from Team Nc'nean x

The next evolution of our single malt
We are here with some exciting news.
Since we began filling casks in 2017, we’ve been quietly putting aside a small amount of our organic spirit for maturation in Oloroso Sherry Butts. These large casks take a little longer to develop than our usual choice of casks, but once mature, they produce a powerful fruity, rich and intense whisky. We’ve been watching their progress carefully, and they are finally at the stage we feel we can incorporate them into our single malt.
So it is time for the next evolution of Nc’nean’s single malt. After much testing and tasting (it’s a hard life), our future batches of single malt will be a slightly different combination of casks: a little less STR red wine (55%), a little more ex-American Whiskey (43%) and the addition of 2% from Oloroso Sherry Butts. The result showcases all the creamy, citrusy, fruity flavours of Nc’nean, with a touch more fullness and depth. A small change that makes all the difference in your glass.
To mark this recipe change, we have changed the names of our batches from the linear numerical system to a unique coded system, so you can still read about how each batch is made on the batch page of our website. Keeping batch codes on our bottles is really important to us. Transparency is key, and we believe that everyone should be able to understand everything that’s gone into making our whisky.

April 2023
Our new Huntress release: Woodland Candy
It's not long until we can share the eagerly anticipated second release in our spring series with you. Our Huntress series is all about the ethos of discovery, about our ongoing pursuit of new flavours in whisky making. The innovative and intriguing 2023 bottling, Woodland Candy, encompasses all of this - it's bold and creamy with flavours of buttery toffee, forest fruits and a touch of herbal spice.
It'll be the first time we launch a whisky which features a special four yeast recipe - the introduction of red and white wine yeasts brings a riot of flavour and aroma, reminiscent of our home here on the wild and magical west coast of Scotland.

What you need to know
This delicious new bottling, nestled in its dusk like 90% recycled card gift tube, will be launching on Friday 21st April, with our UK based nearest and dearest getting early access from Thursday 20th April at 10am. Don't fret, we will send you an email on the day with a unique link letting you know how to shop. For those of you outside of the UK, bottles will be live in stores and with online retailers in Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, and Poland from the 21st.
And once you've got your bottle, please join us on our first live online tasting to celebrate Woodland Candy's release on the 2nd of May at 7pm (UK time). Join our founder Annabel and our blender Matt as they take us through the journey to creating the unique four yeast recipe. Click here for the YouTube link and click 'Notify' to be reminded of the start time as we go live.

Kabn: off-grid eco retreats on the shores of Loch Fyne
We've paired up with Kabn, a truly environmentally friendly solution to your luxury self-catered Scottish holiday. Little bottles of our organic whisky greet each guest staying in these boutique retreats in nature. Located on the shores of Loch Fyne they are the perfect escape from the distractions of everyday life. Bespoke, architecturally designed, solar powered off grid cabins featuring floor to ceiling glass, sustainably sourced timber and a minimalist interior. Kabn's cabins have been architecturally designed to immerse guests in the natural surroundings, whilst maintaining privacy, seclusion and tranquillity. Even the luxury bed linen is organic and Fairtrade certified. Click here to find out more and book your stay now.
£88.95 GBP

HUNTRESS 2022
Introducing our eagerly anticipated second release from our spring series of whiskies, Huntress. This series is all about the ethos of discovery. About innovation and our ongoing pursuit of delicious flavours in whisky making.
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This 2023 release, Woodland Candy, is our most intriguing and innovative yet. It's bold and creamy - flavours of buttery toffee, forest fruits and a touch of herbal spice. It’s the first time we’ve launched a whisky which features a special four yeast recipe. The introduction of red and white wine yeasts add a riot of flavour and aroma - flavours which will transport you to the ancient mossy woodlands of our home here on the wild west coast of Scotland.
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4556 bottles / 48.5% abv / 70cl / Certified organic
Natural colour / Non-chill filtered.
Discount codes not valid on seasonal releases.

The Queen of Spirits

Nc’nean (pronounced nc-nee-an), is an abbreviation of Neachneohain – the Queen of Spirits in Gaelic legend. She was a fierce protector of nature and never afraid to walk her own path, much like founder and CEO of Nc’nean Distillery, Annabel Thomas.

Annabel’s dream of distilling whisky using organic barley and 100% renewable energy became a reality in 2017. Today Nc’nean’s sustainability credentials are second to none: it was the first whisky distillery in the UK to be powered solely by renewable energy and use 100% recycled clear glass bottles– a first for the premium spirits industry.

In 2022 the Scottish company was certified as a B Corp. Their extremely high score went on to secure inclusion as a 2022 Best for the World™ B Corp™ in recognition of exceptional positive impact for environmental stewardship, ranking in the top 5% of all B Corps in their corresponding size group. Green Business Journal spoke to Annabel about her ‘green-spirited’ journey.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I gave up my job as a management consultant in London 10 years ago to build the business from scratch. Whilst the distillery is based on the west coast of Scotland (on my parents’ farm), I am based in London with my husband and two young children.

What is Nc’Nean’s background? Do you consider yourself a rule breaker in the world of Scotch?

I wanted to start Nc’nean to create a modern, forward-looking Scotch. One that proved that sustainability could be at the heart of the industry. One that encouraged people to drink whisky however they like. One that explored different flavours within Scotch, concentrating on the spirit side of things, rather than focused so much on casks. I don’t think I would describe me or Nc’nean as a rule breaker, but perhaps gently shaking things up from the inside out?

How did you raise the necessary funds as a startup? Was it a struggle?

It was indeed tough. I think fundraising almost always is, but even more so as a completely new, unproven business, and as a whisky distillery, given the long-term, capital-intensive nature of the business. I think the key to raising the money was having a comprehensive business plan and perseverance. It took 2 years, we spoke to about 800 investors and ended up with about 45.

How sustainable is your business… starting with building works.

We have tried to make it as sustainable as possible from the start. First of all by restoring the old stone buildings using natural, traditional materials such as lime wash. We did have to build a new boiler barn though as the farm barn we’d been hoping to re-use had asbestos in it which is a big no-no. But the build was definitely not perfect – we had to use a lot of concrete, as often in industrial facilities, and steel.

During the build-phase we accommodated as many of the builders on site as possible, reducing travel mileage and using on-site equipment where possible.

The heated parts of the building are heated by waste heat from our biomass boiler and our water is gravity fed from a natural spring above the distillery.

What about your production processes?

We use biomass as our primary energy source. We chose this because there is a commercial forest just one mile from the distillery, we know the trees that are harvested are replanted and, for our location, this was the most sustainable option. We also buy in a small amount of renewable electricity.

We only buy organic Scottish barley (the agricultural ingredient used for making malt whisky). As organic farmers, synthetic fertilisers are not allowed so they use a rotation system including livestock to keep the fertility of the soil high (thereby also improving the soil quality, and reducing carbon emissions)

There is a lot of water used in distilling. A small portion of that goes into the actual whisky but most of it is used to condense the vapour after distillation. Instead of sourcing this ‘cooling water’ from a river or using a cooling tower which is both energy and chemically intensive, we dug a huge pond.

We met with quite a lot of resistance to this idea from engineers, but persevered, and I’m glad to say it worked out. We now have a large pond, into which warm water goes at one end and cold water – cooled naturally – comes out the other. It’s topped up by rainwater from the warehouse roofs. This is very unusual in the distilling industry.

We were also the first whisky (possibly spirit?) in the UK to use 100% recycled clear glass from a wonderful company called Estal. By using this glass, we save 40% of the carbon emissions of a typical clear glass bottle.

Best for the World B Corp is superb recognition for your team’s work. What does this mean to you?

It’s brilliant. We’ve made a lot of difficult decisions along the way (perhaps doing the thing that is not obvious, risky or more expensive), in order to do what we felt like was the right thing and recognition such as this is fantastic.

I don’t see sustainability as a competition, so I am not particularly concerned about ‘maintaining high standards’ in that sense – albeit we are working very hard to continue to improve our sustainability – with a particular focus on our scope 3 emissions.

What have been the highest and lowest points of your career to date?

I think one of the high points must be the bottling of our first whisky and the reception it got in the whisky world – we auctioned the first ten bottles for charity and the first one went for £41k!

The low points – well, many too! That is the reality of business I think, especially young businesses. There was probably a concentration of challenges during the build phase – trying to get the large biomass boiler down the small road to the distillery, finding the right set of men and machines to dig and line the cooling pond, and trying to get the plant commissioned.

The onset of covid was also tough – in what was our launch year, having to rip up our entire launch plan and start from scratch seemed like a complete crisis at the time, though turned out ok in the end.

Where do you see Nc’nean in 10 years’ time?

I hope it will be a better known, even more sustainable version of what we are today – pioneering sustainable production and encouraging the whisky industry to embrace diversity of people and drinking styles.

What advice would you give to like-minded female would-be entrepreneurs?

I think if you really feel passionately about something, and have a healthy dose of perseverance, then do it! But make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, and expect everything to take twice, maybe three times as long as you expect!

Today's the day, Quiet Rebels Gordon is here
The third limited release in our Quiet Rebels series is here, and this time, our distillery manager Gordon has taken the reins. Gordon believes that a great whisky should leave your mouth looking for more, and this delicious combination of STR red wine, ex-sherry and ex-Rivesaltes casks certainly does just that. It’s velvety, rich and creamy with flavours of crème brûlée, spiced plum jam and candied orange peel.
Quiet Rebels Gordon bottles are £79.95, and a small portion of them are available exclusively to those of you based in the UK now via our website, just click the button below to place your order. Please note that discount codes are not valid on seasonal release.

Gordon's Story
Gordon is our distillery manager, and after a long career with one of Scotland’s whisky giants, he waved goodbye to them back in 2017 and made his way even further up the west coast to Morvern, to lead our whisky production. Since then Gordon has been passing on his years of experience to our growing team of distillers, helping shape our team and our spirit as we know it today. He is so at home on the west coast that he is rarely seen wearing more than a t-shirt, even in winter!
As well as distilling, Gordon enjoys nothing more than being in the great outdoors for long walks with his dog Barley, or taking in the sights and scenery of Scotland with his family.

Where else to find Quiet Rebels Gordon
This delicious new bottling can also be found at various bricks and mortar stores and online retailers across the UK and Europe from tomorrow, with availability outside of Europe following later this year. You'll be able to find Quiet Rebels Gordon soon in the UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and Norway. And later this year in Italy, New Zealand and the US.

QUIET REBELS GORDON: SHOP NOW FOR UK DELIVERY

Join us tonight: a tasting live from Drimnin
Hello everyone! Just a little reminder that our live online tasting to celebrate the release of our latest Quiet Rebels bottling is happening tonight at 7pm UK time. Please join our founder Annabel, distillery manager Gordon and blender Matt as they discuss Gordon's rich and jammy whisky live from our little distillery in Drimnin. The tasting will run on YouTube (click here for the link), and additionally across multiple channels including Facebook and LinkedIn. Feel free to join from wherever you are in the world - just grab your bottle and a tasting glass, we can't wait to have you with us.

Nc’nean Distillery Limited has secured a Virgin Money funding package with the backing of UK Government department, UK Export Finance (UKEF), to help the independent distillery grow in North American markets.

The funding package from Virgin Money will help Nc’nean as it continues to grow and move into new international markets. The US and Canada will continue to be a key growth area for the distillery, as its Organic Single Malt becomes available in more states across both countries.

Annabel Thomas, CEO of Nc’nean Distillery, said: “Our partnership with Virgin Money has been critical to Nc’nean as we develop and grow the business, and this recent funding package has been fantastic to support our expansion to new markets.”

UKEF supported Virgin Money in providing a tailored funding package, issuing a General Export Facility (GEF) loan guarantee which covered 80% of the financing and enabled Virgin Money to complete the transaction.

The GEF product is a flexible government-supported scheme that helps UK export businesses to access working capital facilities, helping to improve cash flow or speed up international trade growth.

Aon 17- 408, a new limited edition Tequila cask whisky
A rich and full single cask whisky with a creamy texture, available across the globe. Flavours of almonds, Padron peppers and light wood spice. Aon means one in Gaelic and represents our collection of single cask bottlings. Each cask has been hand-picked because it is delicious, unique and unrepeatable. Our latest limited edition spirit has been released in partnership with the Whisky Exchange. A bottling based on a shared love of unique, small batch spirits. Aon 17-408 has been bottled at cask strength, filled first into a first fill ex-Bourbon cask in November 2017, and then into an ex-Tequila cask in May 2021. Available for delivery internationally at thewhiskyexchange.com or find in Whisky Exchange shops in London.
We have some more single cask releases launching soon in various countries, including Scotland, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, Canada and the US. Keep an eye on our socials for more info.

The perfect gift for the outdoor adventurer
Our new Hot Toddy set, the perfect gift for the outdoor adventurer. Complete with a full bottle of our signature organic single malt, our heatproof botanical flask and our very own delicious Hot Toddy recipe. Click the button below for UK delivery via The Whisky Shop, or here to buy in Germany and here in Switzerland.

A cask strength expression of our signature whisky
We will soon be launching a small batch of cask strength whisky. The same recipe as our flagship single malt, but bottled at 59.6% abv, the higher strength of this whisky really brings out bolder fruity notes of juicy peaches, tangy lemons and a finish of spiced rye bread. It is already available to buy from our distillery shop in Drimnin, and will also be available to buy in spirits stores in Germany from December 5th. This is a trial run for us, so we’re excited to hear what you think of this new project – if you like what you see we’ll be considering rolling this out to other markets next year! Please note, bottles are not available for mail order from the distillery, only from the distillery shop itself. To book in for a visit, click here.

Nc'nean x Timberyard, our first ex-Madeira cask
Our final single cask release of 2023, Aon 17-160, is here, and we are so excited about this one. In joint partnership with the incredible Timberyard Restaurant and Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh, we are delighted to introduce this deliciously bright fruity ex-Madeira single cask, which has flavours of candied fruits, roasted cashews and Chantilly cream. First filled into an ex-Bourbon cask in 2017 during our very first year of distilling, then then transferred into an ex-Madeira cask earlier in 2023, it has a lovely soft texture and a distinct rose chestnut colour. Just 261 bottles of this cask strength bottling have been made.

If you haven’t heard of Timberyard, it’s a must visit. It’s a family run, Michelin Star restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh, which gives true respect to nature and produce by sourcing local artisan produce from the best of Scotland’s larder. Its extensive whisky collection explores unusual expressions from well-known distillers, and we are chuffed to be part of its cellar with this unique whisky.
Just 213 bottles of this limited edition cask are available to buy now [LINK], exclusively through Royal Mile Whiskies. A retailer who have become one of the most respected whisky merchants in the world, and who have supported our small distillery from the get go. Click here to shop now, available for international delivery.

The remaining 48 bottles will be available to try at Timberyard from today. Click here to book a table.

A Nc'nean special at the new Royal Cocktail Exchange
We've got a refreshing, herbal spiced highball on the menu at London's hottest new spot, the Royal Cocktail Exchange. From the founders of The Cocktail Trading Company and Murder Inc, The Royal Cocktail Exchange is a dual level bar showcasing their more experimental side downstairs. Upstairs however, is a pub in every sense of the word - a local for some but open to all, and a business founded not with profit as its primary goal, but rather to make people feel welcome. Click here to book a table now, or just pop in to try the Nc'nean special "On The Sesh-uan".

There's a new whisky on the horizon
Chosen by Fife Arms whisky specialist Matt Morrison
A new year is dawning. A new whisky is on the horizon. An incredibly special single cask chosen by a very talented person. In just under a week's time we will be bringing you this deliciously buttery and creamy limited release, Aon 17-193.
A single cask whisky made up of just 288 bottles, of which 258 will be available to buy in the UK and only from our website. We are especially excited, because this cask has been chosen by the winner of our 2023 industry cocktail competition - the brilliant Matt Morrison, whisky specialist and bartender at Bertie's Whisky Bar at The Fife Arms. The remainder of the bottles will be available to taste at Bertie's very soon.
Matt has been working at the beautiful boutique Fife Arms Hotel for just shy of three years now. His wildly innovative approach and deep understanding of his ingredients (including foraged Penny Bun mushrooms) led him to win our contest judged on taste, sustainability and hospitality.
Matt finds he can taste spiced banana bread, lemon balm and vanilla ice cream, three of his favourite flavours in whisky. Read on to find out how you can get your hands on a bottle next week.

How to get your hands on a bottle
This release will be only be available to buy from our website (where we only ship to UK addresses), or to try at Bertie's Whisky Bar at The Fife Arms. But don't panic if you're not based in the UK - we have more single cask releases on their way to mainland Europe and North America in the coming months. Keep an eye out on our Instagram page for more details.
We will be releasing just 258 of these bottles on Burns Night, 25th January at midday, with the remainder making their way to The Fife Arms in Braemar shortly after. We will send out an email to let you know when bottles go live online, so if you're signed up to this newsletter there's nothing you need to do other than keep your eyes peeled!
Please note, as a portion of these bottles are being sold in a bar, Aon 17-193 will come without a gift tube.

Out now: Aon 17-193 by Matt Morrison of The Fife Arms
Spiced banana bread, lemon balm and vanilla ice cream. A truly delicious, creamy and buttery ex-Bourbon cask hand-picked by the brilliant Matt Morrison, whisky specialist and bartender at The Fife Arms.
Matt is the winner of our 2023 bartender cocktail competition, and has been working at the beautiful boutique Fife Arms hotel for just shy of three years now. His wildly innovative approach and deep understanding of his ingredients (including foraged Penny Bun mushrooms) led him to win the the contest.
258 bottles of this limited release are available to buy now from our website, with the remaining bottles making their way to The Fife Arms where they will be available to taste at Bertie's Whisky Bar. As a portion of these bottles are being sold in a bar, Aon 17-193 will come without a gift tube.

SHOP NOW: AON 17-193


Please note, discount codes are not valid on limited releases.







 






 





































































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