From the rugged western shores of the Isle of Skye
comes a richly flavoured maritime malt with a
warming afterglow, so easy to enjoy yet, like Skye
itself so hard to leave
Bottled in 2013
Certified by The Talisker Distillery, Carbost, Isle of Skye
The Western Islands Skye TALISKER (1830)
Carbost, Isle of Skye. Licentiehouder: Dailuaine - Talisker Distilleries Ltd. Onderdeel van Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (S.M.D.) De maltdivisie van United Distillers Ltd. Eigendom Guinness.
De gebroeders Hugh en Kenneth MacAskill kwamen in 1825 van Eigg naar Skye en voerden het hier nieuwe systeem in om land te huren, de kleine boeren (crofter) weg te jagen en schapen van het Cheviot ras op het land te laten grazen.
Er was juist ontdekt dat dit ras de strenge winters op de Hebriden goed kon doorstaan, en het houden van schapen bracht meer geld op dan wat mensen konden opbrengen met het verzamelen van zeewier, (kelp), tot dan het hoofdmiddel van bestaan op de eilanden in de Hebriden.
Kelp werd gebruikt in de glasindustrie, en de 'keipers' moesten van de landeigenaren de zeewier verzamelen die de oogst tegen een door hun vastgestelde prijs afnamen en doorverkochten.
In 1825 verwierven de twee broers de rechten om Talisker House te huren van Colonel MacLeod of MacLeod, eigenaar van Skye.
De naam stamt van het Keltische Talamh Sgeir, wat echo rots betekent.
In 1830 werd de distilleerderij gesticht door de MacAskill's die ze de naam Talisker gaven.
Kenneth MacAskill, die Talisker leidde stierf in 1854.
Zijn broer Hugh, die Calgary Castle en het landgoed Mornish op Muil verwierf stierf in 1863.
Hugh's schoonzoon, Donald MacLennon werd huurder van Talisker, maar door extreem slecht weer en daardoor misoogsten in de jaren 1830 - 1840 sloten veel distilleerderijen en MacLennon ging bankroet.
Omstreeks 1868 was J.R.W. Anderson de huurder van Talisker die wegens fraude met de handel in whisky, die hij niet bezat maar wel verkocht, in de gevangenis belandde en bankroet ging.
Talisker werd verkocht voor E 1.810.
De nieuwe eigenaars waren Alexander Grigor Allan, deelgenoot in Grigor & Young, juridisch adviseurs, en één van de eigenaars van Glenlossie en Roderick Kemp, wijn- en drankenhandelaar te Aberdeen.
Zij investeerden enorm in Talisker door uitbreidingen en moderniseringen. Talisker produceerde toen 160.000 liter spirit per jaar.
In 1892 gingen Allan en Kemp uit elkaar, omdat MacLeod of MacLeod, eigenaar van Skye niet toestaan dat er een aanleg pier zou worden gebouwd bij Talisker.
Kleine stoomboten 'puffers' moesten op afstand van de kust blijven om te lossen en laden, dat soms midden in de nacht, dat bracht verliezen en gevaren mee.
Kemp stappte uit, Allan bleef. Talisker werd gewaardeerd op E 25.070 en Allan betaalde Kemp E 12000 voor zijn deel.
Roderick Kemp kocht Macallan.
Allan stierf in 1895 en zijn erven droegen de licentie over aan The Talisker Distillery Co, Ltd.
In 1898 fuseerden The Talisker Distillery Co, Ltd met The Dailuaine Distillery Co, Ltd en gingen verder als Dailuaine - Talisker Distilleries Co, Ltd. Directeur en groot aandeelhouder werd Thomas Mackenzie.
Er werd uitgebreid en in 1900 kwam de pier en een tramweg tussen de distilleerderij en pier werd aangelegd.
Toen Mackenzie in 1916 stierf kwam een meerderheids belang in handen van een consortium van John Dewar & Sons Ltd, W.P. Lowrie & Company Ltd, een dochteronderneming van James Buchanan & Company Ltd, The Distillers Company Ltd en John Walker & Sons Ltd.
In 1925 fuseerden deze ondernemingen tot The Distillers Company Ltd en Dailuaine - Talisker Distilleries Ltd werd hiervan een onderdeel.
Tot 1928 werd het drievoudig distilleersysteem toegepast. Talisker werd gesloten van 1941 tot 1945.
Op 22 November 1960 ging een groot deel van Talisker in vlammen op en met de herbouw werd ook de layout van Talisker verbeterd. Talisker heropende in 1962.
Sinds 1972 worden de vijf ketels, twee wash stills en drie spirit stills met stoom verhit. Ook in 1972 verdween de vloermouterij.
De kantoren, het huis van de manager en lagerpakhuis No. 3 zijn de enige gebouwen van voor 1960. In 1988 werd een bezoekerscentrum geopend. In 1997 werd geheel verbouwd.
De vijf met stoomverhitte ketels geven de distilleerderij een kapaciteit van 1 miljoen liter spirit per jaar. Het proceswater komt van de Cnoc nan Speireag en is heel turf houdend, het koelwater van de Carbost Burn.
Talisker wordt uitgebracht in de serie 'Classic Malts' en 'Distillers Edition' Jaarlijks worden er 50.000 dozen als single malt whisky verkocht.
De Mash tun is 7.7 ton. ER staan zes Wash backs van elk 50.000 liter. De twee Wash stills hebben een inhoud van elk 10.000 liter, de drie Spirit stills elk 7479 liter en worden met stoom verhit.
Talisker heeft geen distilleerderij kat, maar een hond, de Golden Retriever Glen.
Guinness nam Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd in 1986 over en in 1987 The Distillers Company Ltd. Beiden tegen hun zin. In 1988 werden beide groepen van bedrijven samengevoegd en de nieuwe naam werd United Distillers Ltd.
Op 12 Mei 1997 wordt de fusie bekend gemaakt tussen Guinness en Grand Metropolitan. Op 22 Oktober 1997 wordt de nieuwe naam van de gefuseerden bekend gemaakt: Diageo.
Op 31 Maart 1988 wordt het ginmerk Bombay en het whiskymerk Dewar gekocht door Bacardi Martini voor E 1,5 miljard. Het afstoten van de twee merken was een voorwaarde van de autoriteiten in de V.S. voor goedkeuring van de fusie. Onderdeel van deze verkoop houdt ook in de overname van de distilleerderijen Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie en Royal Brackla door Bacardi Martini.
Balmenach wordt in December 1997 verkocht aan Inver House.
Charlie Smith, de distilleerderij manager gaat met pensioen en wordt opgevogd door William McDougal. Charlie Smith was drie jaar manager van Talisker en was hiervoor manager van Dufftown, Cardhu en Glenkinchie.
Augustus 2007 Ter gelegenheid van het tienjarige bestaan van de Vrienden van de Classic Malts wordt een 12 jaar oude Talisker uitgebracht.
CLASSIC MALTS OF SCOTLAND October 2005 De Classic Malts of Scotland serie, bestaande uit: Glenkinchie 10 years old, Dalwhinnie 15 years old, Cragganmore 12 years old, Oban 14 years old, Talisker 10 years old, Lagavulin 16 years old
verandert van samenstelling Oban 14 year old wordt vervangen door Glen Elgin 12 years old, Lagavulin 16 years old wordt vervangen door Caol Ila 12 years old Dit komt omdat de betrokken distilleerderijen de produktie niet meer aankunnen.
CLASSIC MALT SELECTION tegelijkertijd wordt onder de naam Classic Malts Selection een 3- Bottle Plinth uitgebracht met: Glen Elgin 12 years old, Talisker 10 years old, Caol Ila 12 years old
Glen Elgin Speyside 12 years old FRUITY Natuur geuren 15 % Fruitigheid 60 % Turf 10 % Houttonen 15 % deze malt kenmerkt zich door zijn volle en zachte smaak met een explosie van vers geel fruit
Talisker Skye 10 years old POWERFUL Natuur geuren Fruitigheid 30 % Turf 70 % Houttonen een aromatische, explosieve en prikkelende malt van Skye die uiteindelijk ook zoete tonen laat proeven
CAOL ILA Islay 12 years old SMOKY Natuur geuren 50 % Fruitigheid Turf 50 % Houttonen een malt met een duidelijk karakter, krachtig compleet met zee-aroma's en de geur van hout-vuur.
Talisker Distillery is situated on the shore of Loch Harport, within sight of the Cuillins, in a setting of unspoiled natural beauty. It was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill. They came from Eigg, where their father had been the doctor for the Small Isles and a tacksman. Hugh followed this business of holding and subletting leases of land. He acquired the tack of Talisker House and the north end of the Minginish peninsula from Macleod of Macleod in 1825. It had just been discovered that the Cheviot breed of sheep could survive the Hebridean winter; so he cleared out the crofters to make way for sheep farming. Five years later, with his brother Kenneth, bank agent in Portree, he obtained a lease of 21 acres (8.5 hectares) at Carbost, to build a distillery named after his elegant house.
A former minister of the parish, the Rev. Roderick MacLeod (Maighstir Ruaridh, an eminent evangelical preacher) described"the erection and establishment of a whisky distillery" at Carbost as "one of the greatest curses that, in the ordinary course of Providence, could befall it or any other place". This outburst, printed in 1843 in the New Statistical Account of Scotland, was inspired by zeal for total abstinence.
Kenneth MacAskill, who had managed the distillery, died at Carbost in 1854. His brother Hugh, who had inherited Calgary Castle and the estate of Mornish on Mull, died in 1863. The distillery lease was transferred to a son-in-law, Donald MacLennan, whose assets were sequestrated in the same year. By 1868, or earlier, the leaseholder was J.R.W. Anderson, a controversial character. It was reported in an Inverness newspaper, The Highlander, on 20 February 1880, that he had been tried on charges of defrauding "certain parties in the South by pretending that he had placed some whisky in bonded warehouses for them and thus received payment". He was found guilty, but as he had already spent six months in gaol, was sentenced to just two additional months' imprisonment. He was already bankrupt, and the plant, the goodwill and the lease of Talisker were sold for £1,810.
There was nothing wrong, however, with the reputation of the product. Murray's classic Handbook for Travellers in Scotland, 1875, noted that Carbost was "celebrated for its distillery" and R.L. Stevenson named it in a poem
, The Scotsman's Return from Abroad, 1880: "The King o'drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Isla or Glenlivet."
The new owners were men of substance. Alexander Grigor Allan was a partner in Grigor & Young, solicitors, Elgin, Procurator Fiscal of Morayshire and one of the owners of Glenlossie Distillery. Roderick Kemp was a wine and spirit merchant in Aberdeen. They invested substantial sums in rebuilding and refitting Talisker. Alfred Barnard described it in The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, 1887: "The old part of the work is built in the form of a quadrangle, but such important additions have been made to it from time to time during the past nine years that the Distillery has almost lost its identity . . . Two-thirds of the property are of modern construction, and contain all the newest appliances and vessels known in the art of distilling". These included "a special horizontal engine of ten-horse power", and a steam boiler, to drive the malt mill, the mashing machinery, and various pumps. Barley and other stores were imported in small coasting steamers to within fifty yards of the distillery, and carted, at low tide, when the boats were accessible, to the granaries. Annual output of whisky averaged 0 gallons.
Allan and Kemp dissolved their partnership in 1892, when the business was valued at £25,070. Allan took over, paying Kemp (who bought Macallan Distillery on Speyside) £0 for his share. Three years later, Allan's trustees assigned the lease to The Talisker Distillery Co. Ltd. That company merged in 1898 with The Dailuaine Distillery Co. Ltd., of Morayshire, to form Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd. Thomas Mackenzie, DL, JP, became the managing director, and a major shareholder, of the new company. It extended the premises in 1900, and built a pier, a tramway between it and the distillery, and houses to accommodate employees and the excise officer. A feu charter replaced the leases in 1914.
Mackenzie's death led in 1916 to the acquisition of a majority interest in the company by a consortium consisting of John Dewar & Sons Ltd., W.P. Lowrie & Company Ltd. (a subsidiary ofJames Buchanan & Company Ltd.), The Distillers Company Limited and John Walker & Sons Ltd. With the merger of all of these companies in 1925 under the name of The Distillers Company Limited, Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd. became a subsidiary of that company.
Talisker Distillery was closed from 1941 to 1945 as a result of wartime difficulties, including severe restrictions on the supply of barley to distillers. The stillhouse was destroyed by fire on 22 November 1960 and production again ceased. The decision was made to carry out a major exercise of replanning, rebuilding and re-equipment. The five stills that had been lost were replaced with five exact copies and converted from hand-firing to a mechanical stoker system. The distillery re-opened in 1962. The two wash stills and three spirit stills were converted to steam heating from an oil-fired boiler in 1972. The floor makings were closed in the same year and demolished. The offices, the manager's house and No 3 warehouse are the only buildings built before 1960.
Until the 1960's most supplies and outward cargo were delivered to and from the distillery pier by coasters, and by SMD's motor vessel Pibroch in the summer months. Today oil still arrives by sea. Road transport via the Kyleakin ferry is used for delivering malt and empty casks and for the outward conveyance of whisky..
Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. operate the distillery and own 9 houses for occupation by employees. The site occupies about 10 or 12 acres (4 to 5 hectares). Process water is taken from a burn that rises on the slopes of Cnoc nan Speireag ("Hawk Hill") and cooling water from the Carbost Burn which has its source on the peaty saddle separating the village from Gleann Oraid. Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd. hold the distiller's licence. Most of the output is used for blending, but a proportion of the make is bottled as a single malt by The Distillers Agency Ltd. of Edinburgh.
THE OLD MALT CASK 50o Douglas Laing & Co, Ltd Douglas Laing & Co primarily as a blender and bottler for his Scotch Whisky blends The King of Scots and House of Peers, which are available today internationally. Large stocks and reserves of aging Malts in particular, were laid down by Mr. Laing, many being guarded for 25 - 30 years specifically for the older blends such as the 25 and 30 Year Old KING OF SCOTS. With more than 50 different Malts in stock, over the last 50 years from filling programme, it was obvious that the Malt Master would have certain favourites. These have variously been chalked off the times of regular quality control, as being of particular qualitative interest; both commercially, and for the pleasure of the Directors. It has been their particular perk, benefit and privelege to nose and taste some of the finest quality samples indicative of the Distillers's art.
It was judged by the two current owners/directors (sons of the founder, so nepotism is not dead!) that some of these stocks were 'too good to blend'. And so the OLD MALT CASK selection was developed in 1999 to extend those perks and benefits beyond the Director's tasting suite! Initially it was felt that 50 different Malts commemorating the Company's 50th Anniversary would be approciate. That tally has now been exeeded but our preferred strenght of 50 X alc/vol is maintained. We believe this strenght creates a fine, round, full quality for various Malts when taken 'neat'. It also allows the regular consumer to know precisely how much or little water should be added to this artisan and craftman's distillate. These selected Malt Whiskies have waited many years to reach their classic heights of qua-lity. Not only with your health in mind, but with a view to greater enjoyment, may we suggest that in the style of the founder, whose signature endorses your Malt, you enjoy its glass leisurely and slowly. Douglas Laing.
The only Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Isle of Skye From the western shored of the Isle of Skye in the tall shadows of the Cuillin Hills, comes a single malt like no other. Drink in all the rich, golden drama of a Skye sunset in this alluring, sweet, full-bodied spirit with a warming afterglow, so easy enjoy yet, like Skye itself, so hard to leave. Talisker (from the Norse, Thalas Gair, meaning Sloping Rock) is Skye's only single malt.
Made here by Loch Harport since Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill founded their distillery in 1830, its character is as unchanging as the Cuillin Hills, whose jagged peaks dominate the distant view. A soft, smoky nose introduces Talisker's deep, sweet taste, rich in barley-malt. First enticing, smooth and golden, yet soon growing in intensity, this is a robust malt to enjoy from the ouset, not to sip cautiously. Tradition counts at Talisker. Surviving a disatrous fire in 1960, the distillery was rebuilt around exact copies of the old pot stills, preserving a method of distillation found nowhere else. Today the product of this care for the past values attracts devotees world-wide.
Talisker is for many the complete, even the only malt. It is full-bodied, smooth yet rugged with a huge, long and warming finish, giving a wonderful, quite Hebridean afterglow. Talisker is the unforgettable Island destination on a journey around Scotland's six malt whisky making regions. The other Classic Malts are: Glenkinchie, Lowland, Dalwhinnie, Highland, Cragganmore, Spey-side, Oban, West Highland and Lagavulin, Islay. Voorjaar 1999 kregen de Edrington Group en Highland Distillers verschil van mening over het niet of wel aanhouden van de beursnotering. September 1999 wordt bekend dat Edrington en William Grant & Sons samen Highland Distillers overnemen. De naam van de nieuwe onderneming luidt: The 1887 Company, wat slaat op het stichtingsjaar van Highland Distillers.
Edrington verkrijgt 70 %-, William Grant & Sons 30 % van de aandelen'.
October 2005 Diageo has announced that its 2005 Annual Rare Malts Selection will be the last. The collection will consist of four cask strenght single malts from closed distilleries; Glen Mhor 28 years old, Millburn 35 years old, Glendullan 26 years old and Linkwood 30 years old. Dr. Nicholas Morgan, global malts marketing director commented: 'As the Special Releases are now well established, it makes less sence to continue selecting and promoting a parallel series of Rare Malts with his own separate indentity'.
In future, all premium and rare whiskies will be made available in the annual Special Releases series. A Natural Place On the wild, western side of the Isle of Skye, in the lee of the Cuillin range, the River Drynoch winds through a wild glen to the sea at Loch Harport, flanked by the narrow single-track road that is scattered community's fragile link to the world.
Here since 1830, in the Gaelic-speaking village of Carbost, a mere handful of men have crafted one of the world's great malt whiskies. Talisker's soft, peaty water rises from fourteen underground springs in Hawk Hill (Cnoc nan Speirag) beside the distillery. As the name suggests, it's home to birds of prey, which include majestic Peregrine Falcons. Nature plays a part in verything at Talisker, Skye's only distillery. The sweet thunder of its' malt embodies the spirit of this mountainous, storm-lashed island and its strong, steadfast people.
A Wild Beauty When Dr. Johnson and his biographer, Boswell, stayed at Talisker House in 1773, they enjoyed the wild beauty of its setting. Cultivation began close on two hundred years ago, as tenants of the Talisker estate (the name comes from the Norse, Thlas Gair, meaning 'Sloping Rock') cleared the land for sheep farming.
Brothers Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill soon took over the lease, to farm sheep and to build one of the new model distilleries. Despite the prohibitionist protestations of local preacher, Roderick Macleod, Talisker Distillery soon began making whisky in Carbost, at the head of Loch Harport.
Life was hard. Within ten years Hugh and his wife were organising relief of the local poor during a potato famine. They were not succesful distillers and having inherited estates on Mull, Hugh gave up first his lease on the land and finally, in 1848, his interest in the distillery itself.
Despite a later owner's claim that 'there is not a whisky gets a better reputation in the market' and Robert Louis Stevenson's famous 1880 reference to ' The King 0' Drinks' Talisker was not easy to operate, and two more who tried went bankrypt during the distillery's first fifty years. As in other cases, though, improvements in communications soon brought better management, led by Alexander Grigor Allan and Aberdeen merchant Roderick Kemp. After almost twenty years, Allan merged his interests with those of the ambitious Thomas Mackenzie, forming Dai-luaine-Talisker Distilleries. Now, Talisker was one of the largest selling single whiskies in the country. As the twentieth century dawned the distillery had acquired its own pier, purpose built tramway and tied cottages for the expanding, if still small, workforce. Then, as now, they were Gaelic speakers, still under Mackenzie's watchful eye. Between the wars, abondoning the original form of triple distillation common throughout Scotland had no adverse effect and Talisker's popularity ensured that the distillery continued in production throughout the difficult Thirties, beiing silenced only during the Second World War as barley supplies became resticted.
The old ways were followed into the late 1950s, when most supplies and most outbound cargo were still carried in the distillery's own coaster, M.V. Pibroch. But some change was forced by a 1960 disaster when the still-house was destroyed by fire. Even then, exact copies, still heated externally by coal furnaces, replaced the five stills lost. Only in 1972 did modernisation reach Skye, as the stills were converted to steam heating and the original floor maltings were closed.
Often sold as an 8 year old single malt, Talisker continued to enjoy an international reputation throughout the 1980s, bu by 1989 a new 10 year old expression, bottled at the unusually high strenght of 45,8 %, had been introduced. It became one of the Classic Malts, and since then has gone from strenght to strenght.
In the mid-nineties came the first of the six Trophies as Best Single Malt under 12 Years so far awarded to Talisker 10 year old at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. Restoration work and improvements later in the decade brought a new copper mash tun and five new wooden worm tubs, each carefully modelled on the old
The present series of Special Releases of Talisker began in 2001, with the release of just 100 bottles of a fabled 28 year old. Since then an award-winning 20 or 25 year old Special Edition has been released annually, and acclaimed regular bottling of the 18 year old was introduced in 2004.
A Golden Spirit This quite superb 30 year old non chill-filtered bottling of Talisker at its natural cask strenght reveals all the deep power and roundness of character that devotees of this powerful Island malt could wish for. Clean, clear and very pure, the nose is surprisingly accessible and immediately maritime. Soft-bodied, this elegant, sweet-starting malt whisky drinks well at natural strenght or with a little water and shows great maturity. Smoke makes its presence felt as the temperature builds to a classic and characteristic cresendo in the long, warming; black-pepper finish. A Natural Place
In the stormy shadow of the Cuillin mountain range on the remote Isle of Skye, flanked by a narrow single - track road that links a scattered community to the world, the River Drynoch winds through a wild glen to reach the sea
Since 1830 a mere handful of men have crafted one of the world's great malt whiskies here in the Gaelic - speaking village of Carbost on the shores of Loch Harport
Talisker's soft, peaty water rises from fourteen underground springs in Hawk Hill (Cnoc nan Speirag) beside the distillery. As the name suggests, it is home to birds of prey, among them majestic Peregrine Falcons
Nature plays a part in everything at Talisker, Skye's only distillery. The sweet thunder of its malt, made by the sea in more than one sense, evokes the determined, maritime spirit of this mountainous, storm - lashed island and its strong, steadfast people
A Wild Beauty
When Dr. Johnson and his biographer, Boswell, stayed at Talisker House in 1773, they enjoyed the wild beauty of its setting
Cultivation began close on two hundred years ago, as tenants of the Talisker estate (the name comes from the Norse, Thalas Gair, meaning "Sloping Rock") cleared the land for sheep farming
Brothers Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill soon took over the lease, to farm sheep and to build one of the new model distilleries. Despite the prohibitionist protestations of lo- cal preacher, Roderick Macleod, Talisker Distillery soon began making whisky
Life was hard. Within ten years Hugh and his wife were organising relief of the local poor during a potato famine. They were not successful distillers. Having inherited estates on Mull, Hugh first gave up his lease on the land then relinquished his interest in the distillery in 1848
Despite a later owner's claim that "there is not a whisky gets a better reputation in the market"remote Talisker was not easy to operate in these early years, for all supplies had to be brought by sea and casks went to market by the same route. Two men who tried were bankrupted, before improvements in communication brought with them bet- ter management, led by Alexander Grigor Allan and Aberdeen merchant Roderick Kemp
After almost twenty years, Allan merged his interests with those of the ambitious Thomas Mackenzie, forming Dailuaine - Talisker Distilleries. Now, Talisker was one of the largest selling single whiskies in the country
When the twentieth century dawned the distillery had acquired its own pier, purpose- built tramway and tied cottages for the expanding, if still small, workforce. Then, as now, they were Gaelic speakers, still under Mackenzie's watchful eye
Between the wars, talisker abandoned the original form of triple distillation common throughout Scotland to no adverse effect and its popularity ensured that the distillery continued in production throughout the difficult Thirties. It was silenced only as barley supplies became restricted during the Second World War
The old ways were followed into the late 1950s, when most supplies and most outbound cargo were still carried by sea in the distillery's own coaster, M V Pibroch. But some change was forced by a 1960 disaster when the still house was destroyed by fire. Even then, exact copies, still heated externally by coal furnaces, replaced the five stills lost. Only in 1972 did modernisation reach Skye, as the stills were converted to steam heating and the original floor maltings were closed
Often sold as an 8 year old single malt, talisker continued to enjoy an international reputa- tion throughout the 1980s but by 1987 a new 10 year old expression, bottled at the unusu- ally high strength of 45, 8 %, had been introduced. It became one of the Classic Malts, and since then has gone from strength to strength
Restoration work and improvements in the late ninties brought a new copper mash tun and five new wooden worm tubs, each carefully modelled on the old. By then the Talisker 10 year old was winning wider recognition and with it, frequent awards at the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition (I W S C ). Notably, the 18 years old regular bottling was voted World's Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky in the 2007 World Whiskies Awards
The presnt series of Special releases of Talisker began in 2001, with the release of just 100 bottles of a fabled 28 year old. Since then Special Editions have been released annually of an award - winning 20 or 25 year old, joined more recently by this remarkable 30 year old
Diageo has named Teaninich near Alness as the location for its plans to build a new 50 million pound new malt whisky distillery and will be adjacent the existing Teaninich distillery but will have its own name and indentity and will have the capacity to produce 13 million litres of spirit p[er annum from its 16 stills.
Diageo also invest 12 million pound in expanding the Teaninich distillery to almost doubless capacity. The site will also feature a bio - energy plant. The work will begin in 2014. Diageo also will invest in Mortlach distillery in building a new still house igestion process, producing bio - gas which will be used to power the Glendullan distillery.
There are also expansion and upgrade developments for more then 40 million pound in Linkwood, Mannochmore, Glendullan, Dailuaine, Benrinnes, Inchgower, Cragganmore, Glen Elgin, Glen Ord and in a new bio - energie plants in Glenlossie and Dailuaine.
Also new warehouse are build at Cluny near Kirkcaldy.
And at Talisker a new visitor centre is build for a 1 million pound.
No whisky reveals the character of its
birthplace better than Talisker To know Talisker is to feel the power
of the sea and sense its rugged location
on the banks of Loch Harport on the foreboding of Skye
Talisker Storm takes this most intense of experiences to a new level. The sweet warmth and briny peppery Finish that are the symbol of the Talisker character have been carefully accentuated through a skilful blend of differing aged Talisker casks. Character archieves a deeper intensity like a warm welcome from a wild Hebridean sea. Bottled at the distillery's unique 45.8 % Talisker is a truly tempestmous Single Malt
19 April 2013
Diageo has launched its second new expression of Talisker whisky this year: Port Ruighe Follolaunched ws Storm, which was launched in March. Port Ruighe takes his name from the principal town and port on Skye and Port Ruighe is finished in Port Wood and is also a permanent addition in the range.
Talisker Port Ruighe will be bottled at 45, 8 % and is a combination of whisky that has been matured in American Oak and European Oak refill casks and also with whisky that that has been filled into specially conditionedis then finisheddeeplu charred casks. After
that the whisky has finished in casks the have previously held Port Wine which endows
the whisky with spicy fruity notes.
Talisker Distillery get its name from Talisker House, home of the son of the Maclean Clan Chief.
Talisker has retained the five still set-up and continues to produce a highly individual new make which mixes smoke, fruit, sulphur, salt and pepper. The malt is medium-peated, the worts clear, the fermentation long. It is in distillation that things go slightly strange.
The wash stills are very tall with an exaggerated U-shaped bend in the lyne arm with a purifier pipe at its lowest point. This refluxes any heavy elements back into the body of the still to be redistilled. After rising up the ‘U’, the lyne arm coils itself inside cold worm tubs.
While there is a lot of reflux taking place, there is little copper contact which provides the sulphury notes in the new make, and could give the signature pepperiness in the mature spirit. The purifier pipe adds oiliness, while the reflux helps to refine the fruity elements created during fermentation.
In contrast to most distilleries where the spirit stills are the workhorses, at Talisker the second distillation takes place in small plain stills, again with worm tubs. This adds mid-palate weight. Maturation is in refill and rejuvenated casks with ex-fortified wine casks being used for the Distiller’s Edition and Port Ruighe expressions and occasional special releases.
Talisker’s founders, brothers Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill were classic Clearance landlords. Having bought the tack [rent] of Talisker House on Skye and extensive lands in 1825, they set about forcibly shifting the resident population from their farms, either to new settlements at Carbost and Portnalong on the shores of Loch Harport and Portnalong, or off the island entirely.
As well as replacing subsistence farmers with more profitable sheep, another of the MacAskill’s money-making schemes was distilling. In 1830, they opened their Talisker distillery in Carbost using the cleared populace as its workforce.
Their venture into whisky-making was not a success and by 1848 the bank was in control. For the next three decades Talisker stumbled through a series of other owners who found it hard to keep afloat a distillery which is remote even by 21st century standards.
In 1880, Talisker’s fortunes changed when Roderick Kemp and Alexander Allen [see Dailuaine] bought the distillery and proceeded to expand the site and construct a distillery pier – until then all the casks had to be floated out to waiting ships.
Kemp sold his share in 1892 in order to buy Macallan and on Allen’s death in 1895, his business partner Thomas Mackenzie took charge and three years later Talisker was formally merged with Dailuaine (and Imperial). When Mackenzie himself died in 1916, a grouping of major blenders, John Walker & Sons, John Dewar, W.P. Lowrie, and DCL took control, an indication as to the quality of the spirit. Talisker has remained within the same grouping (the firms all merged and eventually morphed into Diageo).
In 1960, the distillery burned down and was silent until 1962 while it was being rebuilt. A decade later the maltings closed and the distillery began getting its requirements from Glen Ord.
Talisker had long been available as single malt from independents such as Gordon & MacPhail, and also officially, predominantly as an 8-year-old. In 1998, it was given greater prominence as a founding member of the Classic Malts Selection when the age was upped to 10 years. An 18-year-old joined the range in 2004, but since 2008 the range has expanded dramatically with no-age-statement quartet: 57˚North, Storm, Dark Storm, and Port Ruighe. It is now one of Diageo’s most important single malt brands.
Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill purchase the rent of Talisker House on Skye
The MacAskill brothers found Talisker distillery in Carbost
The brothers go bankrupt and the lease is transferred to the North of Scotland bank
The bank sells Talisker distillery to Donald MacLennan for £500
MacLennan markets the distillery for sale after failing to make a go of it
Glasgow's Anderson & Co takes control of the distillery
John Anderson is jailed for fraud, after selling imaginary casks of whisky to clients
Alexander Grigor Allan and Roderick Kemp take over operation of Talisker
Kemp sells his share in the distillery to fund the build of Macallan
The Talisker Distillery Co. is founded
Alexander Grigor Allan dies and his business partner, Thomas Mackenzie, takes over
Talisker Distillery Co. merges with Dailuaine-Glenlivet Distillers and Imperial Distillers to form Dailuaine-Talisker Distillers Co.
Mackenzie dies and a consortium of whisky companies, including John Walker & Sons, takes over
Talisker's regime of triple distillation is stopped
A major fire breaks out at the distillery, halting operation, and a major repair job begins
The distillery finally reopens after two years
Talisker ceases its own malting and buys malt in from Glen Ord
Talisker 10 becomes one of the six Classic Malts; the distillery's visitors' centre is opened
The distillery is upgraded with a new mash tun and five worm tubs
Talisker 18 Year Old joins the core range
Talisker 175th Anniversary bottling is released
No-age-statement release, Talisker 57° North, is launched
Talisker Storm, Dark Storm and Port Ruighe are released; the visitors' centre is given a £1m upgrade
CONDENSER TYPE i
FERMENTATION TIME i
Min 65 hrs
FILLING STRENGTH i
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
HEAT SOURCE i
MALT SPECIFICATION i
MALT SUPPLIER i
Mainly in house
MASH TUN TYPE i
NEW-MAKE PHENOL LEVEL i
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
SPIRIT STILL CHARGE (L) i
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
WASH STILL SHAPE i
WASHBACK TYPE i
WATER SOURCE i
Cnocnan Speireag Burn
WORT CLARITY i
YEAST TYPE i
1997 - present
1986 - 1997
Distillers Company Limited
1925 - 1986
Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Co
1898 - 1925
Talisker Distillery Co
1894 - 1898
Alexander Grigor Allan
1880 - 1892
Anderson & Co
1867 - 1879
1857 - 1867
North of Scotland Bank
1848 - 1857
SKYE & RAASAY
We are currently seeing a renaissance in Scotch whisky, with new distilleries re-establishing whisky making in places where it had been forgotten or under-represented. One such area is Skye and Raasay. Dave Broom goes to investigate its newest arrivals.
Don’t think you can just nip over to Skye. It’s a five-hour drive to the bridge from Glasgow (on a good day, which in my experience it rarely is). Even the journey from Inverness takes two hours by road or train (if you opt for the latter, check bus times when you get to Skye). In other words, relax. Enjoy the drive.
Neil Mathieson, chief executive of Mossburn Distillers, and I took the Inverness option, taking the spectacular high road which at the summit, high over Loch Carron, the Cuillin emerges on the horizon. On a good day that is. The sole welcome we had on the road was a hoodie crow coughing in the void of a rain-soaked glen.
For most of my whisky life, a journey to Skye meant Talisker (itself an hour or so from the bridge) and a reminder of the whisky which started me off on this career. Now, however, we turned left just before Broadford and headed 16 miles down the Sleat [pron: Slate] Peninsula to Skye’s newest distillery, Torabhaig.
With its limewashed walls, waterwheel and pagoda roof it looks as if it has been here on the shore, looking over to Knoydart, for a hundred years. In fact, this 200-year-old farm steading has only just been converted. ‘A challenging build,’ as Mathieson put it, necessitating treading a tricky path between the demands of Historic Scotland, the architectural vision, and the need to have a functional plant within the walls of a listed (and listing) building.
The distillery’s workings occupy the longest wall of the steading’s open rectangle. Inside, you slalom your way past the mashtun and eight wooden washbacks, already filled with wash. Torabhaig is, however, still finding its feet. There’s a welcome fluidity to the thinking. After all, if you can’t ask the question, ‘what is Torabhaig?’ at the start of its life, then when can you?
That means using the same variety of peated and unpeated barley from three different maltings, different peating levels, and yeast strains, but always clear wort, long ferments and the same cask types. ‘There’s a requirement to be experimental,’ Neil says. ‘This isn’t about sticking to a formula. Whisky is a living thing.’ In that case, Torabhaig is very much alive.
We decant to the wood-panelled bar of the nearby Eilean Iarmain hotel, which is already rammed with people – locals propping up the bar, the usual clusters of happily bemused tourists, and a tidal wave of students festooned with instruments. They’ve come from Sabhail Mòr Ostaig (SMO), the Gaelic college established in 1973 by Sir Iain Noble.
For him, language was at the heart of regeneration. He owned the 23,000-acre estate, the hotel, and as well as SMO, started Praban na Linne, the ‘Gaelic whisky’ company. What is now Torabhaig was another of his dreams – he sold the site to Marussia in 2013.
We’ve been joined by hotel manager Garry Wallace. ‘Have you seen the still?’ he asks. I begin to enthuse about Torabhaig. ‘Not that one. Ours.’ We head round the back of the building. In a narrow room sits a steampunk bathysphere with a botanical basket welded into its lyne arm. Skye’s first gin still, and the first I’ve seen with a worm tub.
Back in the bar the music is roaring, as we dine on local seafood and venison, drink Té Bheag and talk about how the community is coming together, of scholarships and plans for Torabhaig to be Skye-run, hotels in full occupancy from April to October, Garry’s plans for live streaming theatre and opera into a new cinema on the property. The Hebrides have been marginalised culturally, politically and linguistically. That now seems to be changing.
The morning after, mildly bleary, we head north to Sconser. Normally, I’d have gone further, up to the legendary Sligachan Hotel and onwards to Talisker. That distillery, it strikes me now, wasn’t just a focal point for whisky, but Skye itself. It showed what was possible in this location and around it a new Skye began to form. It remains the beacon of quality.
The Skye I grew up loving was a place for walkers, climbers and the seekers for the wild. You stayed in draughty hotels and bunkhouses, holidayed in B&Bs. Now, you can also dine in Michelin-starred hotels and stay in top-end hotels (draughts have been excluded) as well as having the freshest possible seafood at Lochbay in Waternish, or the Oyster Shed above Talisker. Pints – locally brewed – and drams can be quaffed in bars like Carbost’s Old Inn, Portree’s Isles Inn and Bosville Hotel, Waternish’s Stein Inn, or Seamus’ Bar at the Slig with its 400 whiskies.
Skye gives you a sense of space. It also gives perspective, a glimpse of your insignificance and the immensity of time. People love it for its emptiness, but that’s precious little comfort if you live there. As author Robert Macfarlane wrote, ‘Skye isn’t empty, it is emptied’. These are Clearance lands, places where people were evicted to make way for sheep and either sent off the island or in Talisker’s case, put to work in the distillery.
All of that is distilled on Raasay. The ferry which links it with Sconser is called ‘Hallaig’, after one of the island’s cleared villages, and the subject of Sorley Maclean’s poem, which starts:
‘Time, the deer, is in the wood of Hallaig’. It is a poem about loss and landscape, of clearances and the end of community, all of which was happening until recently.
My first memory of hearing about Raasay was in the ‘70s when the residents were in dispute with then owner Dr Green (aka ‘Dr No’) over his refusal to allow any investment on the island.
This 14-mile long sliver of sandstone and gneiss, the home of the Big Men (there’s various interpretations as to what facet of their size this refers to) is an encapsulation of the Hebridean experience. It’s a place of the shape-shifting each-uisge [water horse] which lurks in the depths of Loch na Mna, of Pictish stones, and settlements whose children had to be tethered for fear they’d fall over the cliffs.
Its history has also been a litany of disinterest and self-interest. One landlord (George Rainy, who cleared Hallaig) banned marriage and built a wall to separate the fertile south as a playground for himself, leaving the remaining people to live on the poorer northern ground.
Raasay’s story has been one of leavings and emptying. But dig a little and it also becomes one of resilience. Take Calum MacLeod, who hand-built a two-mile road between Brochel and his home at Arnish because the authorities refused to. ‘Calum’s Road’ became Raasay's symbol of what was possible. The island slowly changed. A community hall, a new ferry terminal, the rebuilding of Raasay House, the retention of shooting rights by the community. Small victories, an incremental building of hope showing that the emptied could be filled once again.
Isle of Raasay distillery’s newest fillings are new make, long fermented (up to 110 hours), heavily peated and unpeated, to be aged separately in different woods and then blended. There’s even a nod to Talisker in the water jacket on the wash still’s lyne arm and purifier pipe.
‘We had the view, we had the water, so we thought, why not barley?’ says Alasdair Day, co-founder of Raasay owner R&B Distillers. So Bere has been planted, ‘as soon as it started to grow you could see it was meant to be here,’ as well as trials with Swedish (Kannas) and Icelandic (Iskria) varieties. There’re plans for using local peat as well.
When Boswell and Johnson came a-visiting in 1773, the latter reported: ‘We found nothing but civility, elegance, and plenty. After the usual refreshments, and the usual conversation, the evening came upon us. The carpet was then rolled off the floor; the musician was called, and the whole company was invited to dance, nor did ever fairies trip with greater alacrity.’
I’m unsure whether the dancing on the distillery’s opening night was fairy like, it was more like Scottish martial arts with musical accompaniment: birling and spinning, shouts and laughter; drams and conversation.
We talk into the wee hours about farming – ‘get the sheep off and plant the barley’, of the revived walled garden, how the old Wee Frees would be spinning in their graves at the idea of whisky being made (the ferry only started running on a Sunday in 2004) and the need for a pub; and how the population had stabilised and there are children in the school.
The sense of a new whisky community spreads across both islands. There are plans for Skye’s distilleries linking with Raasay’s and Harris’ to create a new whisky route, and proposals that the distilleries share engineering logistics.
It was easy to slip into the romantic view that this area should only have one distillery, but that is to conform to an urban view. People cannot live on beauty. Distilleries bring people who spend money and create the need for a greater infrastructure and hospitality, which in turn keeps people on the island. Whisky is a seed which helps create a community.
‘If you revive your language,’ Sir Iain Noble once said, ‘you have a greater chance of reviving your community.’ I’d add, a distillery helps that process. Talisker has shown that. The others will reinforce it.
In MacLean’s Hallaig, the poet stops time:
‘a vehement bullet will come from the gun of Love
and will strike the deer that goes dizzily,
sniffing at the grass-grown ruined homes’
Time is arrested so as to preserve the memory, but its freezing also gives hope of a regeneration, of new shoots emerging, saplings in the woods, barley in the fields, ideas in the minds.
People no longer leave here. They arrive.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest airports are Glasgow (international) and Inverness (local), both of which offer car hire. Alternatively, City Link offers coaches from both locations to Skye. The three ferry ports on Skye – Armadale, Sconser and Uig, are serviced by Calmac, which run to Mallaig on the mainland, Raasay, Lochmaddy on North Uist or Tarbert on Harris. If you prefer the scenic route and are in no rush, opt for the Glenelg ferry which takes in spectacular views. Skye is also connected to the mainland via road bridge, between the villages of Kyle of Lochalsh (mainland) and Kyleakin (Skye). Local buses operate on the island but are not always frequent. You can find the route here.
Seamus’ Bar, Sligachan Hotel; 01478 650204; sligachan.co.uk
TALISKER 40 YEAR OLD HEADS NEW BODEGA SERIES
Talisker is set to launch a new series of Sherry cask-finished whiskies inspired by the style produced at the Skye distillery in the early 20th century.
Talisker 1978 Delgado Zuleta
Oldest release: Talisker 1978 Delgado Zuleta is the first in a new series of Sherry-inspired single malts
The Talisker Bodega Series will launch at the end of June with a 40-year-old single malt finished in amontillado casks sourced from one of Jerez’s oldest Sherry producers, Delgado Zuleta.
The 1978 vintage – the oldest yet released by the distillery into global markets, and ‘one of Talisker’s most valuable expressions to date’ – has been matured in refill American oak barrels before being finished in the ‘special and unusual’ 40-year-old amontillado Sherry casks.
Donald Colville, global brand ambassador for Talisker, said the Delgado Zuleta expression, and the Bodega Series as a whole, embodied ‘the wildness of Skye with the warmth of Spain’.
He said: ‘It is a magnificent, lion-hearted old Talisker, rich with the sophistication of age, yet still full of life and retaining the make's familiar maritime and spicy character.’
Talisker’s blenders took inspiration for the Bodega Series from the company’s extensive archives, which detail the types of cask used by the distillery in the early 20th century.
Colville added: ‘The power of our archive helps everything we do as a company, and this bottling is steeped in that history.
‘Throughout the ledgers and archives we have, we go back to the early 1900s and see the different types of Sherry casks used at Talisker to mature the whisky, and Delgado was being used as a key supplier of casks to the distillery.
‘The 1978 vintage pays homage to reimagining the flavours that were potentially being enjoyed back then. It’s a wonderful addition to the range.’
The 45.8% abv expression is described as ‘a deep, crystal gold liquid which signifies an echo of the old Talisker’, featuring notes of white grape, sultanas, sea salt and smoke.
Two thousand bottles, presented in hand-carved oak cases, will be available for £2,750 each from specialist retailers around the world, as well as in global travel retail.
The Delgado Zuleta 1978 Talisker is the first in the Bodega Series, which will expand each year with a different expression matured in Sherry casks sourced from a bodega within Spain’s ‘Sherry Triangle’.
The oldest expression of Talisker to be bottled to date was a 41-year-old for a private customer in China
Talisker lanceert de Bodega Series
Talisker 40 Year Old Talisker onthult met: de Talisker Bodega Series een nieuwe reeks. Eind juni wordt de eerste release verwacht: een indrukwekkende Talisker van liefst 40 jaar oud.
De Talisker Bodega Series is een viering van de eeuwenoude banden die de distilleerderij heeft met bodega’s in Spanje. De nieuwe exclusieve releases in deze reeks geven whiskyliefhebbers de kans om de uitwerking van sherryvaten van een aantal historische bodega’s te ondervinden.
In het geval van de eerste uitgave, een Talisker 40 Jaar, gaat het om een samenwerking met een van de oudste sherryproducenten ter wereld, Delgado Zuleta uit de Marco de Jerez-regio. Het is een van de oudste Taliskers die ooit door Diageo is uitgebracht, en er komen in totaal 2.000 flessen van beschikbaar.
De Talisker 40 Jaar heeft het grootste gedeelte van de rijping doorgebracht in refill vaten, maar de laatste periode is de whisky overgeheveld naar “vijf bijzondere en ongebruikelijke oude ex-sherryvaten”, waarin voorheen 40 jaar oude Amontillado sherry zat.
Het resultaat is een whisky die aan de ene kant de kwaliteiten heeft van een oude Talisker, maar daarnaast de subtiele invloed vertoont van de Amontillado sherryvaten. De whisky wordt omschreven als eentje met aroma’s en smaken van turf, rozijnen en een fruitige rokerigheid. Het klassieke pepertje van Talisker ontbreekt natuurlijk niet.
Donald Colville, brand ambassador van Talisker: ‘De Talisker 40 Jaar is een uitzonderlijke Schotse single malt die synoniem staat voor onze relatie met Delgado Zuleta en hun ambacht. We vinden het geweldig om deze whisky als eerste in de Bodega-serie te lanceren. We zijn enorm trots.’
‘Het is een oude Talisker met een leeuwenhart. Een verfijnde whisky door de hoge leeftijd, maar toch levendig en met de herkenbare maritieme en kruidige kenmerken van Talisker. Connaisseurs en verzamelaars zullen er naar streven een fles van de Talisker 40 Jaar op hun plank te hebben staan, want het is een prachtig voorbeeld van de warmte van Spanje, gecombineerd met de wildernis van Skye.’
Voor Nederland zullen slechts 10 flessen beschikbaar zijn.
De Talisker 40 Jaar wordt gebotteld op 50 procent, en de verwachte verkoopprijs is £2,750.
TALISKER SELECT RESERVE, GAME OF THRONES HOUSE GREYJOY
Scoring explained >
Single malt whisky
Smoky & Peaty
Soft cooked orchard fruits with a hint of coastal salt and bonfire smoke. Give it a moment to open the glass for notes of dark chocolate, crystallised ginger and freshly diced red chilli.
Initially there’s an overriding sweetness of warm toffee sauce, before a waft of salty smoke delivers the unmistakable zing of Szechuan pepper. Despite the spice it retains a creamy consistency throughout, the dark chocolate becoming milkier and joined by dried fruits, brown sugar and Jamaican ginger cake.
Zingy still, but softer, slowly fading.
A classic, though youthful, coastal Talisker that’ll be a hit among spice fans.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
The Ironborn’s fleet take to the Narrow Sea to lay siege to King’s Landing.
With a degree in chemical engineering and a tenure at Teaninich distillery behind her, Diane Farrell took the helm at Talisker on Skye as its senior site manager almost 18 months ago. She tells Matt Evans about working on such a well-loved whisky and that time she underestimated the Old Man of Storr.
Farrell took over at Talisker after studying chemical engineering and maturation
‘I never used to be a whisky drinker because the misconception I had, that a lot of drinkers have, is that all whisky tastes the same. It takes time to discover what flavours you like – luckily, I love Talisker!
‘I studied my master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Strathclyde, and then I was asked to join Diageo’s graduate scheme in 2012. On the graduate programme I worked in project management and did my dissertation in maturation, which gave me some understanding about how the business came together.
‘I moved up to the Scottish Highlands to become the distillery manager at Teaninich distillery, and was there for 18 months before the role at Talisker came up. It was too good an opportunity to miss, and I just wanted to be part of it all – I like to embrace challenges.
‘Talisker’s an iconic, well-loved brand and in terms of how the whisky’s produced, I didn’t change anything coming into the job. That process will never change, but we can always make improvements in the way we do things, such as using less water and overseeing ongoing projects to try and conserve energy, to make us more efficient.
‘Obviously, as it says in our title, we’re made by the sea, so that has an influence over the production process. Talisker’s surrounded by fresh, salty air that blows in from the Atlantic, which contributes to the flavour that ends up in the glass. However, in terms of being directly influenced by the sea air, it’s difficult to say: only a small percent of Talisker is actually matured here, as most of it is matured in warehouses on mainland Scotland. But Talisker just tastes like Talisker, whether it’s matured here on site or in the central belt.
‘The location of the distillery still takes my breath away. It’s truly a beautiful place – a distillery battered by the elements on the windswept coast of the Isle of Skye – and if you’ve been here you get transported right back here with every drink, sitting by the sea with your campfire burning, sipping your whisky. I think it’s quite special.
‘If you haven’t been, you need to come. Last July we opened up the new Talisker Boat Bar in the visitor centre, which has been a huge success. We’ve got so many visitors coming – we have between 75,000 and 90,000 visitors arriving each year – so if people turn up that aren’t able to do the tour, then we want to give them the opportunity to try our full range of whiskies.
‘The Hebridean Whisky Trail is a fantastic initiative and I think it will continue to grow the more people get to know about it. VisitScotland listed the trail as one of the “nine reasons you should visit Scotland in 2019”. We’re building a fantastic partnership with our “new neighbours” as we call them [Harris, Raasay and Torabhaig distilleries], so we’re expecting it to go from strength to strength.
‘Skye is probably similar to Islay in the sense that it’s growing and growing in popularity. It was listed by National Geographic magazine as one of the most beautiful places in the world to come and visit. There are some incredible walks and views, but the island did get some bad press in terms of infrastructure, because people were told there might not be enough accommodation for everyone.
‘However, we’re not seeing a huge impact at the distillery. We want people to come and visit, because it’s a beautiful place and we want people to have an incredible experience when they do come.
‘I love keeping fit. I’m actually looking forward to the weather getting a bit better (which on Skye, means it needs to get a lot better) so we can get out and explore the island. I’ve only scratched the surface of the walks I want to do here – I’ve done the usual walks such as the Fairy Pools, but there’s still so much that I want to see. I had to invest in walking boots for the first time – the first big walk I did was Old Man of Storr, but 1,800 feet later, my pink Nike trainers didn’t quite match up to my expectations!
‘My best whisky moment was quite early on in my role here. I was in my house, looking out of my window, over the same water the distillery looks over. You could see the distillery in the background, and I just remember having a drink with my partner and feeling so, so proud that I had become the site manager here. It just really sunk in at that point.’