Arran WhiskyThe distillery is situated to the East of the village of Lochranza at the North of the island and takes its water from the Loch na Davie. Founded in 1993, by Chivas Brothers’ retiring managing director, Harold Currie, the distillery is the only one on the Isle of Arran since the most recent legally run distillery, ‘Lagg’, was closed in 1837. Mr Currie stylized the buildings with the intention of giving them a much more traditional, classic appearance. During the early stages of building, work was briefly interrupted when a pair of Golden Eagles, nesting in the crags above the distillery, tended to their young. The eagles can be seen, to this day, from the courtyard at the distillery.
Production began on the 17th August 1995. A year later and a one year old was released, of course not technically a whisky, it was released as ‘Arran 1 Year Old Spirit’, and showed great promise for a spirit still in its proverbial adolescence. The core expressions include a ten year old, officially released in 2006, and a cask-strength, the ominously named ‘100 Proof’. Yearly single cask special editions are released, finished in either sherry or bourbon butts. Some interesting finishes have also been released, including a Bordeaux, a port and a Calvados.
2010 saw the release of a 15th anniversary bottling, released on the distillery open day on 3 July. Autumn 2010 also saw the release of the first official 14 year old to be released by the distillery. The first peated Arran single malt, Machrie Moor, has been available since December 2010.
In 2017, business growth saw two more stills added to the Lochranza site. In the same year, a special bottling was released to celebrate distillery manager James MacTaggart’s 10th anniversary with the distillery. The current managing director is Euan Mitchell, who formerly worked at Springbank distillery.
Plans for the company to build a second distillery in Lagg at the south end of the island were approved in August 2016. Construction began in February 2017, and production officially began in April 2019, with the first cask filled on 10 April. Peated production will be completely moved to Lagg, and when this happens it will be the first time since 2004 that there will be no peated spirit distilled at Arran. The distillery is one of the most visited in Scotland, and with the new site, footfall is expected to increase from 100,000 to 200,000 visitors.