Annandale

Annandale distillery is located in Dumfries & Galloway in the Lowlands of Scotland. The original distillery closed down in 1920 but was revived by Professor David Thomson and Teresa Church in 2014.

Annandale produces two single malt Scotch whisky brands, Man o’ Words and Man o’ Sword.

Barrels stacked in front of Annandale distillery buildings with teracotta coloured bricks
Picturesque Annandale Distillery on the edge of the booming Lowlands region.

style

Annandale produces both peated and unpeated whisky. Their unpeated spirit is fruity and malty. The peated version has a similar character with added smoke and spice.

A pile of malt
Collection of various fruits
A few spoons loaded with different spices
Grey smoke in front of a white background

production

The Annandale team carried out extensive market research before designing their new distillery. They used a form of sensory profiling to analyse a wide selection of single malts. When the process was complete, they identified a flavour profile that wasn’t currently available on the market.

Dr Jim Swan was hired to design a distillery that would produce the desired spirit character.

Two distinct yeast strains are used during fermentation. This helps to produce the required fruitiness in the wash.

Dr Swan designed the distillery with three pot stills. A single wash still is paired with twin spirit stills. This dramatically increases copper contact in the spirit run and leads to greater purification of the spirit.

The spirit matures in a selection of refill casks, first-fill bourbon casks and sherry butts. They also use Dr Swan’s STR cask technique. This is a means of rejuvenating ex-red wine casks by shaving, toasting and re-charring the inner staves.

Annandale bottles their unpeated malt as Man o’ Words, named after poet Robert Burns who once worked in the area. Meanwhile, the peated malt is named Man o’ Sword after King Robert the Bruce, 7th Lord of Annandale.

The distillery also bottles new make spirit as Rascally Liquor and produces a blended Scotch called Nation of Scots.


history

The Annandale distillery was established in 1836 by George Donald. George ran the distillery until 1883 when it passed to John S Gardner & Sons. 10 years later it was sold again, this time to John Walker & Sons.

By 1919 the distillery had fallen out of favour and production ceased. Within two years, it had been completely dismantled, leaving only the outer shell of the building. Over the next six decades, the site slowly fell into ruin.

Interior of Annandale's still house with many wooden mash tuns in the distillery with a copper pot still in the back
Traditional wooden mash tuns at the Annandale distillery in the Scottish Lowlands.

In 2007 the building was bought by Professor David Thomson and Teresa Church. They learned about the old distillery in Brian Townsend’s book, Scotch Missed: The Lost Distilleries of Scotland. Resolving to breathe new life into the distillery, the pair secured funding and set to work.

The services of Dr Jim Swan were secured to guide the design of the distillery. By November of 2014, the first casks were being filled with new make spirit.

The first cask of peated spirit was filled by former Scottish Rugby Union player, Doddie Weir. When the spirit reached three years old, 99 bottles were sold at auction to raise money for the My Name’s Doddie Foundation, a charity that helps people with Motor Neuron Disease. The distillery raised a total of £27,800.

The first commercially available bottling of Annandale was released in June of 2018. The Rare Vintage 2014 bottlings included some of the first casks to be filled when the distillery reopened.

Those paying a visit to the distillery can book a tour, eat in the cafe or buy bottles in the shop. In 2021, however, it was announced that visitors would be able to sleep in cottages at the distillery. Guests would be offered a hands-on experience working at the distillery before enjoying a whisky tasting and meal at the Globe Inn, Dumfries.