Ardnamurchan

Ardnamurchan is a Scotch whisky distillery on the west coast of Scotland. Perched on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, some 40 miles from Fort William, it is one of the most remote distilleries in the country.

Ardnamurchan is operated by independent bottler Adelphi. Production commenced in July of 2014 with the first single malt bottling launched in 2020.

Entrance to Ardnamurchan distillery with white walls and dark roofs located at the foot of a hill
Ardnamurchan distillery

style

Ardnamurchan produces a full-bodied spirit. Both peated and unpeated malt is used. The mature whisky is creamy, fruity and peppery in terms in terms of tasting notes.

Crown of whipped cream
Collection of various fruits
a mix of black, red and white peppercorns
A pile of malt

production

100% of the distillery’s heat and power requirements come from local renewables. A biomass boiler is fuelled by woodchips from local forests and the river has a hydroelectricity generator.

Barley is grown in Fife, on land owned by the family of managing director, Alex Bruce. Around 50% of the barley used in production is peated. The specified peating level lies between 30 and 35 phenol parts per million.

Fermentation runs for between 72 and 96 hours to ensure lots of fruity esters in the wash. There are two stills. One wash and one spirit. The spirit still is equipped with a boil ball to encourage reflux.

Ardnamurchan matures in Bourbon casks from Woodford Reserve as well as Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso hogsheads. The warehouses also contain some Spanish and American oak sherry butts. The distillery aims for full-term maturation in a single cask, eschewing the trend for cask finishing.

Blockchain technology is in use at the distillery to provide a secure model of the complete supply chain. Each bottle is fully tracked, allowing the customer to trace the provenance back to its origin.


history

The original Adelphi company established the Loch Katrine Adelphi Distillery on the banks of the River Clyde in 1826. In 1880, it was taken over by Archibald Walker. By then, the distillery was producing both malt and grain whisky.

Casks stacked in shelves and on the floor of Arnamurchan's warehouse
Casks in Ardnamurchan's warehouse

In 1903, the distillery was sold to DCL. Three years later the pot stills ceased production. Grain whisky continued to flow until 1932 when the distillery shut down entirely.

The Adelphi name was forgotten until the 1990s when Jamie Walker, great-grandson of Archibald, revived the business as an independent bottler.

In the early 2000s, Jamie sold a cask to Donald Houston and Keith Falconer. So impressed were they with their purchase, the two men decided to buy the company. Within a few years, however, the new owners began to feel that the long term stability of the business would depend on the secure flow of spirit. In order to achieve that, they would need to build a distillery.

Houston owned land on the Ardnamurchan peninsula and work commenced in 2013. By July of the following year, the spirit was flowing from the stills.

In 2016, Adelphi released the first Spirit in Progress bottling. The series gave whisky lovers a glimpse at the Ardnamurchan spirit as it slowly developed into a mature whisky. By 2020, they were ready to release the first five-year-old single malt. 

The first batch, entitled AD/09.20:01 launched in October 2020 to great critical acclaim. Follow-up releases in 2021 garnered similar praise. Despite being at the age of seven, Ardnamurchan has already placed itself among the very finest of Scotland’s new distilleries.