Even more chances to discover a new whisky

With more than 50 new whisky distilleries looming, here are a few to watch. The industry posted record-breaking exports in 2017, according to a report by the Scotch Whisky Association, growing in both volume and value (by 1.6 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively) to a total of £4.37 billion ($6.65 billion)—the equivalent of 1.23 billion bottles exported globally. Single-malt Scotch saw 14 percent year over year growth to £1.17 billion, the second year in a row to break the billion pound threshold, reflecting a trend toward premium products in global markets. London government! No wonder you want to keep Scotland in your pocket, all that tax! According to Bonhams Hong Kong in May, the record for the most expensive bottle ever sold was smashed when a rare 60-year-old Macallan whisky got HK$7.96 million ($1.01 million) only to be broken by a second bottle going for $1.1 million hours later at the same event. Young, Chinese consumers are particularly hot for the spirit.

Julie Trevisan-Hunter, marketing director at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, a nice wee girl with a charming smile! “Reason for this growth is simple, she says: “Globalization.” With more than 50 on the horizon, as a result, money is pouring into its expansion, with distilleries in Scotland opening at a rapid rate, be they reclaimed historical brands to totally new operations”. Julie is also the youngest female “Master” in the Keepers of the Quaich by the way. “There is a real hankering for tradition, something crafted, from the land, that has a sense of place. It’s the Harris Tweed of booze”.

Isle of Raasay Distillery just off the coast of Skye. Opened: September 2017 the first legal distillery on the Isle of Raasay, which sits between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland, the team is hoping to create the finest Hebridean single-malt whisky using a combination of virgin American oak casks and casks previously used for high-rye-content bourbon and wine.

The Clydeside Distillery opened November 2017. Located on the Queen’s Dock, Clydeside is the second of three distilleries opening in the industrial centre (the first one was Glasgow Distillery in 2014 and the third will be on the Pacific Quay), spirit won’t be matured and ready until at least 2020.

The Borders Distillery opened in May 2018 and I was there before that (2017) with friend Ingvar Ronde. This is the first to open in the Borders area in 180 years located in the former Electric Company building in the heart of Hawick, more widely known for the knitwear market. The £10 million project is expected to produce a light, fragrant, and floral style of malt whisky—a very typical Lowlands character using barley entirely from the Borders region. Available in 2020.

Toulvaddie Distillery opening: Late 2018. Founded by Heather Nelson, Toulvaddie Distillery is the first Scotch whisky distillery to be established solely by a woman in almost 200 years (see cardhu). Construction of this brand new micro distillery on the site of the old World War II Royal Naval Air Station HMS Owl, not far from the long established Glenmorangie Distillery, is under way, and whisky production will begin as soon as it’s completed.

Falkirk Distillery opening: Late 2018, about 45 minutes west of Edinburgh. The new distillery and visitor centre is built from scratch but with a traditional appearance. In addition to its distinctive triple-distilled spirit, the distillery aims to become a retail, restaurant and commercial business destination. Hmmm no really serious then?

Holyrood Park Distillery we will have to wait until 2019. Situated next to Holyrood Park in the heart of Edinburgh, this is the first new malt distillery to open in the Scottish capital in nearly 100 years. The historic Engine Shed on St. Leonard’s Lane, which was built in 1835 as part of the Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway, David Robertson, the former master distiller from Macallan and founder of Rare Whisky 101, is heading up the team.

As a whisky tour operator, we shall of course be keeping our beady eyes on all new distilleries, with a view to adding them to our huge list of distilleries to visit.