New book explores Isle of Arran’s forgotten whisky history
A pioneering book, which documents the Isle of Arran’s strong affinity with whisky production, has been released in celebration of the new Lagg Distillery opening this Summer.
‘Arran Water: An Island Whisky History’ is the first book to chronicle the Isle of Arran’s unique place in the story of the nation’s favourite spirit and shows how the island has been a historical focal point for whisky production, both legal and illicit.
Whilst Islay, Campbeltown and the Highlands are so often considered hubs of Scotch whisky production, this book documents the people and places of Arran that have contributed to a strong, but long forgotten, tradition of whisky activities.
The title, ‘Arran Water’, comes from the term for whisky that was distilled illicitly on the island, which was known for its quality throughout Scotland during the heydays of smuggling.
The book has been written by expert whisky historian Gregor Adamson, who is a native of the Isle of Arran, and the foreword comes from world-renowned whisky connoisseur and historian Charles MacLean.
It includes unpublished records and first-hand research of the evolution of whisky distillation and unearths the secrets of hidden bothies in Arran’s hills and glens, including the extremely rare discovery of an illicit still bothy.
The bothy, now known as the ‘Smuraig Sma’ Still’, was found by a forestry worker near the site of the new Lagg Distillery and reaffirms evidence that the island was a hotbed of illicit production.
There’s also a focus on the more recent licenced production on the island, noting that the first legal distillery for 160 years was the Isle of Arran’s Lochranza site, which opened in 1995.
For more information on where to buy a copy of ‘Arran Water: An Island Whisky History’, visit http://www.nwp.co.uk/cgi-bin/new.cgi
The launch of the ground-breaking book coincides with the latest chapter in the whisky history of the island, the opening of the new Lagg Distillery, which is set to take place this Summer.
Author, Gregor Adamson, said: “The establishment of the new Lagg Distillery firmly brings production back to the traditional heartland of whisky-making on the island.
“Hopefully, the development of the new distillery alongside the publication of the book will result in Arran’s fascinating distilling heritage finally getting the recognition that it deserves.”
Distillation is now underway at the site in the South of the island and is expected to increase total visitor numbers at both of the Isle of Arran Distillers’ sites to over 200,000 by 2020.
The spirit is expected to mature into a rich, earthy, smoky, Lagg Single Malt which will be very different in character to what is currently produced at the original distillery in Lochranza.
Whisky lovers can be part of the future of Arran’s whisky story by purchasing one of the first casks to be filled at Lagg distillery, and becoming members of the Lagg Cask Society. For more information, visit www.laggwhisky.com
Accolades for Isle of Arran Distillery include Winner for:
Best New Exporter (2004), Queen’s Award for International Trade (2005), Scottish Distiller of the Year (2007) and Scottish Drinks Producer of the Year (2007) Scottish Field Visitor Experience of the Year 2014 2015
Drinks Business Best Contribution to Wine and Spirits Tourism (2017)
Best Brewery/Distillery Tour – Scottish Outdoor Leisure Awards (2017)
Best Visitor Experience – Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (2018)
Product Awards include:
Arran 10 year-old: Gold Medal ‘Best Single Malt 12 Years Under, World Whiskies Awards (2019) San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Medal (2018). International Wine Spirits Competition Gold Medal (2018). Category Winner and Gold Medal ‘Best Scotch Under 12 Years’ Islands Non-Islay at the World Whiskies Awards (2018). International Spirits Challenge Silver Medal (2018). Ultimate Spirits Challenge 91 points (2018). Ultimate Spirits Challenge Cocktail Commendation for the Rob Roy (2018). Double Gold Medal China Wine Spirits Best Value Awards (2014)
Arran 18 year-old: Gold Medal ‘Best Single Malt 13 – 20 Years, World Whiskies Awards (2019) International Wine Spirits Competition Gold Medal (2018) Category Winner Gold Medal ‘Best Scotch 13-20 Years – Islands (Non- Islay) World Whiskies Awards (2018). International Spirits Challenge Silver Medal (2018) Scottish Field Whisky Challenge – Gold Award for Best Whisky £50-100 (2018)
Quarter Cask ‘The Bothy’: Best Scotch Island Single Malt, World Whiskies Awards (2019) Category Winner Gold Medal ‘No Age Statement Single Malt’ for The Bothy Batch 3 World Whiskies Awards (2018). International Wine Spirits Competition Silver Outstanding Medal (2018). International Spirits Challenge Silver Medal (2018)
Arran Lochranza Reserve: International Wine Spirits Competition Silver Outstanding Medal (2018), International Spirits Challenge Silver Medal (2018)