Distillery was founded in 1995 by Harold Currie, a
former Managing Director at Chivas who also has worked
for Pernod Richard. More than 1 000 people attended the
opening in august in 1995. The £1.2 million starting
capital was mainly raised through the sales of 2 500
‘bonds’ (a clever and often used system where customers
acquire the right to buy finished whisky after a certain
maturation period which in Arran’s case was six years).
Although the Arran Distillery came to the island fairly
recently the art of making whisky has been present for a
long time. During the seventeenth century Arran Island
was the home of more than 50 illicit distilleries which
were all very well known for their quality whisky. Sadly
all distilleries eventually perished, mostly due to the
added cost of transporting the whisky to the mainland.
In spite of its remoteness and the poor track record for
the original distilleries, Isle of Arran is actually the
perfect place to run a distillery today since the island
has become a very popular holiday destination; the Isle
of Arran is known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ because of
its wide variety of scenery with lochs, mountains,
lowlands and castles. If you keep this fact in mind and
also consider that Harold Currie has family ties to the
Island, the decision to found a distillery on this
particular island is easy to understand.
The excellent visitor centre was opened by none other
than Her Majesty the Queen in 1997. The centre has
received the ‘highly commended’ award from Scotland’s
National Tourism Board. Arran Distillery has been very
productive in a short time and have released several
bottlings. They have also managed to gain the right to
use the name of Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Poet,
in their bottle labels. This is no mean feat since many
distilleries try to use Robert Burns in some way in
their marketing. Customers may buy the Robert Burns
Single Malt, the Robert Burns Blend and some other Burns
bottlings at the gift shop or directly from the official
Arran Malt, 43%
Arran "Unchillfiltered", 46%
Arran First 1995 46%
Arran Calvados Finished 60,8%
Arran Champagne Finish 58,9%
Arran Port Finish 57,4%
One of Scotland’s few independent
distilleries, founded in 1995.
Lightly smoked, sweet
with notes of dried fruit.
deciding on the exact spot for the distillery, the
company went through extensive testing before they
finally settled for the town of Lochranza. The town was
chosen because of its proximity to the preferred water
source, the Loch na Davie which lies some 2.5 miles
south of the distillery.
All malt is bought from Aberdeenshire and is made mainly
from Chariot and Optic Barley. The full lauter mash tun
is made from stainless steel and the wooden washbacks
are made from larch. The distillery has two onion shaped
stills with long thin necks which are internally steam
heated. The wash still holds 7 100 litres and the spirit
stills holds 4 300 litres. The stills may seem small for
a distillery with the drive and ambition of Arran
Distillery, but room is already reserved in the main
building for two additional stills should the need arise.
Arran mostly mature their whisky in sherry casks (Hogsheads
and Butts) but they also use bourbon barrels.
Furthermore, one of their recent bottlings has been
finished in calvados casks and has been met with much
appreciation for its complex character. Some of the
casks are stored on site in two earth floor warehouses
but some are also stored at the Springbank Distillery.
The current annual production at Arran is 750 000 litres.
Lochranza, Isle of Arran,
The distillery is open all year round between 10am and
6pm. Guided tours are available after advance booking.
The distillery also has an award-winning restaurant
which only uses local produce. The Arran visitor centre
has about 42 000 visitors every year. The
admission is £3.50-
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