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Islay in line for 10th whisky distillery after Argyll and Bute Council approves new plans

Artist's impression of the new distillery planned for Islay
Artist's impression of the new distillery planned for Islay

Work to build a new whisky distillery on Islay is expected to start this year after revised plans were approved by Argyll and Bute Council.

The local authority’s decision was welcomed as “fantastic news” by Sukhinder Singh, co-founder of Elixir Distillers, which first announced its proposals for the development around three years ago.

Capable of producing 220,000 gallons, or more than 1.4 million standard-sized whisky bottles, annually, the distillery, beside the village of Port Ellen, will also house a visitor centre and educational facility.

The news that our planning application has been accepted is fantastic.”

Sukhinder Singh, co-founder, Elixir Distillers

Elixir, founded by Mr Singh with his brother, Rajbir, also intends to create an apprenticeship programme there.

Sukhinder Singh said: “The news that our planning application has been accepted is fantastic.

“We’ve worked closely with the Argyll and Bute planning committee to create plans for a distillery that fits into the landscape and supports the community.

“We want to create whiskies that inspire both the people of Islay and Islay whisky fans worldwide, enhancing the already glowing reputation of Islay whiskies, while also becoming an integral part of the community.”

Internationally renowned

The southernmost of the Inner Hebrides, Islay currently has nine working distilleries and is internationally renowned for producing whiskies with characteristic peat smoke aromas.

Yet to be named, the new distillery will feature an exterior in keeping with others on the south coast of the island and, according to Elixir, “combine the best elements of tradition and modernity in both design and production”.

Oliver Chilton, the company’s head blender, said: “We take great pride in being able to learn as whisky enthusiasts, and use that knowledge as a guide to find and bottle great whisky, including our independent bottlings brands Port Askaig and Elements of Islay.

“Having our own distillery will be a fantastic opportunity to apply the same methodology and passion for flavour in a drive to make truly great spirit to enhance the incredible reputation that Islay single malt already has.”

The first recorded distillery on Islay was Bowmore, founded in 1779, and the most recent addition was Ardnahoe, established in 2018.

Among the well-known malts produced on the island are Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Bruichladdich.

 

 

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