The entrepreneurs behind a new distillery planned for a 700-year-old castle have have pulled together a team of top noses and blenders from the whisky world to produce the perfect dram.
Dunrobin Highland distillery will occupy the castle’s former powerhouse, while the site’s listed farm steadings will be renovated into bonded warehouses by pioneering couple BoBan Costin and Elizabeth Sutherland.
The plans were approved in 2016 and Mr Costin yesterday confirmed that the project is ready to launch.
However, the team is now waiting for the right investor to pledge the £6 million needed to kick-start production at the Sutherland site.
Mr Costin said: “Creating the distillery and the visitor centre has been our focus since 2016, and it’s been a real learning curve.
“Now we are focusing on the drink itself and on building our team.
“Everything is ready, we are just looking for the right partner.”
The drink will be distilled on site in a hand-built still, and will be a rare “single estate”, with every component from the barley to the water sourced locally.
Mr Costin added: “One of the top barleys in Scotland is grown on Dunrobin farm, and the water will come from our spring known as ‘whispering beard’ in Gaelic, possibly because of the sound of the surrounding grasses as they are blown by the wind.
“When coastal whiskies mature, the sea and the salt in the air affects the taste, inspiring us to think about creating hints of bonfire , smoke and seaweed.”
The couple plan to develop the old Dunrobin farm steadings into the bonded warehouses for the as yet unnamed whisky.
Ms Sutherland, a GP and granddaughter of Countess Elizabeth, the current head of Clan Sutherland, added: “We will also be making gin, using plants and botanicals from the castle gardens.”
The couple have had planning permission to develop the distillery and a visitor centre with tasting room since 2016.
The couple are determined not to seek the funds through selling casks or crowd-funding.
Mr Costin said: “We have already refused offers of investment because we are looking for just the right partner who understands coastal whisky and everything we are trying to achieve.”