A historic distillery could be transformed into a £14million hotel, spa and conference centre.
The Coleburn Distillery could be brought back to life as a leisure complex, with plans to celebrate its past by creating a whisky museum.
Brothers Dale and Mark Winchester first put forward the plans for the venue, near Fogwatt, in 2009, and are now keen to push on with the scheme.
They hope their vision for the pioneering development – thought to be the first of its kind in the world – will impress councillors today.
Under the plans, the original 19th century malt barn buildings would be emptied to make way for a 43-bed hotel, with woodland lodges and cottages boosting the total to 100 rooms.
The former warehouse has been earmarked for the museum.
Moray Council’s planning and regulatory services committee is due to discuss the ambitious development today.
Last night, the potential of a whisky-themed hotel in the region was hailed as a further boost to Moray’s tourist appeal.
MSP Richard Lochhead said: “The concept of a whisky hotel further boosts Speyside’s attractions as a prime tourist destination where anyone from around the world can visit and enjoy a dram while visiting distilleries in the area.
“Many of our local hotels already tap into whisky heritage and it’s a great way to add value to the experience of visitors.”
The Winchester brothers initially had their plans approved in 2009, but have now submitted a notice that they instead to submit full proposals.
Studies carried out by the firm have pinpointed frustration from tour operators and distilleries about the lack of luxury holiday accommodation and spas in the region.
The development’s website claims research shows there is a “compelling” demand for the hotel, which will be able to host “spectacular” events.
Councillors will discuss the principal of the development today to raise any issues they would like to see addressed in the final plans. A lack of parking space halted the initial application before bays for 550 cars were added to the site.
A report prepared for today’s meeting by planner Craig Wilson explains wildlife concerns would need to be addressed before construction can begin.
He wrote: “The existing distillery building was previously considered by Scottish Natural Heritage as having potential for protected species, in particular bats and as the proposed roof works could disturb or injure bats and could damage roosts a licence would be required.
“A bat and mammal survey (badgers, wild cat, pine martin and red squirrel) would also be required.”
The historic distillery was founded in 1896 in the picturesque woodland setting and transferred between several owners before being closed by Diageo in the 1980s as the whisky recession hit.
The Coleburn name draws its roots from “charcoal burn” – because of the area’s reputation as being the centre of charcoal production.
Former custodians United Distillers first floated the idea of converting the aged buildings into flats in the 1990s but sold them to the Winchester brothers in 2004 before they could come to
fruition. Almost all of Coleburn’s production went into blends, including Johnnie Walker Red Label.
Warehouses at the distillery were brought back into use two years ago after a £100,000 refurbishment following whisky brokers Aceo taking a 25-year lease to store casks.