The Perthshire farm contributing to Scotland's micro-distilling whisky revolution
Strathearn Distillery is among Scotland’s smallest
Down on a Perthshire farm a micro-distilling revolution is on its way, as David Pollock discovered
Perthshire is a place to keep whisky statisticians busy. It’s home to Scotland’s reputed oldest distillery, Glenturret by Crieff – which also happens to be the most visited, with its visitor centre based around the internationally recognised Famous Grouse blend. Perthshire claims the origins not just of Grouse, but also the well known Dewar’s and Bell’s blends. The region is also home to Scotland’s smallest distillery, for a long time reckoned to be Edradour, an attractive wee distillery in the hills above Pitlochry.
That’s a title now claimed by the tiny Strathearn Distillery between Perth and Crieff.
‘We’re following a joint dream to have our own distillery, which amazingly we have now realised,’ says David Lang, co-owner alongside Tony Reeman-Clark, David Wight and other smaller investors, who have been engaged in the set-up process for almost three years. ‘We foresee a micro-distilling revolution coming to Scotland.’
They’ve been building on Bachilton Farm near Methven in rural Perthshire for the best part of 2013, opening officially in August that year.
Lang expresses his desire to take whisky ‘back to its roots’ by reviving the area’s farm distillery heritage of the 1700s. At the moment, however, they’re only producing gins – the light Heather and Rose and the Old London-meets-citrus-style Caledonia Classic are the first released, with the fruity Afta Dinha Jhin to follow. Their own Ooskie whisky will follow in mid-2014, while it’s expected that a range including ‘a lighter non-peated single malt, a heavier peated single malt and something special in between’ will be up and running within four years.
‘We’re using traditional alembic copper stills and approximately 50-litre small-octave casks,’ explains Lang, emphasising the small-scale elements of their operation. Everything will be done by hand and only single cask runs will be bottled. The new ways, it seems, have much in common with the old ways: simple, small and manageable.