Historic distillery takes first cut of whisky half a century on

13 December 2017, 06:25


Whisky is set to flow again at the first recorded distillery in Scotland after production returned to the site more than 500 years on from when the first dram was bottled.

Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife has been described as the ''spiritual home'' of whisky and exchequer rolls from 1494 show that Friar John Cor of the abbey paid duty on eight 'bolls' of malt to make 'aqua vitae', or alcohol, for King James IV. The old Scottish measure amounts to 350 litres.

A new £7 million visitor centre and distillery opened in October at the end of a 20-year regeneration project by abbey custodians Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith.

Lindores is aiming to produce 150,000 litres of spirit a year, using 100% Fife barley and overseen by distillery manager Gary Haggart and whisky consultant Andy Cant.

The first cut of the new distilled whisky is to be captured on Wednesday.

Mr Haggart said: "Distilling the first spirit at Lindores Abbey in more than 500 years is such an honour, and with this innovative and world-class distillery behind me, it's now the task of the team here to produce a Scotch whisky worthy of its spiritual home.

"We're looking forward to that challenge, using all of the expertise and passion Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith have garnered from across the industry, and it will be our pleasure to welcome whisky pilgrims through our doors to share in the spirit of this unique place."

The abbey ruins - where William Wallace rested after the Battle of Black Earnside in 1298 and the burial site of the first Duke of Rothesay - are also open to the public as part of the new Lindores visitor centre experience.

Mr McKenzie Smith said: ''Twenty years ago, when I first read that the earliest written reference to Scotch whisky distillation in Scotland cited Friar John Cor of Lindores' commission by King James IV to turn eight bolls of malt into aqua vitae it changed my life and gave me the purpose and ambition to preserve Lindores Abbey for generations to come.''