Best of 2022: New Distilleries To Watch
Based in the heart of Burns Country, Lochlea distillery opened in 2018 on the very farm that Rabbie Burns lived and worked on from 1777 to 1784. By growing their own barley and utilising their on-site water source, they have full traceability over the ingredients going into their process - allowing a greater control over their unique flavour profile. Their first expression was released in 2022: after three patient years of maturation, Lochlea Single Malt First Release was launched on Burn's 263rd birthday. In the spring, they followed this up with Lochlea 'Our Barley', the first in their core range, which was much-loved by The Whisky Shop customers, which is currently sold out.
Opened in 2017, Clydeside Distillery is located within the Pumphouse building, which once controlled all the comings and goings for Glasgow's famous Queen’s Dock. From the historic heart of the Clydeside, Customs & Excise kept a keen eye on all whisky flowing into Scotland's second city. By reviving the Glasgow single malt, and restoring the Pumphouse that his grandfather helped to build, Tim Morrison opened Clydeside distillery with the hope of also creating a new tourist hotspot in the centre of the hip neighbourhood of Finneston. Held back by the pandemic, in 2022 the distillery finally reached their goal with many visiting the distillery for a tour (and a dram!) this year.
8 Doors, a new distillery that opened its visitor centre in 2022, now takes the title of Scotland’s most northerly mainland whisky distillery - without having decanted a drop. No whisky will be bottled for half a decade, although eager customers can purchase a bottle package of the three expressions due to come of age, which they will be able to taste in five years. The distillery takes its name from John O'Groats, nearby to wear the distillery is located, whom (legend has it) had five sons that he often argued with - particularly regarding who should sit at the head of the table during family gatherings. To fix the problem, he built an octagonal house with eight doors, that led to eight seats at an eight sided table!
A sister site to Isle of Arran whisky, the company finished building Lagg distillery in 2019, located near the village of Lagg at the Southern tip of the Isle. The area was rife with both legal and illegal distilling in the 18th and 19th century, so the distillery is an extension of the extensive whisky history at the site. Lagg is made especially peated (unlike Arran whisky) by using a lot of phenols to imbue a smoky, earthy flavour to the liquid. This year, the whisky finally came of age and several inaugural releases were sipped upon. At the beginning of September three batches were released to much love - here at The Whisky Shop, the first of the bunch sold out via an exciting ballot.