New Perthshire whisky distillery to show plenty of spirit
- Phil Hannah
The smallest — and newest — distillery in Scotland is just weeks away from launching.
Based in a 160-year-old renovated farm steading, the Strathearn Distillery aims to bring whisky production back to basics.
Since the beginning of the year, work has been ongoing to transform the site at Bachilton Farm, near Methven, into a mecca for malt lovers.
The idea is the brainchild of Tony Reeman-Clark, David Lang and David Wight, who came up with the plan to produce their own whisky while attending an industry event in Edinburgh.
Director Tony told The Courier: “We are breaking away from the big distillers and taking it back to what it used to be.
“We want to make this an experience and it’s important to us that people can come and find out how a distillery really works.”
The team has been working closely with students from Heriot Watt University’s International Centre for Brewing and Distilling. They revealed the vast differences between visiting a large distillery and a smaller development, like Strathearn.
“A group of students came up here and it was fantastic,” Tony added.
“Normally, when they go to one of the bigger whisky producers, all they’re allowed to do is push a couple of buttons to start the process. Here, however, they were able to take things apart and really find out how things work.”
There are also ambitious plans to turn members of the public into distillers by hosting week-long workshops, making it the only place in Scotland to offer these first-hand experiences.
Tony said: “The idea is that they can come here on a Monday to pick their malt and start making their whisky.
“The next two days, while it’s fermenting, would be spent training people how to use the stills, so they can finish the distilling process themselves.
“On the final day, they can cask up their whisky and lay it down for three years to mature.”
The venture has been described as an investment for malt whisky fans, as a 50-litre cask can reap up to 19 bottles of the water of life.
Much as they would in a restaurant, customers can order their favoured drink.
David Lang, who is also a director at the distillery, said: “We have a range of casks, so we can work with people individually to determine what their own whisky will taste like. No one else in Scotland does that.”
Due to its unique nature, the Strathearn Distillery, which is described as a Micro-Distil-Brewery, will also be able to create gin and, in the near future, speciality ales.
The team is already hoping to market a particularly special spirit — Heather Rose gin. Although it looks more like whisky in the bottle, once tonic water is added it turns a delicate pink colour.
Plans are now in place to stock this in independent stores across the country.
They may have big ambitions, but Tony and the two Davids intend to keep their operation as local as possible, even using barley grown on Bachilton Farm during the production process.
In the longer term, a maltings may be developed, ensuring that the complete cycle is based on-site.
The Strathearn Distillery will be up and running by the middle of next month, when the directors hope to open their doors to visitors. For further information on ordering a cask or booking an experience day, go online to www.strathearndistillery.com, call 01738 840100, or firstname.lastname@example.org.