Food & Drink

The Cabrach Distillery prepares for launch in heartland of malt whisky

The Cabrach Distillery prepares for launch in heartland of malt whisky

(Credit: Collective Architecture)

A new Speyside single malt Scotch whisky distillery, which will breathe new life into a remote area of north-east Scotland, is preparing to open its doors this summer, having reached a major milestone with the arrival of its new stills.

The Cabrach Distillery will herald the return of real Cabrach whisky after a long sleep of more than 170 years and is the cornerstone of The Cabrach Trust’s transformational regeneration masterplan for the area.

A social enterprise and the first Community Interest Company of its kind, The Cabrach Distillery will distil, mature and bottle a single malt Scotch whisky of unparalleled provenance and repute. Due to the distillery’s unique purpose and limited scale, bottles of The Cabrach whisky will be scarce and highly sought-after.

The Cabrach is a unique part of Scotland on the rugged edge of Speyside where highland geography, rich cultural history, and a distinctive community spirit intersect to create an inimitable sense of place. The area’s storied history of illicit distilling paved the way for modern whisky production methods and traditions that live far beyond Speyside. Once home to more than 1,000 residents, depopulation and decline have resulted in fewer than 100 people today.

As a purpose-driven and community owned distillery, the project aspires to meet the highest social and environmental standards, creating 12 full-time jobs and 50 volunteering opportunities in the process. All future profits will be legally enshrined to further progress the Trust’s regeneration vision.

Jonathan Christie, chief executive officer of The Cabrach Trust, said: “The Cabrach is renowned for its role in the birth of malt whisky and completion of The Cabrach Distillery will contribute to a tale of renewal like no other.

“Whisky distilleries are so often the lungs of rural communities, and our new distillery will anchor our regeneration vision, creating much-needed permanent, skilled employment whilst attracting thousands of visitors to this special place, who will be able to discover the area’s rich history, heritage, and natural beauty.”

The Cabrach Distillery prepares for launch in heartland of malt whisky

(Credit: Collective Architecture)

The Cabrach Distillery stands pride of place at the centre of Inverharroch Farm, within painstakingly restored 19th century stone steadings which will also house a café and heritage centre. World-renowned coppersmiths Forsyths, based in nearby Rothes, has built the copper stills, which have now been transported to The Cabrach, and undertaken all major aspects of the construction.

In a first for the whisky industry, the Trust agreed a unique partnership with Forsyths which included a generous philanthropic contribution. In recognition of its support, the Trust will enshrine Forsyths as a founding partner alongside the Ethos Foundation and Bently Foundation which have both generously supported the project, alongside further funding from Highlands & Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Government.

Forsyths chairman, Richard Forsyth OBE, added: “We are honoured to use our decades of expertise in helping to build some of the finest distilleries in the world to support The Cabrach Trust in realising its innovative vision for The Cabrach Distillery.

“The unique location, famed for the vital part it played in Scotland’s malt whisky story, and the distillery’s unique status as a Community Interest Company, which will directly benefit the local Moray community we share, were the main draws for us to become involved and support the project as much as possible.”

Ahead of the opening, The Cabrach Distillery has introduced The Cabrach Collective, a small community of founding champions who will join the journey to revive the long-lost craft of whisky making in The Cabrach. The Collective will be limited to no more than 1,849 members, in tribute to the old steadings, home of The Cabrach Distillery, which have stood at Inverharroch since 1849.

Alan Winchester, master of malt at The Cabrach Distillery, commented: “Ahead of the opening of the distillery we are proud to launch The Cabrach Collective, an opportunity for whisky enthusiasts to join us on this remarkable journey and play a vital part in restoring a proud community like few others. One of the key member benefits is The Feering, which has been created for the sole purpose of beginning the regeneration of this special place in Scotland’s malt whisky story.

“Across our series of three, each expression will offer whisky lovers a different flavour experience and we are excited to share The Feering Early Harvest, a beautifully mellow, yet sprightly dram. A dram that reflects the whisky making mastery the Cabrach was once famed for in the 1800s, combining a pervading warmth akin to the fabled hospitality of the area.”

The Cabrach Distillery will reach another important milestone of first distillation in August this year. Thereafter the wild spirit of The Cabrach will be filled into fine casks to begin its patient maturation journey, which will culminate in the return and release of The Cabrach single malt whisky.