A new distillery has opened at the "spiritual home" of Scottish whisky, more than 500 years after its first dram was recorded.

Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife sits on the site of the earliest recorded place to produce a nip, and is now set to begin making the water of life once again.

The £7 million visitor centre and distillery was unveiled on Thursday – 523 years after the first written reference of production.

Drew McKenzie Smith, custodian of Lindores Abbey, said: “Opening Lindores Abbey Distillery, at the spiritual home of Scotch whisky, is a special day for my family, colleagues, and the whisky community around the world.

“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.”

In 1494, Friar John Cor of Lindores 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.

The new distillery will start work on its first spirit this month, using 100 per cent Fife barley and overseen by distillery manager Gary Haggart and whisky consultant Andy Cant.

Author Ian Rankin was among those at the launch.

Lindores is aiming to produce 150,000 litres of spirit a year, to be stored in Woodford Reserve and Old Forester bourbon barrels from Kentucky.

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 – will be open to the public as part of the new visitor centre experience.

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