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8 of the most exciting Scotch whisky projects happening right now

2018 has been a huge year for Scotch whisky and we haven't even reached summer yet, we've taken a look at some of the most exciting projects happening right now.

Published: May 11, 2018
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With exports doubling in value over the past two decades and it now being available in 180 countries across the globe, the industry is thriving.

And now with everything from distillery revivals to the launch of new whiskies, it seems this success is set to continue.

Here are just a few exciting projects happening across the country right now.

The revival of the Brora and Port Ellen distilleries

most exciting Scotch whisky projects

Picture: Diageo

Possibly the biggest surprise to arrive in the past decade or so, came at the tail end of last year with Diageo's shock announcement that they would be reviving two of Scotland’s most famous ‘lost’ distilleries.

The Port Ellen distillery on the island of Islay and the Brora distillery on the remote eastern coast of Sutherland are now set to brought back to life as part of a £35 million project by the drinks giant.

Both sites closed in 1983, with the whiskies produced by the two “ghost” distilleries quickly becoming some of the most highly-prized and sought-after, now over thirty years later it seems like the industry's continuing success is set to see the spirit flow from their stills once again.

The distilleries are expected to be in production by 2020, subject to factors such as planning permission and design work.

The revival of Rosebank distillery

Leonard Russell, Managing Director of Ian Macleod Distillers. Picture: Chris Watt

It says a lot that the news of the project to revive this much cherished lost distillery was almost overshadowed due to the Brora and Port Ellen revivals being announced just a week or two before but that hasn't stopped the excitement building among whisky fans to see this whisky rejoin the pantheon of well-loved lowland whiskies.

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Once dubbed ‘the King of the Lowlands’ and the late whisky writer, Michael Jackson, the distillery's closure in 1993 was described as "grevious loss".

It is now set to reopen on the site of the original distillery with an additional visitor's centre and begin producing within the next few years.

The opening of Borders Distillery

L-R: George Tait, Tony Roberts, John Fordyce and Tim Carton. Picture: Borders Distillery

In March this year, new-make spirit began to flow from the copper pot stills at the newly built Borders Distillery in Hawick.

Officially opening its doors to the public in May, the new site which began as the brainchild of Tim Carton, John Fordyce, Tony Roberts and George Tait, became the first new whisky distillery in the region last-known distillery closed in Kelso in 1837.

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It will be a minimum of three years in cask before the first Borders Distillery Single Malt can legally be made available for sale but there are plans afoot with tours of the new building already on offer.

The opening of the new Clydeside Distillery 

Picture: Clydeside Distillery

Glasgow's distilling scene is thriving again with the addition of this exciting new site on the banks of the River Clyde close to the SECC.

Distillery chairman, Tim Morrison, helped fill the distillery’s first casks with new-made spirit ready to be matured in December and the building is home to an excellent visitor centre, interactive whisky experience, café and shop that are perfect for visitors to the city to learn more about the production of this exciting spirit.

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The first single malt whisky is launched in the city for the first time in over 100 years

Liam Hughes, Mike Hayward and Ian McDougall co-founders of The Glasgow Distillery Company. Picture: Chris Watt

Glasgow Distillery Company, the makers of the popular Makar Gin, crossed another milestone recently by becoming the first independent distillery to create single malt in the city since 1902.

Only 5,000 bottles of the 1770 Single Malt – named for the original Glasgow Distillery, now long gone, which was founded in that year - are being made available by ballot to be purchased by whisky fans.

Co-founder Liam Hughes said the new malt will be the first of three core expressions, with a peated expression set to follow the 1770 in 2019 and the first triple distilled expression released in 2020.

Eden Mill launch their first new single malt

Founder Paul Miller with the new whiskies. Picture: Eden Mill

Following the announcement of ambitious plans to create a new multi-million pound distillery and brewery just metres from its current headquarters in Fife in February, St Andrews based distillery Eden Mill decided to release their first ever single malt.

Bottle number 1 of 300 from the Limited Release First Bottling, the first drops of whisky to be distilled and bottled in St Andrews for nearly 160 years, achieved a record sale of £7,100 through Whisky Auctioneer before the release of a limited edition range of 20cl bottles - dubbed the Hip Flask series - was made available to the public.

Priced at just £25, only 3,800 of the exciting new bottles have been released; made up of seven single malt whisky expressions, the range is the result of experimental small-batch distilling.

Hunter Laing begin construction of new distillery on Islay

Picture: Hunter Laing & Co

Hunter Laing & Co. plans to build the ninth distillery on Islay are firmly gathering pace with construction on track to be completed soon.

With whisky legend and world-renowned whisky distiller Jim McEwan tempted out of retirement to lead the creation of spirit in the new distillery and the backing of one of the world's most successful independent bottlers, Ardnahoe will be off to a great start when it eventually begins production later this year.

Diageo announce plans to invest £150 million in whisky tourism

Picture: Diageo

Seizing on the meteoric rise of whisky tourism in Scotland, Diageo unveiled plans to invest a further £150 million into the booming sector last month, with the programme of investment involving the creation of a state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker immersive visitor experience based in Edinburgh.

The project also includes upgrades to the brand’s existing network of 12 distillery visitor centres in a move which, according to Diageo, will put Scotland at the “cutting edge of the global boom in food and drink tourism”.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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