Fife distillery set to launch first 'oat whisky' in over a century

A Fife distillery is delving into history to make series of new whiskies, which could become real rarities.

Published 12th Jun 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

What is claimed to be Scotland’s first oat whisky in more than 100 years has started distilling.

Inspired by the historical use of oats in Scotch, InchDairnie Distillery in Glenrothes mashed the first batch of oats earlier this month.

The innovative new spirit also comes from a desire from managing director Ian Palmer to focus on technology and how to maximise flavour.

The distillery is now home to new ­process equipment, the innovative hammer mill and mash filter combination, that can handle grain beyond standard malted barley.

They also have a specially designed Lomond still, which is used for the oat spirit and the distillery’s annual rye-based whisky.

oat whisky
Picture: InchDairnie Distillery

Research and development into the equipment and ­production processes required to make this oat spirit have been underway for the past year.

With the first distillation of oats taking place on the 10 June, the anticipated launch will depend on how the ­spirit matures.

This is as yet uncharted territory and, in keeping with the distillery’s philosophy, it will be released only when it is ready.

In the meantime, the distillery will be releasing its first single malt, titled InchDairnie, while the oats distillate will be released under the name The PrinLaws Collection (from InchDairnie Distillery).

The PrinLaws Collection will be a collection of unique flavour-led whiskies from different yeasts, cereals and oaks. Every year, up to two weeks are isolated for one-off single campaign distillations, which may never be repeated.

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This means that the PrinLaws bottlings have the potential of being some of the rarest distillates to come out of Scotland.

Ian Palmer said: “Our intention is to push the boundaries of flavour in whisky using a combination of our experience and new technology while remaining true to traditions.

“Creating this whisky is one of many experimental ideas we had in mind when we built the distillery and one of the reasons we chose to install specific equipment such as the hammer mill, the mash filter and Lomond still.

“The objective of the PrinLaws Collection is to share with our consumers some of the work we are doing in exploring the outer edges of the whisky world for new and lost ­flavours.”

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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