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Five whiskies from new Scottish distilleries everyone should try

Scotland (along with the rest of the world) is seeing something of a distilling boom, with new whisky distilleries popping up across the length and breadth of the country, here are five whiskies from new distilleries we recommend you try.

Published: September 6, 2016
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The Scots love for tinkering, innovation and great whisky, has saw something of a revival in the desire to distill and now more and more distilleries (not just whisky but gin and vodka too) are appearing up and down the country.

Be they new ventures like Eden Mill and Raasay, the product of the success of independent bottlers like Ardnamurchan and Kingsbarns or new additions to existing stables like Aisla Bay and Rose Isle, the future of distilling in Scotland certainly looks bright.

In fact, over the last five years, the HMRC have granted nearly 150 distilling licences, a large portion of these will be for vodka and gin but it does go to show just how many new distilleries are being planned or constructed in Scotland.

With that in mind, we've picked out five great whiskies from five of these new distilleries for you to check out.

Kilkerran 12 year old

(Region: Campbeltown)

I-Need-My-Girl-Edit

Picture: Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery

This year saw the much anticipated release of the first global age-statement bottling from the Campbeltown-based whisky producer. Re-opened in 2004 after originally operating from 1872-1925, the Glengyle distillery has been making waves with its 'Work in Progress' expressions and fans of Campbeltown whisky have been eagerly awaiting this new release.

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Matured in a marriage of bourbon (70 per cent) and sherry (30 per cent) casks and bottled at 46% abv the new expression's tasting notes are toasted marshmallows and dried fruit pudding with a hint of peat.

The 12 years old has an RRP of £35 

Wolfburn Northland

(Region: Highlands)

Wolfburn

Picture: Wolfburn.com

Replacing Old Pulteney as the most northern mainland distillery, Thurso's Wolfburn has expanded its range by releasing its very first single malt whisky. Matured in American oak quarter casks, Northland is described by distillery manager Shane Fraser as having 'sweet and nutty aromas' with just a hint of peat.

Though exceptionally young, the expression is smooth and very drinkable, an interesting first foray into the market from this exciting new distillery.

Aurora has a RRP of £45

Kilchoman Loch Gorm

(Region: Islay)

Loch Gorm

Picture: Kilchoman

One of the older distilleries on this list, Kilchoman has effortlessly slid into the pantheon of Islay distilleries without looking even remotely out of place, in fact its youthful expressions have on several occasions overshadowed some of its more established ileach cousins.

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The prevalent peat flavour in all of its expressions seem to benefit from their lack of years in maturation. This latest iteration of the distillery's sherry cask whiskies is described as combining "rich sherry fruits and spices" with "smouldering peat, cloves and lingering sweetness". Created using a combination of fresh and refill oloroso sherry butts over six years of age, this year's Loch Gorm is definitely one for the peat heads.

Kilchoman Loch Gorm has an RRP of £65

Ailsa Bay

(Region: Lowland)

Ailsa Bay

Picture: Ailsa Bay

The first thing to note about this inaugural release from the new Grants distillery is the fact that it's a peated lowland and the second is the inclusion of SPPM (sweet parts per million) on its label. Both signs that this is not your typical single malt, with the innovative new distillery offering a true reflection of itself, rather than taking the safer, more traditional route.

The whisky itself, though young, has a great balance of peat smoke and fruit, with notes of liquorice, BBQ, honey and pears. Coming in at near cask strength (48.9% abv), its a dangerously drinkable dram.

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Ailsa Bay has an RRP of £54

Arran 18 year old

(Region: Islands/Highland)

Arran

Picture: Arran Distillery

Another excellent new island distillery that's excelling and demonstrating the power of strong production and consistent quality is Arran distillery, the oldest site on this list, Arran's core expressions have finally reached the grand old age of 18 and this whisky is a great example of what the island distillers are capable of.

Matured in a selection of ex-Sherry casks, this latest expression clocks in at 46% abv and is described as having notes of orchard fruits and white chocolate.

Arran 18 year old has an RRP of £76

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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