Isle of Arran Distillers started “Project North & South”

Arran Blended Malt from Lochranza and Lagg distilleries is maturing now on the island

 

With the "Project North & South", Isle of Arran Distillers started the creation of an Arran Blended Malt: New Make from the company’s two distilleries in Lochranza and Lagg was married and filled into casks. It will be maturing to be the island's first blended malt, as there was only one distillery here until last year. This changed with the opening of the Lagg Distillery in spring 2019.

Separate production of peated and unpeated whisky

The distillery in Lochranza in the north of Arran has been producing since 1995. For several years both the unpeated Arran Single Malt Whisky and the peated version of the distillery (Machrie Moor) have been produced here. This has changed since production started at Lagg Distillery in the south of the island in April 2019: the unpeated malt is still made in Lochranza, the production of the peated one moved to Lagg. So now there is the possibility to produce not only Arran Single Malt, but also Arran Blended Malt. The usual way to create a blended malt is by marrying the matured whiskies. The Isle of Arran Distillers have chosen a different way: They already blend the new make before it filled into casks for maturation.

Arran distilleries started again after Corona break

After a standstill of operations at the Lochranza and Lagg distilleries since March 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic, production started again on May 19. The new make of the first runs of both distilleries was batched and filled in Bourbon Barrels, Sherry Hogsheads and Sherry Butts in Lochranza. The casks now are sleeping on the island for the next few years until the whisky will be matured and the time has come to bottle the first Arran Blended Malt.

A representative of a unique period of time

James MacTaggart, who handed over his position as a Distillery Manager in Lochranza to David Livingston at the end of 2019 (we reported) and has since been responsible for both sister distilleries as Director of Operations & Production, is quoted in a press release: “This is a first for Isle of Arran. We are aware of blended malts where the whisky from one distillery is married with that of another, or blended whiskies created by mixing grain with malt whisky, however this is the first time that we know of malt whisky from two sister distilleries being blended at the spirit stage. As the owners of two wonderful distilleries on the Isle of Arran, we felt it was right to join the two sides of our island together and produce a whisky that would always be a marker for this unique period in time.”

Image: Isle of Arran Distillers

James MacTaggart, Director of Operations & Production (on the right) and Sales Manager Andy Bell with cask number one