Malt Whisky Yearbook 2018 *Establishing a new distillery is never an easy task. Especially if you do it on Islay where you inevitably will be compared to a group of 200 year old, iconic distilleries. But Anthony Wills and his family did it and they seem to have come through as winners.
Critics have been positive and sales have increased steadily since the first release back in 2009. The initial two washbacks were expanded to four in 2007 and another two were installed in 2016. It has now become evident that this will not be sufficient for future demand. The plan now is to build a new still/mas house which will be a mirror image of the existing one. This means another pair of stills and six more washbacks with a total capacity of 450,000 litres of pure alcohol. If everything goes according to plan, the new part of the distillery could be operational by autumn 2018. Already in late 2017, a new malting floor and a new kiln will enable the owners to double their own malting which means 25-30% of their future malt requirement.
The distillery has its own floor maltings with a quarter of the barley requirements coming from fields that surround the distillery. At present, 20% of the malt requirement (peated to 20ppm) comes from own maltings, while the balance comes from Port Ellen (at 50ppm). Other equipment include a 1.2 tonne stainless steel semi-lauter mash tun, six stainless steel washbacks with an average fermentation time of 90 hours and one pair of stills. The distillery is currently doing 9 mashes per week which translate to 200,000 litres of alcohol.
The core range consists of Machir Bay and Sanaig. The latter was released in 2016 and has been matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso sherry casks. Limited, but regular releases are the sherry matured Loch Gorm and 100% Islay. Recent, limited releases include a Sauternes cask maturation, the Original Cask Strength, a Portugese red wine cask maturation and the 2009 Vintage. The special Feis Ile 2017 bottling was a 9 year old cask strength version of the 100% Islay. For the UK duty free market there is Coull Point and for global duty free, Saligo Bay is available.*
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