First distillation in half a millennia to happen at Lindores Abbey Distillery

14 December 2017

For the first time in 523 years, the stills at Lindores Abbey Distillery are being fired up, ready for whisky production to begin.

The new Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife is built on the site of the first recorded whisky distillation in Scotland. Yesterday, distillery manager Gary Haggart – formally of Cragganmore Distillery – took the first cut of spirit from the three stills, saving it to be stored in Woodford Reserve and Old Forester bourbon barrels. The distillery is set to produce 150,000 of spirit a year.

The story goes that in 1494 Friar John Cor of Lindores Abbey in Fife paid duty on eight bolls of malt to make aqua vitae (400 x 70cl bottles) for King James IV. As a result of this payment, Lindores Abbey is recognised as a place of global whisky pilgrimage.

Fast forward 523 years and the distillery is in the hands of Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith, who have also established the distillery as a visitor centre. Whilst waiting for the whisky to mature, Lindores Abbey will produce gin made with botanicals grown on the site in 1494.

'Distilling the first spirit at Lindores Abbey in more than 500 years is such an honour, and with this innovative and world-class distillery behind me, it’s now the task of the team here to produce a Scotch Whisky worthy of its spiritual home,' said Haggart.

'We’re looking forward to that challenge, using all of the expertise and passion Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith have garnered from across the industry, and it will be our pleasure to welcome whisky pilgrims through our doors to share in the spirit of this unique place.'

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