Our home village of Lochranza really is the perfect location for producing the perfect Single Malt. It's all about the water.
The area is home to the purest water in all of Scotland – every drop of Arran Single Malt starts its life as rainwater which pools at Loch na Davie in the beautiful hills behind the distillery. The clear water cascades down the hillside, through six unassuming waterfalls, each one purifying the water further. The name of the burn, Easan Biorach, means 'Sharp Waterfalls' in Gaelic. The purity of our water means that we can create a clean, sweet dram which is entirely natural and unadulterated. We never add caramel or strip flavour out using chill filtration. We usually serve our whiskies at 46% ABV, which means that it stands up well to dilution and adding a little splash of water.
Arran enjoys a warm microclimate – the atmosphere of sea breezes and clear mountain air, together with the warm flow of the Gulf Stream is ideal for the speedy maturation of single malts. The island has a reputation for producing the highest quality whisky.
Making Arran whisky
We make whisky the old way. It’s not the easiest or the cheapest way, but it’s the best.
Our whisky has only a few ingredients - we use concerto barley and water from Loch na Davie, the purest in Scotland. The malted barley is mixed with this water in the mash tun to make wort, which goes into wooden washbacks, where yeast is added to begin fermentation. At the end of this process we have a liquid - called wash - that’s about as strong as very strong beer.
The wash is double-distilled in copper pot stills. The first distillation produces a liquid that’s about 23% alcohol, and the second raises this to an average strength of 68%. This colourless liquid is matured in oak casks which have held wines and spirits like sherry and bourbon. The wood gives colour and character, and the choice of cask is probably the most important influence on the character of the end whisky.
Once it reaches the desired age, we bottle most of our single malts at 46% abv or at cask-strength. We never add anything artificial - so all the colour in our whisky comes from the wood of the cask.
To chill or not to chill - why we treat our whisky gently
Most whisky is chill-filtered to remove a range of substances - including proteins and esters - which are produced in the distillation and maturation process. The reason is largely to do with appearance, as these substances can make the spirit turn a little cloudy when you add water or ice. However we believe the process destroys some of the subtle nuances of aroma and flavour that add to the character of the end whisky, so we never chill-filter our malts when they are bottled above 43% Vol.