A New Distillery Sets Its Sights On Scotland's Magical Islay - The Whiskey Wash

A New Distillery Sets Its Sights On Scotland's Magical Islay

By Nino Marchetti / April 16, 2014

The isle of Islay is a magical place for Scotland’s whisky, hosting some of this region’s most prolific distilleries. Now another operation, the ninth of its kind, is hoping to break ground later this year for an anticipated fall 2015 opening.

The planned Gartbreck Distillery will be built at Saltpan Point on the site of an old farm located on the shore of Loch Indaal near Bowmore. It reportedly will be unique in its operations in that it will revive a so called traditional method of whisky making that had been “abandoned for the benefit of cost efficiency. Its two pots stills which will be overlooking the sea through a large glass garble will be direct heated with a live flame, it will use worm tub condensers and fermentation of the wash will take place in Oregon Pine wooden washbacks.”


Bespoke equipment used by Gartbreck will also include what’s described as “some technical evolution allowing in particular to significantly minimize the drawbacks usually associated with the direct heating of the stills. The distillery’s water will flow by gravity from Grunnd Loch which overlooks the distillery 900m away from it, and the floor malting and the kiln will allow to produce 20% of its needs in peated malt in using local barley from the isle.”

The chief person behind it, one Jean Donnay, has experience in working in a distillery, “having previously designed Glann ar Mor Distillery in Brittany under the very same lines, and having operated it successfully since 2005.” His new location hopes to be churning out, once operational, one type of single malt which will offer “a highly peaty character for which Islay whiskies are so famous,” and joins the Cotswolds distillery in England as part of a new generation of whisky makers setting up shop in the United Kingdom.