InchDairnie Not Your Grandfather's Old School Scotch Distillery - The Whiskey Wash

InchDairnie Not Your Grandfather's Old School Scotch Distillery

By Nino Marchetti / June 2, 2016

The traditional romantic vision of a Scotch whisky distillery is often something of a small scale nature, an iconic building with centuries old techniques behind it sitting in a remote location and making use of the earth, wind and waves to produce a high quality spirit. Quite the opposite of this, at least in the romantic sense anyhow, is InchDairnie Distillery, which just recently opened its doors to produce its own take on a high quality single malt.

Describing itself as “an ingenious new-look” facility, InchDairnie is located in the city of Fife in Scotland’s Lowlands region. Its building design is said to be “contemporary both inside and out; its dark colour and sharp, angular design is symbolic of its forward-thinking approach to traditional whisky-making.”


The new InchDairnie distillery (image via Rob McDougall)

It is to the end of a “forward-thinking approach” that this distillery, founded by whisky industry veteran Ian Palmer, is looking to shine. Palmer and his team are incorporating five “flavor innovations” which, when combined, reportedly create their own unique expression. These include:

  1. Seasonal barley – the rare use of winter barley, as well as more traditional spring barley
  2. Mash conversion techniques – using an unconventional mash filter and hammer mill, a combination which is very rare in Scottish distilling
  3. Unique yeast recipe – the blend of yeast strains used is unique to InchDairnie Distillery
  4. High gravity fermentation – higher than normal gravities allow for a more flavoursome spirit
  5. Bespoke stills with double condensers – distinct still shape and double condensers ensures more copper contact and helps create a unique flavour profile. It’s believed to be the only distillery to use double condensers.

InchDairnie, which is making use of local Fife barley and water, plans to produce two million liters of whisky in its first year. Over the coming years additional stock will be laid down, all with the intention of creating a “InchDairnie Single Malt Scotch whisky” down the line. It is believed this will be ready around 2029 so, in the meanwhile, a malt for blending will also be made that’s being sold to other distillers for use.

“InchDairnie is the culmination of a dream and everything I’ve learnt about whisky-making over the last four decades,” said Palmer in a statement. “I’m hugely respectful of whisky-making traditions, but at InchDairnie our vision is to use technical expertise to capture and nurture all of the flavours from the whisky-making process. That’s why, alongside traditional ingredients such as water, malted barley and yeast, technology and innovation will be important ingredients in our whisky.”

The contemporary look of the distillery is designed to reflect our approach. A great deal of our time and investment has been focused on ensuring that every piece of equipment and every step of the whisky-making process has been thoroughly researched and fine-tuned to create the best possible spirit.”