Independently Owned and Independently Minded
The spirit of a unique and magical island since 1995.
Arran is a dynamic whisky distillery, doing things the old way. They craft their spirit using traditional methods and a few chosen, pure ingredients. Thus reviving an ancient heritage of whisky-making on Arran.
Arran is the only working distillery on an island, that was once home to many of the illicit stills on the west coast of Scotland. This is where they distill the unique character of Arran – known as Scotland in miniature – into an incomparable whisky.
Their home village of Lochranza really is the perfect location for producing the perfect Malt.
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
Arran make whisky the old way. It’s not the easiest or the cheapest way, but it’s the best.
Arran whisky has only a few ingredients – chiefly two types of barley, Optic and Oxbridge. Accompanied by water from Loch na Davie, the purest in Scotland. The malted barley is mixed with this water in the mash tun to make wort. This goes into wooden washbacks, where yeast is added to begin fermentation. At the end of this process they 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. 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. The choice of cask is probably the most important influence on the character of the end whisky.
Once it reaches the desired age, they bottle most of the single malts at 46% abv or at cask-strength. Arran 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 Arran treat their whisky gently
Most whisky is chill-filtered to remove a range of substances. This includes proteins and esters – which are produced in the distillation and maturation process. The reason is largely to do with appearance. These substances can make the spirit turn a little cloudy when you add water or ice. However Arran believe the process destroys some of the subtle nuances of aroma and flavour that add to the character of the end whisky, so they never chill-filter the malts.
Arran’s James safeguards and protects the outstanding quality of Arran Single Malt. Not much gets past the watchful eye of James as he carefully monitors each and every cask they produce.
Gordon Bloy, John Dowens, Graham Omand, John McMullen and Ben Tattersfield
Their Stillmen work tirelessly to make sure that every step of the whisky making process goes smoothly. There is no compromise on the excellent quality spirit that they produce. With great humour and dedication, these guys are at the heart of Arran operations in Lochranza.
The Arran Process
Watch this video about how Arran whisky is made. Witness a little bit of the magic that takes place every day in Lochranza.