The team from Unfiltered made a point of stopping off at some of the younger and about-to-be-opened distilleries when we travelled down the North East coast on our trip around the NC500 in 2016. Here’s a reminder of where we visited and the distilling delights that await us when we’re able to return

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There isn’t a lot of distillery action on the North Coast 500 route once you head west from Inverness, or even along the north coast when you turn right at Durness. But as you approach the town of Thurso, suddenly distilling is much more prevalent, with some newer operators making a name for themselves in among the established operators.

Here are some of the highlights from our trip in summer 2017.

The wide expanse of beautiful clear waters and endless beaches mark the turn from west to far north coast of Scotland.

Shane Fraser, distillery manager at Wolfburn in Thurso. The distillery started running spirit in 2013, taking its water from the same source as the original distillery that operated nearby from 1821 until the 1850s. Wolfburn’s production process is geared towards creating a lighter character, with a slow mash and fermentations of up to 92 hours.

Our next stop was to visit Phil and Simon Thompson in their distillery in a converted 19th century fire station behind their Dornoch Castle Hotel (also an SMWS partner bar). Phil and Simon was producing gin at the time and laying down their first casks of what, later in 2020, will be their first release of single malt whisky.

It’s always special to see a new distillery taking shape, and that was certainly the case when we stopped by to see how GlenWyvis distillery in Dingwall was coming together. It’s the world’s first 100 per cent community-owned distillery, raising its capital through crowdfunding and community ownership, and built on land leased by distillery founder John McKenzie from his own farm for £1.


You can read all about Unfiltered’s complete tour of the NC500 route around the north of Scotland in our issue from November 2017, which you can read in full here

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