Saturday 20 March 2010

Abhainn Dearg Spirit of Lewis

The newest and most remote distillery in Britain, Abhainn Dearg on the Isle of Lewis, has released its first batch of New Make Spirit – as yet it is too young to be legally called whisky.

Around 100 people gathered at McSorley’s Bar in central Glasgow on March 16th to watch Mark Tayburn, founder of Abhainn Dearg, and Bill MacIntosh, chair of Glasgow’s Whisky Club, officially launch the Spirit of Lewis. Although I couldn’t make that evening, I ventured along the next night to taste the liquid and see what all the fuss was about.

Abhainn Dearg Spirit of Lewis is certainly worth trying, for it is lovely. Light and delicate – no oiliness – honey sweet, with a back-and-forth swirl of cigar, milk chocolate – and something briney. And since it’s cask strength, you’ll have a warming glow about you all day long.

The malt proper won’t be available until late 2011 so until then you can take yourself along to McSorley’s, enjoy the original Victorian decor, listen to live music and sample the whisky-to-be straight from the cask it’s maturing in. Or you can watch the launch via the internet, courtesy of that whisky bon viveur, Ralfy.