Cabrach Distillery debuts whisky ahead of opening

Speyside distillery The Cabrach, which is preparing to open this summer, has released its inaugural Scotch whisky and is inviting consumers to join its new collective.

The distillery will be located in Cabrach on the southern edge of Moray, said to be one of the birthplaces of the Scotch whisky industry and famed for illicit stills and smuggling.

Launched by local charity The Cabrach Trust, the distillery has been in development since 2017. Distillation is expected to begin in August, with stills recently arriving on site.

The development will also include a heritage centre and provide a hub for the community to learn new skills.

The distillery will operate as a social enterprise, with future revenue put towards the trust’s community regeneration goal.

The site aims to distil, mature and bottle single malt Scotch whisky that will be ‘highly sought-after’ due to the distillery’s limited scale. It will produce 100,000 litres of spirit each year and use barley sourced from fields adjacent to the distillery and nearby farms.

In the meantime, The Cabrach Trust has revealed its first whisky, The Feering Early Harvest, a blend of whiskies from four local Speyside distilleries.

The expression was created by Alan Winchester, master of malt at The Cabrach Distillery. He retired as master distiller of The Glenlivet in 2018.

The first of three whiskies in The Feering range, Early Harvest will be limited to 6,000 bottles globally.

The Feering Early Harvest (46% ABV) has an RRP of £75/US$95 and is available to buy from The Whisky Shop and select local retailers.

The Cabrach Collective

Ahead of the opening, the distillery has introduced The Cabrach Collective, a small community of ‘founding champions’ who can join the collective for £1,245 (US$1,534) to receive exclusive bottlings including the debut single malt and The Feering range.

The Collective will be limited to 1,849 members, chosen in tribute to the year the distillery’s old steadings were built.

Winchester said: “Ahead of the opening of the distillery, we are proud to launch The Cabrach Collective, an opportunity for whisky enthusiasts to join us on this remarkable journey and play a vital part in restoring a proud community like few others.

“One of the key member benefits is The Feering, which has been created for the sole purpose of beginning the regeneration of this special place in Scotland’s malt whisky story.

“Across our series of three, each expression will offer whisky lovers a different flavour experience and we are excited to share The Feering Early Harvest, a beautifully mellow, yet sprightly dram.

“It’s a dram that reflects the whisky-making mastery the Cabrach was once famed for in the 1800s, combining a pervading warmth akin to the fabled hospitality of the area.”

The distillery will also create 12 full-time jobs and 50 volunteering opportunities.

Jonathan Christie, CEO of The Cabrach Trust, added: “Whisky distilleries are so often the lungs of rural communities, and our new distillery will anchor our regeneration vision, creating much-needed permanent, skilled employment while attracting thousands of visitors to this special place, who will be able to discover the area’s rich history, heritage, and natural beauty.”

The trust has also partnered with Scottish distilling equipment provider Forsyths, which has provided funding to the project – said to be a first for the whisky industry.

Forsyths was named a founding partner of the distillery, alongside the Ethos Foundation and Bently Foundation, which have also supported the development.

The Cabrach Trust recently secured up to £500,000 (US$636,100) in funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a Scottish government agency.

The project had already received funds of £3.5 million (US$4.6m) in 2021, as well as £310,000 (US$434,240) in 2018 from The William Grant Foundation, Foundation Scotland, Reekimlane Foundation and an anonymous donor.

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