Island of Islay set for ninth whisky distillery

A new whisky distillery on the shores of Islay's Loch Indaal will be the island's ninth. Picture: Alison Welsh
A new whisky distillery on the shores of Islay's Loch Indaal will be the island's ninth. Picture: Alison Welsh
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The Hebridean island of Islay is set to get a brand new distillery - its ninth.

A French distiller is seeking planning permission for the venture.

Celtic Whisky Company owner Jean Donnay - who runs Glann ar Mor Distillery in Brittany with his wife Martine - has applied for permission to demolish existing outbuildings at Gartbreak Farm, near Bowmore, and build a new distillery.

The planned distillery, which is on the shores of Loch Indaal, is set to open in the spring of 2015.

The venture will be called Gartbreck and will be Islay’s smallest distillery - and the third owned by a French company.

Islay went 125 years without getting a new distillery. Now it is set to have two in a decade, following Kilchoman’s opening in 2005.

Mr and Mrs Donnay have run their small Bretan distillery since 2005.

“Islay has to be regarded as the maker of whisky on the planet. I can’t think of a better place to have a distillery. Gartbreck is a magical site,” said Mr Donnay.

“I am currently making whisky exactly like they made it in Scotland 50 years ago. You get lots of distilleries opening up all over the world but they don’t have the character of a Scotch malt.

“Scotch whisky is like great classical music. You have to understand it to appreciate it, but that takes time - there’s a complexity about it.”

He hopes to produce 55,000 litres-a-year of peaty malt.

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