Shetland whisky distillery launches single malts

Shetland Reel Single Malt Scotch Whisky represents the first created by the new distillery. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Shetland Reel Single Malt Scotch Whisky represents the first created by the new distillery. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THE first ever whisky from the country’s newest and most northerly distillery has been launched.

The boutique distillery on a site at the former RAF base at Saxa Vord in Unst, on the Shetland Islands, has produced four different cask strength whiskies.

Until now, the islands had never sold a legal single malt Scotch whisky.

But Shetland Reel Single Malt Scotch Whisky is marking a new chapter in the history and geography of the multi-billion pound Scotch whisky industry.

The new whiskies were distilled in Portsoy but bottled in Unst by the Shetland Distillery Company after a lengthy resting period in casks.

Stuart Nickerson, director of the firm, said: “This a hugely exciting development for us and for Scotch whisky.

“It literally puts Shetland on the map as far as whisky production is concerned – and for the first time.”

“These four casks represent a start to whisky production in Shetland and we have plans to introduce more ‘Bottled in Shetland’ Scotch whiskies, with the long term plan being to install our own distillery and start distilling Scotch whisky on Unst.”

The casks of whisky were distilled and matured on the mainland of Scotland and then shipped from Aberdeen to Lerwick on the overnight ferry.

They were then transported via another two ferries and across the island of Yell before reaching their final destination in the far north of Unst.

Only after a suitable period of resting were they bottled as the first ever “Bottled in Shetland” single malt Scotch whisky.

All of the casks emptied were octaves of 50 litre capacity. Two of them were refill Scotch whisky casks and two were German virgin oak casks.

Twenty-one bottles have been produced of a peated whisky from one of the German oak casks. This has a price of £130 per bottle.

The remaining 151 bottles from the other three casks are to go on sale at £100 per bottle.

The whiskies are non-chill filtered, bottled at cask strength, and no colouring has been added. The whiskies will go on sale on 1 September.

Mr Nickerson has a 35-year pedigree in the Scotch malt whisky industry, having managed several distilleries and revived Glenglassaugh Distillery before selling it to the BenRiach Group.

He and his wife Wilma own The Shetland Distillery Company along with Frank and Debbie Strang, owners of the Saxa Vord Resort in the beautiful island of Unst.

The Shetland distillery steals the prestigious “UK’s most northerly whisky” title held by Highland Park, established in Orkney in 1798.