The plans, which will be formally submitted to Argyle & Bute Council later this year, were unveiled yesterday at a pre-planning consultation event in Port Ellen, which gave Islay locals the opportunity to view the proposals.
|Diageo unveils Port Ellen Distillery renovation plans|
Under the plans, the Port Ellen Distillery, will be brought back into production with a combination of two pairs of copper pot stills and two separate distillation regimes in an innovative combination of tradition and experimentation.
The primary distillation regime, using two stills that will exactly replicate the original Port Ellen copper pot stills, will carefully recreate the original spirit character of the distillery that made its single malt Scotch whisky amongst the most sought-after in the world.
Alongside this will be a second, smaller pair of stills that will produce alternative spirit characters, allowing the Port Ellen whisky makers the freedom to experiment with new whisky styles.
The experimental stills pay homage to John Ramsay, who owned Port Ellen in its formative years and who made it one of the most innovative distilleries of the 19th century, pioneering many of the techniques and equipment that would become mainstays of the Scotch whisky industry.
The buildings at the Port Ellen Distillery have gone through many changes since it first opened in 1824, with the distillery closing and largely being demolished in the 1930s, before being rebuilt in the 1960s.
Following its most recent closure in 1983 only the kiln building with its classic pagoda roofs and the traditional sea-front warehouses have survived. These buildings will be restored as integral parts of the revived distillery, with a beautiful new still house created to house distillation.
Commenting on the news, Georgie Crawford, the Master Distiller who is leading the Port Ellen project, said: “These plans are any whisky maker’s dream come true. To have the opportunity to recreate the original spirit character of Port Ellen distillery so we have new generations of that classic Islay peated malt is incredible, but then to combine that with the freedom to experiment with new variations is truly extraordinary.”
In October 2017, Diageo announced a £35 million investment programme to bring back Port Ellen on Islay and Brora distillery in Sutherland, both of which closed in 1983. Since then the company has embarked on an additional £150 million investment programme in Scotch whisky tourism.
Posted by Steve Rush