The Croft has been lucky enough to follow the journey of the Isle of Lewis’ only whisky distillery, Abhainn Dearg since they first laid down spirit back in 2008.

I was fortunate enough to procure a cask of their new make spirit last year and become the first person to take a legal dram off the island in 170 years.

I’ve imbibed more that my fair share of their raw spirit and have loved every drop. It was rough, wild, strong, warming, unconventional, ballistic, sea-soaked and apple sweet. Like marmite you either loved it or hated it and based on month after month of watching folk try it I can safely say far, far more people loved it than hated it.

It was a true island spirit based on old island stills and methods, no Islay imitator was here.

Distiller Mark Tayburn has stuck to his guns and did things his way throughout. His whisky, his vision, the distillery is a true one off, safe from the marketing and PR spin that afflicts a lot of newbie, indy distilleries. It has charm and originality in spades

Three years on and the new make spirit has languished in oak in his bonded warehouse and become legal malt whisky under law.

Pre-orders are being taken for a limited run of just 2011 bottles being shipped in a wooden case for October 2011 at £150.00 + delivery.

Not cheap but this is history in a bottle. Buy to keep or buy to drink?

I was lucky enough to enjoy a dram from cask #2 a few months ago, the spirit that was soon to be the final malt.

It was divine.

Without giving too much away, it was a million miles from the original spirit. Light, complex, delicate, Lowland-style, original, delicious…a real eye opener and confirmation that this is no rough and ready distillery.

This is truly great craft malt whisky, made with originality and skill, casked and matured with care and attention. Roll on the 5 year old and more.

For local drinkers there are a couple of parties planned for the launch in October. Watch this space.

INFO

Each 500ml bottle is individually signed by distillery owner Mark Tayburn

Bottles are numbered

Each bottle is comes in a stylized teak case with an Abhainn Dearg wooden plaque on the front

46% Volume

Non Chill Filtered

Natural Cask Colour

Single Cask Bottling

Bottled by Hand

They will come from casks numbered – 2. 4. 5. 6 & 7 these are all American Oak, bourbon casks laid down when the distillery started production in 2008.