One of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, Annandale distillery was established in 1830 and takes its name from the valley where it is situated. The site benefits from the unique microclimate that is perfect for maturing whisky. Using water from the Middleby Burn for the whisky and the Guillielands Burn for cooling and power, the distillery produced single malt whisky for 90 years. At the height of production Annandale was making 28,000 gallons annually, a figure considered craft production levels in today’s terms.
After several changes of owner over a number of years Annandale was finally closed by Johnnie Walker who owned the site for 20 years. The distillery produced peated whisky for his blends until it was sold in 1924 to a local porridge oats company. Fast forward to 2007 when husband and wife team Prof David Thomson and Teresa Church purchased the site, investing £12.5 million pounds and 10 years in the project. The couple poured their heart and soul into
reviving the venture to become one of 18 thriving distilleries in the Scottish Lowlands.
Annandale crafts two single malts, one peated and one unpeated. The distillery took the unusual step of carrying out painstaking research into the flavour profiles of more than 60 top whiskies. Using a complex sensory map that charted flavour, characteristics, mouthfeel and complexity, the distillery was able to find a clear gap in the market and create a distinctive flavour profile for Annandale’s single malts.
The work was carried out with the help of the legendary late Dr Jim Swan who introduced a twin still concept. This means that the ratio of spirit to copper in the final distillation is exponentially increased, resulting in a smoother and more refined spirit. Following this method means even Annandale’s New Make spirit at 63.5% ABV has no harshness and can be drunk and enjoyed.
Annandale’s peated and unpeated New Make spirit were awarded 5 stars+ in the Diffords guide and have been awarded numerous medals in the US and UK.
All the Single Malts from Annandale are single cask and are bottled at cask strength. They predominantly use ex-Bourbon casks and sherry butts for their Man O’Words and Man O’Swords series with an average bottling volume of 260 bottles per cask at the 3 year mark.
They produce around 2 bottlings a year with bottles retailing between £126 (Bourbon) to £145 (Sherry). Bottles from cask No1 are now selling for £3200 and 2014 release for £300 a bottle.
The distillery is now holding onto all casks from the 2014 to 2015 period. They were recently awarded Best Single Cask Malt Whisky under 10 Years Old in the Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2020 for their Man O’Sword Cask 2015/470 which housed their peated spirit in a fresh ex-bourbon cask. The Man O Swords series is already retailing for £3200 per bottle (1st Cask 2014), £300 per bottle (2014 Rare Vintage release) or £126 per bottle (2015 Vintage release), indicating a very bright future indeed for these whiskies.
100% Scottish barley
Production of around 1700 barrels a year
First fill and second fill 200L ex-Bourbon barrels form around 80% of their stock.
15% of stock is sherry butts and 5% is a mix of red wine, Port wood, Cognac, Tequila, and other rare and exotic casks.