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Arbikie Distillery was dreamed up over several drams in a New York bar by a family of farmers. Brothers John, Iain, and David are the visionaries and driving force behind the Arbikie, who grew up working the land on the same site their family has worked on for four generations, although farming in the Stirling family goes back even further to 1660.

The idea was to create whisky with a true ‘field to bottle’ philosophy, since the family could grow all the grain it required on its estate. The red sandstone-tinted soil, the powerful sea, and the turbulent weather gives Arbikie a unique edge in spirits production, which is today led by master distiller, Kirsty Black (listed in the top ten female master distillers in the world by Spirits Business Magazine) and Christian Perez.

Uniquely, in whisky terms, Arbikie specilises in Scottish rye. Today Scotch single malt is distilled from malted barley, with maize and wheat also used for the grain whisky essential to blends, but that was not always the case. Historically rye was used too. America doesn’t have a monopoly on rye whisky and Arbikie cites this nineteenth-century practice as a tradition it has revived. The 1794 Highland Rye Single Grain, for example, uses Arantes rye (some wheat and malted barley are also included in the mash bill).

Arbikie is also interesting in that it’s the first single-estate Scottish distillery to distil all its spirits in the same copper pot stills, with the vodka and gin spirit than going into a 40-plate distillation column.

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