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Philip and Simon Thompson announced their plans for the Dornoch distillery back in 2015, with a focus on making a style of whisky that has been long extinct. They’d be the chaps to trust to accomplish this, considering that they run the award-winning whisky bar at Dornoch Castle Hotel, which specialises in rare, antique bottles. In early 2016, the team announced their crowdfunding campaign, as they “...felt that’s the sort of the best way to get something started from a relatively small scale.”

Speaking of small scale, Dornoch distillery is housed in the Old Fire Station on the grounds of Dornoch Castle Hotel, and to say the building is cosy would be putting it lightly. It becomes even cosier when you look at all the equipment they’ve stuffed in there - a set of direct gas fired pot stills, a 2,000 litre pot-column still, a smaller pot-column still, wooden washbacks, a semi-lauter mashtun and more. It’s all necessary kit, as Philip and Simon are dedicated to creating some awesome whisky (and more). They’ll be using floor malted organic heritage barley varieties to make it, and utilising long fermentations with brewers varieties of yeast in their wooden washbacks.

It’s not just whisky they’re making at Dornoch. They’ve also got the gear to make their own gin from scratch - no bought-in neutral grain spirit whatsoever! They’re kicking off production with a series of experimental batches of gin - some of them being quite spirit-driven, while others would make a better everyday mixer. They’re also looking for feedback on their initial Experimental Batches, which will help to develop future expressions.

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