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CEO Annabel Thomas left her job as a consultant in London after a whisky road trip prompted her to see if she could create a distillery with a difference. By March 2017, Nc’nean (pronounced Nook-knee-anne, it’s an abbreviation of Neachneohain, a witch-queen in Scots Gaelic folklore), was founded as the first fully organic modern distillery in Scotland powered by 100% renewable energy. The wood chips for the biomass boiler are sourced from a local forest, while all by-products are recycled as animal and plant feed on Drimin Estate where the distillery is located.

The distillery employs long mashes times and slower fermentation with varying yeast strains not commonly used in distillation. The unusual lamp-glass-shaped stills with have horizontal lyne arms and shell and tube condensers produce a light and fruity spirit, something the brand worked to achieve with the late distilling consultant Jim Swan, who “masterminded the design of the distillery and the base whisky recipe”. The new-make is rich, malty and has plenty of stone fruit. Two dunnage warehouses, located on the hill behind the distillery, feature temperature regulators to allow Nc’nean greater control over the flavour generated in cask over time.

The first whisky to be released by Nc’nean distillery is expected in 2020, although you can purchase a limited number of individual casks which are made available annually in the meantime if you fancy. Or enjoy its lovely Botanical Spirit.

Since 2019, Nc’nean has begun to offer two women the opportunity to learn to make whisky, from mashing and distilling through to maturation, with two all-expenses-paid summer internships.

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