Our estate must be the perfect place to build a distillery. To the east, the powerful influence of sea and salt. To the west, our farm with its fields of nurtured crops. All with a backdrop of the Angus hills that slowly filter pure water into our underground lagoon. And of course, from the skies, our dramatic and capricious coastal climate adds its own magic (although the odd downpour is not uncommon here, our eastern location is actually the sunniest part of Scotland with about 1500 hours of sunshine every year).
The Arbikie Highland Estate distillery is a genuinely single-site, field to bottle operation – the ingredients for all our spirits are planted, sown, grown and harvested within an arms-length of our distillery. The mountain-filtered water is taken directly from our underground lagoon.
Records show a distillery situated on our land dating back as far as 1794. During these ancient times, distilling was field to bottle, and it is this approach that inspired our own ethos (making spirits this way is rare as big companies produce spirits as a global commodity). For us, authenticity and provenance are at the heart of everything we do. And let’s not forget creativity – as a family business we have the flexibility to be innovative and original.
IT WAS SO REFRESHING TO VISIT ARBIKIE AND SEE A DISTILLERY MAKING ALL THEIR SPIRITS FROM SCRATCH. THE TRACEABILITY OF THEIR SPIRITS IS UNIQUE AND REFLECTS MY APPROACH TO COOKING.
Renovated from the remains of an old cattle barn overlooking Lunan Bay, we are the first single-estate distillery to distil all our spirits in the same copper pot stills, with the vodka and gin spirit continuing their journey to our 40 plate distillation column. This distillation process means all our spirits reflect the traditional Scotch whisky method. Each spirit is distilled differently – our vodka is triple-distilled, our whisky is twice distilled. We also bottle, label and seal our spirits on the estate.
The distilling team is led by our Master Distiller, Kirsty Black (recently listed in the top ten female master distillers in the world by Spirits Business Magazine) and Christian Perez. Together with the Stirling brothers, they ensure that the history, tradition and provenance of Scottish distilling are built into the DNA of every spirit they create.
GETTING THE BEST POSSIBLE PRODUCT STARTS IN THE FIELD. IF YOU GET THINGS FROM THE BEGINNING IT WILL CONTINUE THROUGHT THE HARVESTED PRODUCT AND ON INTO THE BOTTLE.
The Arbikie Highland Estate has always been farmed with absolute respect for the land. The addition of a distillery has not changed our commitment to minimising any environmental impact. Provenance and traceability at Arbikie doesn’t stop with just our crops and water. We use juniper in our spirits - so we grow our own juniper. We use honey - produced by local bees. We use solar power, and our distilling from start to finish uses negligible miles for its production. The primary waste product from distilling is recycled wherever possible as feed for cattle.
ONE OF THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY, YET SURPRISING TRADITIONAL DRINK COMPANIES IN SCOTLAND. I'VE NEVER COME ACROSS ANOTHER DISTILLER THAT COMES CLOSE TO THEIR AMBITION WHEN IT COMES TO PROVENANCE AND TERROIR.