A brand new event on Lewis will feature in the nationwide Whisky Month celebrations in May, part of Homecoming Scotland 2014, it has been announced.
Abhainn Dearg, Scotland’s most westerly distillery, will be hosting special whisky-tasting sessions from 26-31 May, opening on a Saturday for the very first time in the process.
Dr Alasdair Allan, the Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages, made the announcement yesterday (Tuesday) during a special visit to the Uig-based distillery, where he met with founder Mark Tayburn and other members of Abhainn Dearg staff.
Dr Allan, a Lewis resident, was speaking ahead of the Scottish Government Cabinet meeting in Stornoway today (Wednesday).
Highlighting the programme for Whisky Month at Abhainn Dearg Distillery, Dr Allan said: “Scotland is a modern, dynamic nation with a rich heritage, a global reach and confident of our place in the world and with that Scotch Whisky is one of our most iconic products with a huge global demand.
“I’m particularly happy to be able visit one of Scotland’s newest and most rural distilleries in advance of next month’s Whisky Month. Whisky-based tourism is very important to Scotland’s visitor economy and with Abhainn Dearg already open and another distillery on the way, I am sure the Western Isles will take their place on the uisge beatha trail.
“This exciting range of unmissable whisky events, fantastic festivals, special tours and tastings, Whisky Month invites visitors and locals to sample Scotland’s national drink as well as explore both the traditional and contemporary blend of stories, circumstances, provenance and science behind our vast array of marvellous malts.
“It’s estimated that up to 50 million people world-wide can claim Scottish ancestry, and many more have a connection with Scotland through visiting, working or studying in Scotland. I have no doubt that some of them will be raising a glass of Scotland’s especially as we welcome the world through Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup.”
The Whisky Month tasting sessions will coincide with the opening of a new shop at Abhainn Dearg, allowing ‘Water of Life’ aficionados to buy high-quality single malts on site.
Abhainn Dearg exported its first whisky from the Outer Hebrides in 2010 and, although production is relatively new, the philosophy and distilling processes are based on hundreds of years of Hebridean tradition.
Alan Mackenzie, VisitScotland Island Manager, said: “We are delighted to see the continued success and growth of the Abhainn Dearg Distillery and it is great that, in the year of Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Outer Hebrides are featuring in the Whisky Month programme. Next year is the year of Food & Drink – an area in which the Outer Hebrides excels, and I am sure that Abhainn Dearg and other local businesses will have a big part to play in 2015.”
Whisky Month incorporates events throughout Scotland, starting with the Spirit of Speyside Festival, taking in Edinburgh’s Whisky Strammach and the international celebrations around World Whisky Day and ends with the blissful surroundings of Feis Ile – The Islay Festival.