This month, our 'Meet our Maker' is Lindores Abbey Distillery. We caught up with them to find out more about their distillery and its fascinating history.
Lindores Abbey Distillery opened in 2017, but our story goes back hundreds of years. Lindores is widely recognised as the spiritual home of Scotch whisky – quite the USP! - as the earliest written reference to the spirit appears in the exchequer roll of 1494.
The document names Brother John Cor, a Lindores monk, as being commissioned by King James IV to turn 8 bolls of malt into Aqua Vitae or water of life. The abbey, home to Brother John Cor, was a Tironensian abbey founded in 1191 on the banks of the river Tay in Scotland. The abbey has welcomed kings, queens, knights and noblemen across the centuries.
In 2017, after decades of campaigning and fundraising, the distillery opened and production of whisky finally began. The distillery was founded and is still run by the McKenzie-Smith family, all of whom play a role in the running of the site. They received invaluable advice and support from the late Dr Jim Swan who was integral to the creation of the distillery.
Drew, Helen and Poppy McKenzie-Smith and Gary Haggart, Distillery Manager
In December 2020, the first Lindores Abbey Distillery single malt came of age, and in 2021 the first bottles were made available to the public under the name MCDXCIV (1494). The bottles sold out within 24 hours and it was all hands to the pump to keep our thirsty customers happy! A handful of limited run bottlings have since been released, and the spirit is widely regarded as being exceptionally flavoursome and mature for its young age. We were delighted to receive a Gold Outstanding award in the IWSC and a Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competitions in 2022 – we must be doing something right.
At Lindores, we believe that great whisky starts locally, and we pride ourselves on being as sustainable as possible. All of our barley comes from local Fife farms, just over the hill from the distillery – once the barley has been used, we send the leftover draff back to the same farms to feed the cows.
We have local maltings thanks to the nearby Crafty Maltsters, and our water source is from an on-site borehole supplied by the Holy Burn dug by the monks centuries ago. We bottle our whisky on site to avoid unnecessary transport emissions, and we mature our casks both on site and elsewhere locally in Fife.
Perhaps most importantly, our people are local too. Lindores is a family run business, and we are proud to be the biggest employer in our area.
At the Scotch Whisky Experience we are delighted to stock Lindores MCDXCIV here on our Scotch whisky online shop.
Images kindly supplied by Lindores Abbey Distillery.