Abhainn Dearg distillery information

On the Isle of Lewis, which is part of the Outer Hebrides, lies the parish of Uig. Part of this parish is the village of Carnish, which is called home by the fairly new Abhainn Dearg (which is Gaelic for “red river”) distillery. Currently it is the first (legal) distillery in the Outer Hebrides (The inner Hebrides includes the Isle of Islay, as well as The Isle of Jura (where Jura is located), Mull (Tobermory) and Skye (home to Talisker)). This makes Abhainn Dearg the most Westerly distillery in Scotland.

In the past, the only other legal distillery on the Isle of Lewis was the Shoeburn Distillery, which operated between around 1829 and 1840. Abhainn Dearg was established in 2007, on the site of a former salmon farm.

Abhainn Dearg has a green philisophy, and grows its own barley, aiming to be as self-sufficient as possible. The old fish hatchery pens are used to breed Trout and Char (possibly reusing some of the excess heated water from the distillery) , which are released in nearby Loch Scaslavat, in an attempt to preserve the rich fishing traditions of the island. Furthermore, the distillery has its own herd of Highland cattle, which is employed for conservation grazing and fertilizing. Leftovers from the malting process are provided as feed to the herd. Lastly, for every barrel used, one fir and one oak tree is planted, in order to give back to nature.

Abhainn Dearg Whisky

Water is drawn from the small Abhainn Caslabhat river, which runs into a valley. It’s that part of the river that the locals dubbed the red river (undoubtedly the valley was the location of a mighty battle that resulted in the river running red with the blood of the fallen). The water is soft and rich in minerals, and due to its fast flowing, peat is not prominently noticeable. Due to the remoteness of the location, the water is virtually untouched by external influences (humans).

Currently the distillery offers only three different variations of whisky:

  • Special Limited Edition of 2011 – 3 Year Old. This is the very first bottling released to celebrate the establishing of the distillery. It’s is a limited single cask release of 2011 bottles, non-chilled filtered, and comes at 46% ABV.
  • The Spirit of Lewis. Following an ancient traditional recipe handed down through generations, this spirit matured in European Sherry casks, is non–chill filtered, it is bottled at 46% ABV.

Distillery info:

NameAbhainn Dearg
Water sourceAbhainn Caslabhat / Abhainn Dearg
Owned byMark Tayburn

Abhainn Dearg Distillery
Isle of Lewis
Outer Hebrides

+(44) 1851 672429

Visitor centreNo

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun2,000 litres2
Washback7,000 litres2
Wash still2,200 litres1
Spirit Still2,000 litres1
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)?