Girvan distillery has played a critical role in our launch collections – providing a rich, unctuous backbone to our Blended Scotch Whiskies and of course playing a leading role in releases such as The First Drop and The Cask Trials.
In this quick read we uncover a little more about the distillery’s origins, the ambition behind it and the remarkable whiskies it has created over the years.
It was in 1963 that Charles Gordon first set out to commission and build the Girvan distillery – with the site taking form in a truly remarkable nine months and the first liquid running off the stills on Christmas Day 1963. This very spirit was captured and filled to cask on 8th January, 1964 and today is made available for sale to Keyholders only in the form of The First Drop.
It was the vision and commitment of Charles Gordon that allowed the site to be constructed in record time. He famously relocated to a caravan on the construction site to keep track of progress and cycled around the site on a bicycle that was ultimately welded to the cooling tower of the distillery by his colleagues once the site was operational.
The whisky produced at Girvan grain distillery has changed over the years as supply of the base grain moved away from American red maize to other cereals sourced nearer to home that provided an equally clean, high quality character. The cask management approach has also changed with more regular sampling and more rigorous quality standards being implemented over time as our understanding of the complex interaction between oak and maturing spirit developed. Crucially, the role of the stillman has changed from what was once a very hands-on role to a more automated and carefully controlled process as new stills were introduced throughout the 90s.
Through all of this, the Girvan distillery has continued to produce whisky of the utmost quality – with only the very best of the best being included in our launch collections. The First Drop offers up a rare piece of Scottish distilling history, while The Cask Trials demonstrates just how rich and complex a grain whisky can become with the right cask management.