Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

This distillery just released its first-ever single-malt Scotch whisky

Scotch fans have eagerly awaited this release for five years


If you’re new to the world of whisk(e)y, you might not know that Scotch whisky is broken up into five distinct regions. They are Campbeltown, the Lowlands, the Highlands, Speyside, and Islay. Campbeltown is literally just a town, but the other regions make up a fairly large geographical area of the country. With one other exception: Islay.

Islay is an island in the Inner Hebrides that is filled with thousands of sheep, various Highland cows, around 3,000 people, and nine distilleries. Known for its smoky, peaty whiskies, Islay is home to big names like Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Cao Ila, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and most recently Ardnahoe.

What’s in a name?

Andrew Seaman/Unsplash

Named for Loch Ardnahoe, the distillery opened in 2019. And since there’s no magical way to make whisky age without putting it into a barrel and waiting for it, they had nothing to show for all of their hard work. Owned by Glasgow-based independent bottler Hunter Laing, the distiller had breathtaking views of the Sound of Islay. But if you wanted to sample any whisky, you’d have to choose something from the company’s portfolio.

That is until earlier this month. The first distillery to open since Kilchoman in 2005 (and the first new distillery built since 1908) finally released a single malt. It’s simply called The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release, and single malt fans are (not surprisingly) very excited.

The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release


This first expression from Islay’s ninth distillery, The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release, was distilled and began aging in 2018 before the distillery officially opened to the public. The first release from Ardnahoe matured for a full five years in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso sherry casks.

This limited-release expression sits at a potent 50% ABV (100-proof). There’s no artificial color. The caramel hue of this whisky is all thanks to the two previously mentioned barrels. It’s also non-chill-filtered. Many drinkers prefer whiskies that aren’t chill-filtered because, even though the process is known to remove impurities, many people believe it removes flavor as well.

What does it taste like?

A glass of scotch and a glass of whiskey separated by a lit candle.
Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash / Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

If you’re a fan of Islay single malts, you’re likely pretty excited to dive into the inaugural release from the island’s newest distillery. And rightly so. But if you do get your hands on a bottle, make sure you do a proper tasting to find all the flavors and aromas. If you start with the nose, you’ll find notes of orchard fruits, shortbread, vanilla beans, dried fruits, and robust peat smoke.

The palate is a symphony of candied orange peels, ginger candy, vanilla beans, orchard fruits, caramelized sugar, oak, and more peat smoke. The finish is warming, sweet, and very smoky. This is the kind of single malt whisky that you’ll want to sip neat on a cool night very slowly.

How much does it cost?


The bad news is that due to its limited availability, you’ll probably have a tough time finding a bottle. It has a suggested retail price of £70 (about $85), and you can grab a bottle if you hop a flight to the tiny, misty island and stop by Ardnahoe’s distillery visitor center or at select retailers in the UK and internationally. There are some online retailers, like The Whisky Shop, that sell to U.S. customers, though.

Editors' Recommendations

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
Rare bottle of The Dalmore whisky sells for $120,000 at auction
the dalmore luminary no 2 rare 49 year old auction

A rare bottle of whisky from The Dalmore has sold for £93,750 (more than $120,000) at auction, with proceeds going to a local Scottish museum. The 49-year-old single malt, appropriately named The Dalmore Luminary No.2 The Rare, was a collaboration between the Scottish whiskey company and the V&A Dundee, a Scottish design museum.

The bottle, one of only three produced, was up for auction at Sotheby's. Not only did the auction include the fine whiskey, but it was also presented in a huge and elaborate glass sculpture created by Melodie Leung of iconic British architecture and design firm Zaha Hadid Architects. The sculpture weight 80kg and was polished by hand over 500 hours.

Read more
Bushmills rounds out the Rare Cask collection with a 31-year-old single malt
This rare expression is dropping on June 1st
Bushmills 31

When it comes to Irish whiskey, there are few brands more well-known than Bushmills. Not only is Bushmills the oldest Irish distillery, but it’s also the oldest licensed distillery in the world, with a genesis of 1608, in the more than four hundred years since the distillers have perfected the art of whiskey distillation.

And while you can’t go wrong with bargain bottles like Bushmills Black Bush and Bushmills Original or even Bushmills 10 or Bushmills 12, we’re most interested in its Rare Cask Series. Previously, the brand released 28, 29, and 30-year-old expressions. Its most recent takes it one step (or one year) further. Rare Cask 04 is a 31-year-old single malt whiskey.
The Rare Cask: 04

Read more
This is how you can get your hands on Australia’s oldest whisky
This whisky was distilled in the 90s.
Sullivans Cove

If you don’t imagine whisky when you think about Australia, you haven’t been paying much attention to the Southern Hemisphere country in the last few decades. Brands like Lark, Archie Rose, Starward, and Sullivans Cove (among countless more) are doing big things in the whisky world. While we could spend a whole article writing about Australian whisky, today we’re most concerned with the latter.

And while we love everything this Tasmania-based, award-winning distillery puts out from its American Oak, French Oak, and Double Cask to its limited-edition releases, today we’re interested in something a little older. That’s because recently the iconic brand released Australia’s oldest whisky.
Australia’s oldest whisky

Read more