By Richard Thomas
The long dormant Annandale Distillery opened its doors to visitors this past Sunday, and followed that event by barreling new whisky earlier this week. The latter act marked the return of whisky-making to the Dumfries distillery after nearly a century out of the business.
The distillery was purchased by Thomson and Church, a consumer research firm, in 2007. Seven years and £10.5 million later, and the distillery is back in operation. Current plans would see Annandale produce two single malts, Man o’ Swords and Man o’ Words. The former is intended as a heavily peated Scotch honoring Robert the Bruce, who was Early of Annandale among other things. The latter honors “the Plowman Poet” Robert Burns.
The distillery was originally opened in the 1830s, and passed through several hands before becoming the property of the nascent Johnnie Walker company in 1893. After being closed as a whisky-maker, Annandale continued as a malted barley business as a porridge factory, making the famous brand Provost. It continued in that role until Thomson and Church bought the facility.