A Shetland Single Malt has indeed been a dream Shetlanders for generations, but on Scotland’s most northerly remote outpost time is slower and measured. Martin Watt, a proud Shetlander and Whisky Connoisseur has been distilling the idea for well over a decade and decided it was finally the right time to make the first ever Single Malt Scotch Whisky from his homeland a reality.
Martin sought out a team of successful friends, with the complementary skills and knowledge that could transform this dream in to a reality.
The perfect climate, precise conditions and invaluable opportunity to craft a unique Single Malt Scotch.
Shetland is a windswept archipelago, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea, defined by its dramatic weather, rugged coastline and low rolling hills Lerwick, the capital, a charming small harbour town combining an earthy Scottish congeniality with a warm Norse character. The community is vibrant with hardy folk with true artisan ingenuity and craft.
Whisky is made far and wide, but of course Scotch can only be crafted in Scotland of which we are part. At 60º North the North Atlantic Drift rewards us with a low temperature differential. Combine this with a gusty average wind speed of 14.7 knots,providing constant natural ventilation of salty sea air, and we have an unmatched climate, perfect for whisky maturation. A considerable advantage over the less predictable Scottish mainland particularly with global climate changes.
Shetland’ is also the source of water that is extraordinary, naturally crisp, always cool and pure. Rare Paleozoic Metamorphic Rock springs and windswept unsheltered lochs provide the highest quality water in terms of purity and PH level. We’ll be sourcing from several secret springs, where there is no agriculture and simply nothing but nature and the elements. We affectionately call these our ‘Springs of Valhalla’.
A DESTINATION OF INTRIGUE
With its many festivals, including the legendary Up-Helly-Aa, spectacular scenery and a pristine environment, Shetland is ideally placed to tap into the rise in whisky tourism. With well over 100 cruise ships, and 150,000 tourists visiting Lerwick every year our distillery is destined to become one of Shetland’s ‘must-visit’ attractions.
To say that Ian Millar is legendary in the Scotch Whisky industry is an understatement. Following many years working in various technical and production roles and managing a host of distilleries Ian joined William Grant & Son in 1998 to manage their three Malt Distilleries, Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie.
He went on to lead teams of brand ambassadors, and manage sales of high net worth prestige bottles and casks.
In 2022 Ian took a much earned retirement from his full time role at Wiliam Grant & Son. His next move had to be one where he could truly make his mark, indulge in the foundation of a unique distillery and define a unique premium Whisky brand.
Ian’s arrival at the origin of Shetland Whisky was more than just a meeting of minds and perfect timing…we consider it pure serendipity.
Ian‘s level of knowledge and expertise in aspect of making Whisky is second to none, and choosing Shetland Whisky as a legacy brand is not only a delight for the team, but profoundly defines the way forward for generations at Lerwick Distillery.
“The first Single Malt Whisky ever from the Shetland Islands, it’s a wonderful opportunity do something quite unique and remarkable.”