Just north of Scotland’s border with England, near the River Teviot, sits the Scottish town Hawick. Hawick sits in the council area Scottish Borders. Many miles away from Scotland’s major whisky producing areas, notably the distillery dense whisky region Speyside, Scottish Borders’ last distillery is thought to have closed its doors in 1837.
Fast forward to 6 March 2018. That day, at precisely 10.11am, new make spirit started to trickle out of a copper pot still under the watchful eye of staff at the Borders Distillery – this marked the first time in about 181 years that new make was produced in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland with a view to making it into whisky (well, legally at least!).
Borders distillery joins other operating distilleries in the Lowlands region of Scotland: Bladnoch, Glenkinchie, Ailsa Bay and Auchentoshan, among others.
In March 2013 Tim Carton, John Fordyce, Tony Roberts and George Tait founded the Three Stills Company, which owns the Borders distillery.
Borders distillery’s spirit is made from barley grown in the Scottish Borders. The water it uses, too, is close to home – process water is drawn from the water table by borehole and water used to cool its stills is pumped from the River Teviot.
Tomorrow, on Tuesday 1 May 2018, the Borders distillery will officially open its doors to the public. It will have a visitor centre and a shop, as well as a still room with two wash stills, two spirit stills and a specially commissioned Carter Head still which have all manufactured by Forsyths of Rothes.
The clear new make spirit produced by the stills has to spend at least three years in oak before it can be sold as single malt whisky, so Borders Distillery single malt whisky is a few years away.
If talk of whisky is making you thirsty, the Three Stills Company does have some whisky brands that are currently available on the market. The first is “Clan Fraser”, which is a blended scotch whisky that will no doubt be snapped up many Outlander fans owing to Clan Fraser’s central role in the television series. The second is “Lower East Side”, which is a blended malt scotch whisky.
The Borders Distillery will open 10.00am to 4.00pm on Monday to Saturday. Guided tours will be held on the hour, every hour, for a ticket price of £12.