Not content with establishing one of the World’s leading whisky bars in Dornoch, brothers Phil and Simon Thompson have upped their ambitions and started making their own whisky and gin on-site at Dornoch Castle Hotel, forming Dornoch’s first whisky distillery. Dornoch Distillery was born out of a successful crowdfunding campaign which saw 200 whisky enthusiasts from all over the world dig deep in support of the philosophy of bringing old styles of distillation back to life. 2017 saw the first batch of Dornoch New Make Spirit crafted and laid to cask, with over 500 casks being filled since. During our first year whilst still building the distillery, we began releasing independent bottlings of rum and whisky, this has since become the main income for the business whilst the casks of Dornoch distillery spirit are maturing. At Dornoch Distillery we are a small team (in 2016 there were 4, and in 2023 there are now 7) who all work in Dornoch on a full-time basis. In 2022 we moved into our new “Global Headquarters” building in Station Square, Dornoch, where we have our little shop (more info on that can be found here).
Alongside our independent bottling hussle, we produce our Organic Mediterranean Gin using an additional still and production set up in our tiny distillery. Our gin has become a crowd favourite, winning multiple awards and being successfully exported to over 12 countries (more information can be found on this here). In 2022 we created two additional products, which sit alongside our gin to form our core range, SRV5 our Blended Scotch Malt Whisky, (more information on which can be found here), and TB/BSW Blended Malt Whisky which have both received fantastic feedback, from keen drinkers and industry professionals alike!
The jewel in our crown is our Dornoch Single Malt Scotch Whisky, and as I write (Sept 2023) we are preparing to release our first 6 year old cask. In 2020 we released our inaugural release via our ballot system (more info on that here) and since then have released 16 casks publicly via this system. As most of these are tiny little Octave casks, they only give a yield of ~70 bottles which means they are very scarce. But fear not, we have ensured that in years to come, there will be enough Dornoch Single Malt to go around as we are distilling daily and laying down far more spirit than we are releasing. (More info can be found about how we make our whisky here)
In 2022 we made public our plans to expand our distilling operation by building a new distillery in Dornoch at a location, straightforwardly named “Dornoch South”. We applied for planning at the end of the year and waited with bated breath to hear the results. Finally, in September 2023, we were granted planning permission to go ahead and begin to create our sustainable, carbon-neutral Distillery. We want to cement Dornoch as a world class whisky destination with the inclusion of a visitor centre and tasting room as well as the new distillery. (More info here)
So looking forward into the future of Dornoch Distillery, we hope you will see a bright future for our little venture. Please follow us on your favourite social media platforms or sign up to our mailing list to learn more about what we get up to in the North Highlands!
We look forward to welcoming you to Dornoch in the near future!
Team Dornoch Distillery