This weekend, Phil, the Fathership and I took ourselves off to Newburgh in Fife to explore the new, and much talked up about, Lindores Abbey Distillery. Situated around an easy hours drive from Edinburgh, the Distillery has quickly obtained its five star rating and it is obvious why.
Makers of Aqua Vitae, or the Water of Life, the distillery sits on the foundation of Lindores Abbey. The earliest reference to Scotch Whisky was in 1494, when King James IV commissioned the Lindores monks to turn 8 bolls of malt into Aqua Vitae (8 Bolls of malt amounts to around 500kg in modern terms and would have been enough to make about 400 bottles of today’s whisky).
Realising that the ruins on their farmland were the spiritual home of scotch whisky, owners Helen and Drew McKenzie Smith set about bringing history to life, transforming part of their land adjacent to the old Abbey, demolished in the Reformation, into the stunning Lindores Abbey Distillery and Visitor Centre. Whilst they are not quite at the three year mark to sell their Scotch Whisky, they have created Aqua Vitae – a powerful tonic that would be close to what the monks themselves drank in years gone by. Guided by the incredible Michelle, we were shown the history of the area, the distillery and the warehouse housing the first produced casks of whisky. Finally we visited the Harry Potter-esque “Apothecary” for tasters. We spent time in the restaurant, marvelling at the food and list of upcoming events – whisky tasting, dinners, food festivals, wreath making, Christmas banquets… the list goes on. The team have not only created an attraction but a hub of activity for locals and tourists alike which I just adore. The attention to detail throughout the building is stunning; from the nun and monk icons carved on the toilet doors to the expertly chosen gifts in their shop. The grounds hold a barbeque and outdoor dining area that is dog friendly, beehives, orchard, activity areas… they strive for authenticity but in a modern age which works marvellously well. All in all, it is a great day out for couples, family, old, young, tourists and locals alike. To find out more, visit their website.