Imagine opening a bottle of Whisky and sipping on something similar to what King James IV of Scotland did in 1494. You now have the opportunity, Lindores Abbey, the oldest recorded Distillery in the world, proudly announces its Aqua Vitae becomes Whisky. They have had to wait three years and one day, but also 526 years.

Set in stunning Fife, Lindores Abbey is an area abundant with history and passion. This has driven the current custodians the Mckenzie Smiths to follow their hearts and distil Whisky back on the site of the oldest recorded Distillery in the world. Monks occupied the site when in 1494 King James the IV sent a letter to the Abbot requesting him to turn eight bolls of malt into Aqua Vitae.

A chance meeting over twenty years ago leads to Drew, head of the family becoming aware he was living on a unique location. He felt he had to create Whisky and set about establishing Lindores Abbey Distillery to follow a desire.

On 20 December 2017, the first 20 casks were filled and have been watched over carefully ever since. Three years and a day later (thanks to a leap year) Lindores finally have a spirit which can be called Scotch whisky.

Drew McKenzie Smith, the founder of Lindores Abbey Distillery, commented: “It seems unreal that we have finally reached this milestone in our journey. Whisky and Lindores Abbey have been entwined since the 15th century, and to be able to bring Scotch whisky back to its spiritual home is a dream come true.”

Gary Haggart, distillery manager, added “Three years ago we set out to make the best spirit we could, and today we have made it a reality. I am immensely proud to be able to share with our team a dram of Lindores Single Malt Scotch whisky that has been 526 years in the making – it is a moment and a drink worth savouring.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Drew and Gary on a visit to Lindores, where I sampled the new spirit, Aqua Vitae, which was lovely. I can’t wait to taste a dram or two of the actual Whisky. Gary explains on the nose; the spirit has citrus, red fruit and a malty character. The taste has notes of vanilla, caramel and butterscotch. These are all flavours I love.

If like me you are keen to sample a dram of the inaugural release from Scotch whisky’s spiritual home there will be a slight wait. The first bottles are due to be released to members of the 1494 Society early in 2021. Only 1,494 bottles will ever be available and are available exclusively through membership.

Lindores Abbey Whisky – Where and How?

The first release from Lindores Abbey Distillery, the spiritual home of Scotch whisky, will be exclusively available through membership to the 1494 Society. Lifetime membership costs £500 and includes a numbered bottle of their first-ever whisky release, priority access to all future numbered bottlings, lifetime free access to the Distillery.

Included is a donation to the preservation of the Abbey ruins, a tree planted in your name in our Abbey orchards, and an exclusive invitation to the annual Bear Burning party.

Joining the 1494 Society means becoming part of the Lindores Abbey family and accompanying them on their journey to revive the spiritual home of Scotch whisky and celebrate Lindores’ primordial role in whisky history.

Only 1,494 Memberships to the 1494 Society are, and will ever be, available – once they are all spoken for, there will be no way to procure a bottle of the first release directly from Lindores Abbey Distillery. Only a fraction of membership places remain, and they are expected to be sold out by the time of release in February.

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