Visiting Lindores Abbey Distillery

Inka Larissa at Lindores Abbey distillery

During my recent visit to Scotland, I also had an evening at Lindores Abbey distillery, which is located in north-west Fife. Lindores Abbey is a fairly new single malt distillery built in the grounds of a former abbey. It really is the perfect place for a party! The highlight of the evening was a whisky tasting in the still room where we had the opportunity to sample some of their future releases.

History of Lindores Abbey

In 1494, Brother John Cor was noted to have received eight bolls of malt to make Aqua Vitae for King James IV at Lindores Abbey. In modern terms, eight bolls would be equivalent to a staggering 500kg of malt, enough to make 400 bottles of whisky. This is the first written evidence of distillation of scotch whisky.

Lindores Abbey has been in the McKenzie family’s ownership for over 100 years, although it wasn’t until 2001 that they came up with the idea to build a distillery on-site to give whisky lovers the opportunity to step back in time. It took a good while for the distillery to be built but finally, in 2017, the distilling began, and the visitor centre opened its doors.

Lindores Abbey distillery
Abbey grounds

The distillery was created by extending the original abbey farm and keeping the traditional features already found on the site. You can actually see the historic abbey grounds from the stillroom and the bar next door. There have been extensive archaeological digs around the abbey ruins, with the discovery of significant medieval pottery and a 12th-century lead plumb line.

While Lindores Abbey whisky was resting, they were keeping the history alive by producing Aqua Vitae, which is still available for purchase even though their whisky has been ready for some time.

If you’d like to learn more about Lindores Abbey Aqua Vitae or about the history of the spirit, see my previous article Aqua Vitae – The Mother of All Spirits

Abbey grounds and a piper
Lindores Abbey distillery

Lindores Abbey Whisky

The award-winning core release, MCDXCIV (1494), is a combination of whiskies matured in bourbon barrels, STR wine barriques and sherry butts. STR stands for scraped (or shaved), toasted and re-charred and indicates that the cask has undergone rejuvenation by having its staves shaved down and then re-charred. The 1494 core release has aromas of vanilla, orchard fruits and toffee, and on the palate you can find a lovely soft mouthfeel with a hint of spice, dried fruits and more vanilla.

If you are interested in each individual cask, Lindores Abbey distillery has released ‘The Casks of Lindores’-series, which features all three: oloroso sherry, bourbon barrel and the STR wine barrique – all bottled at 49.4% ABV.

New releases

During my recent visit, I had the opportunity to sample some of their upcoming releases. Unfortunately, I don’t have a release date for all of these just yet, so we just have to wait and see…

There were some really promising cask-strength samples at the tasting. One of my favourites was a combination of new oak and bourbon QC. It was a four-year-old whisky that had spent two years in Thiron virgin oak quarter casks and another two years in Heaven Hill quarter casks. The nose was sweet yet had aromas of lingonberry and cranberry to balance out sweeter aromas of chocolate wafers and toffee. The palate was delicious, with oaky spices, maple syrup and subtle smokiness.

We also sampled a five-year-old single malt aged in Ruby Port wine barriques. It had a nice mix of jammy red fruits, runny honey, marzipan and baking spices on both the nose and the palate. Very enjoyable.  

Whisky tasting

The third whisky was 1494 remnant from the first ever Lindores re-racked in a sherry butt. There was a medley of dried fruits on the nose (think prunes, dates, raisins) with more sweetness from maple syrup and vanilla. The palate was sweet with more dried fruits and full of baking spices and some nuttiness. The colour was beautiful, slightly pinkish. Unfortunately, it was probably my least favourite in the tasting as it was very raisiny. It made me think of this traditional Finnish Christmas ‘soup’ (sekametelisoppa) made with raisins, prunes, lemon and cinnamon. It’s usually used at breakfast on top of rice porridge. Some people love it, but I’ve never been a fan.

The final whisky of the official tasting was Lindores Abbey Friar John Cor Chapter 2, which was bottled at 60.9% ABV. This is a selection of bourbon barrels, STR wine barriques and peated rum casks from Islay. I didn’t find it that smoky, though, more sweet notes of overripe banana, dates, maple syrup and sugary almonds. This will be available to purchase from the distillery this month.

The award-winning Friar John Cor Chapter 1, 49.4% ABV, which was matured in a blend of Bourbon, Monbazillac (sweet white wine), STR, and sherry casks, is currently exclusively available from the distillery visitor centre.

Lindores Abbey whisky tasting
Glencairn whisky glass
Inka Larissa at whisky tasting


Separate from this tasting, I also had a chance to sample a lightly peated single malt. Helen told me she has been really keen to add a peated whisky to Lindores Abbey whisky selection, but unfortunately, it is quite a job to clean the stills afterwards before returning to normal production. Therefore, they used some ex-peated whisky casks to age their new make in.

The one I tried was a four-year-old Distillery Exclusive Ex-Peated cask from August 2022, 58.4% ABV. This cask was a single quarter from Islay, which was filled in March 2018. The outcome was very tasty! Subtle peat, sweet yet smoky. A definite favourite of mine from the evening! Unfortunately, that was the last of it, but I’ve been advised that they have just released a new Distillery Exclusive Ex-Peated Quarter Cask at cask strength (60.7% ABV). So, if you are visiting the distillery, make sure to get a bottle!

Lindores Abbey stills
Whisky casks outside

Visiting the distillery

I love visiting Lindores Abbey distillery. The distillery is beautifully built, the gardens are lovely, and the whisky is great too. During the summer the distillery is open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm, with distillery tours available at 10am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm. It is advised to book ahead. You can even book sharing platters in advance to be enjoyed after your tour and tasting.

The distillery is not too far from Perth train station, so I recommend you leave the car at home and get the train to Perth and then taxi to the distillery. That way you can sample without having to worry about how to get home.

If you don’t want to do the tour for some reason, the distillery Legacy Bar is open late once a month on a Friday. There you can sample a selection of Lindores Abbey releases or enjoy a whisky and chocolate tasting. I recommend you contact the distillery to confirm the opening times and to make sure they don’t have a private event on.

And as a bonus, Lindores Abbey Distillery is well known for being extremely dog-friendly and they even have flooring throughout so that dogs can accompany their owners on tours!

Lindores Abbey distillery at night

Have you been to Lindores Abbey distillery? What do you think about their single malt whisky releases?

Disclaimer: This post has been created in collaboration with Lindores Abbey Distillery and includes some affiliate links.

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