New dram celebrates Wemyss family’s Fife whisky dream
A long held dream to distil fine single malt whisky in the East Neuk of Fife becomes a reality this week for the founders of Kingsbarns Distillery, as they toast the launch of their first flagship expression: Kingsbarns ‘Dream to Dram’.
Named to mark the Wemyss Family’s vision to bring malt whisky distilling to their Fife home, the new release is a truly local dram, having been slowly crafted with barley harvested exclusively from the golden fields of East Fife.
The result is a beautifully light, clean yet complex Lowland style malt whisky which perfectly captures the essence of this quiet and enchanting corner of Scotland.
Dream to Dram is packaged in gentle shades of blue, gold and brown to symbolise the natural elements of the East Neuk, with a pigeon motif representing the historic ‘doocot’ (Scots for dovecot) that sits at the heart of the distillery – a restored farm steading dating back to the 1800s.
Today, owners William and Isabella Wemyss are gathering friends, neighbours and whisky lovers from around the world at the Distillery to celebrate and share a first taste of Dream to Dram as it is shipped global markets.
The Wemyss family has lived and worked in Fife for generations and has a longstanding passion for whisky dating back to the 19th Century, continuing to this day with their successful Wemyss Malts range. Their long held dream however was to make fine single malt whisky in Fife. When approached by former professional Kingsbarns Golf Links caddy Douglas Clement in 2010 with the idea of converting the semi derelict B-listed farm steading at Kingsbarns into a new distillery for the ‘home of golf’, their dream began to take shape. After a three year restoration project which carefully retained the building’s ancient features and charm, the distillery was officially opened on St Andrew’s Day 2014, with the first whisky laid down in March 2015.
The East Neuk enjoys high levels of sunshine, good soil and not too much rain, which creates the perfect growing conditions for barley. Every drop of Dream to Dram is made from barley harvested in these sun-soaked fields. The addition of pure, rich mineral water drawn from an aquifer 100 metres below the Distillery adds to the local character and light, fruity flavour profile of the whisky.
A long, slow production process in copper pot stills is at the heart of distillation: a 3 – 5 day fermentation period, wash stills that run for 8 hours and a slow running spirit still with high cut points. That will never change and the stills will never run any faster.
Maturation is primarily in high calibre first fill bourbon casks (90%), sourced exclusively from Heaven Hill in Kentucky by Isabella Wemyss, with the remainder maturing in shaved, toasted and re-charred wine casks. All Kingsbarns casks are matured in warehouses not far from the distillery in Fife.
The natural elements on Kingsbarns Distillery’s doorstep, combined with superior wood choice and long, slow fermentation give Dream to Dram its remarkably complex and distinctive Lowland character: light, intensely fruity, floral and balanced, with colour and richness coming from the wood. On the nose there is banana, pineapple syrup and summer berries, with a slight herbal note. There is soft toffee, custard pastry and redcurrants on the palate, with a finish of ginger syrup.
Speaking on behalf of the Wemyss family as they celebrate the launch of Dream to Dram today, William Wemyss said:
Dream to Dram is the first generally available single malt whisky from Kingsbarns Distillery. It follows a limited release of the exclusive ‘Founders Reserve’ for members of the Kingsbarns Distillery Founders Club in December 2018.
Dream to Dram is bottled in 70cl at 46%, RRP £44.95. It is available from the Kingsbarns Distillery online shop and at specialist and independent outlets across the UK.
The Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club
The Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club was launched on the first anniversary of the Distillery on 30th November 2015 and is still open for membership. Members enjoy a welcome pack with a small bottle of Kingsbarns New Make Spirit, a glass and membership badge, plus five exclusive bottles of cask strength single malt whisky, including the distillery’s inaugural Founders’ Reserve expression.
The Wemyss Family drinks portfolio
Wemyss Malts: Edinburgh based independent bottler, Wemyss Malts is owned by the Wemyss family. Their family seat is Wemyss Castle in Fife where they’ve lived since the 1300s. Wemyss Malts is primarily known for its award-winning range of blended malt Scotch Whisky which uses names inspired by the natural flavours and aromas of the whiskies: The Hive, Spice King and Peat Chimney. www.wemyssmalts.com.
Darnley’s Gin: The family also own and produce Darnley’s Gin at the Kingsbarns Distillery site in Fife. Darnley’s Gin offers tours and tastings in a converted cottage with a Gin School where visitors can distil their own bottle of gin on a mini still www.darnleysgin.com.
Rimauresq: to complete the drinks portfolio, the Wemyss Family own the premium wine estate of Rimauresq Cru Classé in Cotes de Provence www.rimauresq.eu.