Phone: +44 (0) 1851 672429  Contact Us

Distillery notes

2018 - 10yr Old Single Malt

Having released our first single malt at three years. We are now taking orders via telephone or email for our Ten Year Old Single Malt! The first legal distillery in the Outer Hebrides and the first ten year old is almost ready!

Whisky order

ORDER LINE 01851 672429

We produce The Spirit of Lewis, a traditional dram of new spirit that has received praise from around the world. Also available Abhainn Dearg t-shirts and keyrings.

Open to Visitors

We are open from 11am - 4pm (Closed for lunch 1pm to 2pm) - Monday to Saturday. Tours on the hour £10 per adult. Two tastings included (Spirit of Lewis/Abhainn Dearg Single Malt) Click the icon for full information.


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The main ingredient in malt whisky is, as the name indicates, malt. Malt is barley that has been allowed to sprout for about one week and is what the trade calls "malted". To stop it sprouting, the malt is then kilned using burning peat (plentiful on Lewis) the heat and smoke from which imbues the whisky with its characteristic smoked taste.

Originally we planted over ten acres (Golden Promise) which produced about ten tons. It was the first time barley had been planted in Uig for as long as anyone can remember, although oats have been grown on a regular basis. Early signs proved hopeful as the crop started to grow. The weather was kind, and we took that as a good omen.  However we could never produce enough grain from such a small area and Uig only has limited areas that are available for planting.  To achieve our goal of 'field to bottle' we managed to obtain some larger fields which we will use on a rotation basis, this will maintain the nutritional value of the soil and with it the barley.  It's important to us to try and be self sufficient, to keep our carbon footprint down and replace what we take.  The barley we are growing is aptly named - Moonshine, what we are producing is anything but!

So here we are, producing single malt from our own crop, from field to bottle, a dream realised. Our methods are, like everything else at the distillery, traditional. The barley has been dried through hard graft and malting will be more of the same. To see what we mean check out our video on YouTube and view our Picture Gallery.

As there are only three main ingredients in whisky it's imperative to get them right. A lot of the distilleries nowadays buy in barley from as far away as South Africa, or closer to home, England. There is no rule or regulation stating barley has to come from Scotland and it would be difficult to grow enough barley in Scotland to supply the entire whisky industry.

With thanks to the Mackenzie brothers of Melbost Farms, in 2015 Abhainn Dearg Distillery will have locally supplied all the  malting barley required for The Spirit of Lewis and in doing so introduced an arable crop back to the island.  Since laying down the first cask in 2008, only six years ago, the distillery will have achieved another first and another milestone.

As Marko (Mark Tayburn) says "from field to bottle".



Abhainn Caslabhat UigOur water comes tumbling down from the Uig Hills where the many rocky mountain streams converge into Loch Raonasgail, from here it runs as Abhainn Caslabhat till it reaches the valley. Hundreds of years ago the local people named this lower part of the river Abhainn Dearg, or Red River in English.

The river water, like most in Scotland, is soft and rich in minerals, clean and clear, fast flowing it doesn't carry a lot of peat as it runs onto Cappadale Sands, part of Traigh Uuige.

Uig is a district located on the south west side of the Isle of Lewis and is famous for its beaches and their miles of golden sands, non more so than Traigh Uuige which is more commonly known as 'Uig Sands'.

The water taken from Abhainn Dearg is as pure as it's naturally possible to get, there is no industry, no villages, not even a house along its banks, only the distillery at the mouth of the river.  The land has never seen chemicals, is unsuitable for farming and is home to wild deer, not quite so wild sheep and an occasional enthusiatic walker. This pristine mountain water, uisge beatha ''water of life'',  is the source for Abhainn Dearg Single Malt. Is this unique? We don't know, possibly. What difference will it make to the Whisky? Wait and see! 

Whisky from field to bottleAbhainn Dearg is the most Westerly of the Scottish distilleries and can be found in Uig, on the west coast of the Hebridean Isle of Lewis, the Outer Hebrides. Abhainn Dearg, (pronounced Aveen Jarræk) or Red River Distillery is a very new distillery in an ancient landscape.

The spirit we produce today might be new to the market, but the philosophy and history of our distilling goes back hundreds of years.  At Abhainn Dearg that age old experience has been garnered for the knowledge of distilling fine whisky never left our shores,  it’s just taken till now to re-claim our heritage and produce a true Outer Hebridean Whisky for the rest of the world to enjoy.

Mark Tayburn sitting on a cask on a beach in winter laughingIn 2010, for the first time in almost 170 years Abhainn Dearg New Spirit, The Spirit of Lewis, left our shores.  In 2011 we launched a limited edition of three year old single malt.  This was the first legal single malt produced not only by Abhainn Dearg Distillery, but from the Outer Hebrides!

Abhainn Dearg Single Malt was launched at the Royal National Mod also known affectionately as the "Whisky Olympics". This festival of Scottish Gaelic song, arts and culture was held in Stornoway in 2011 and for the first time in history some participants were able to enjoy a Single Malt distilled and bottled on the Isle of Lewis. 

Mark Tayburn the founder of Abhainn Dearg was determined to produce a whisky that was unique to Lewis and to be able to have it available for the 2011 MOD. It seemed ridiculous that the Outer Hebrides couldn't supply its own whisky, which is as much a cultural heritage as the MOD and as a tradition is much older. The waiting isn't over, we have passed our third year and produced a limited edition, but now we wait to 2018 for our tenth birthday and when we will really be ready to go to market!

No matter how old Abhainn Dearg whisky matures there will always be limited bottlings, the aim is to produce a quality Single Malt for those who take the trouble to visit us, support us via the Internet and, like the Shoeburn Distillery before us, supply local demand.

Abhainn Dearg logo

 The first single malt whisky from a distillery in the Outer Hebrides since 1829.

 Abhainn Dearg Distillery (pronounced Aveen Jarræk), or Red River in English, is located in Uig on the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis.  The distillery was founded by Mark Tayburn (Marko) and is the first legal whisky distillery in the Outer Hebrides in almost two hundred years.

Established in 2008 the first spirit to leave the island was in 2010 when two small casks of new spirit were sold.  One went to Germany where it toured the whisky fairs with importers Alba Import. The second stayed a little closer to home, going to McSorleys Bar in Glasgow.  Later a special signed bottling of new spirit called, The Spirit of Lewis, was offered and was quickly sold out.

The first Abhainn Dearg Single Malt was released in 2011, a three year old special release.  Available online, bottles soon were winging their way around the world and the feedback was wonderful. No further bottling will be available till 2018 when the first spirit laid down will be a mature ten year old single malt whisky.

In the six years since the distillery was founded it has achieved Marko's goal to produce a whisky, from fields (of barley) to bottle, within the Outer Hebrides.  It has also made history and changed the whisky world forever. 

Come and have a look around our website and read our story, it's inspirational for those who are up for a challenge.

This is a service for Abhainn Dearg website customers:  orders are despatched direct from the Abhainn Dearg Distillery, on the Isle of Lewis unless specified otherwise.

*At the checkout please enter your postcode with a space for example;
AB12 3CD rather than AB123CD 
not leaving a gap can result in your address not being recognised.



Click on any items that you wish to buy, and put them into the shopping cart. After you have finished your selection, click on "Order" and you will be asked for a few details that we need to be able to satisfy the order.  All online payments go via secured server (https/) using Sage Pay. Further information on privacy issues and our terms and conditions for sales and our website can be accessed from the main menu, or the links at the bottom of this page.

Order Follow Up
Once an order is placed, you will receive an automatic email response, letting you know that your order has reached us securely and confirming the order details. Please check that the details are correct and contact us immediatley by email, or phone if they are not.

No person under the age of 18 years may place an order.


If you wish to cancel your order prior to dispatch of the goods you have up to 3 working days, after the date of placing your order, to cancel by contacting us by email.   We will reimburse you within 48 hours of receiving your cancellation request.


For whatever reason you wish to return an item (unless it is damaged) you should do so within seven days of receiving it. In these circumstances all carriage costs are the responsibility of the purchaser.

Damaged Goods

Bottled goods should be checked on receipt.  If they are found to be damaged then a full refund will be given, or the order re-sent. Abhainn Dearg Distillery cannot be held responsible for goods that have been damaged after being signed for.

Additional Charges

All prices shown on the website are UK Duty paid except for prices quoted for casks. All countries have their own tax systems, and so customs duty may be payable on entry to your country, we do not collect or control these charges and cannot predict what they might be. If you are unsure of your local regulations please contact the customs office in your country.


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Abhainn Dearg Distillery
Isle of Lewis
Outer Hebrides

Telephone: 01851 672429


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