While working as a golf caddie at neighboring Kingsbarns Golf Links, it was Douglas Clement's (pictured above) vision that first inspired the idea for a distillery at Kingsbarns. Doug had frequent requests from his golfer clientel, after a round or two, to direct them to the nearest distillery for a little post-links refresher. With no distillery within 50 miles to send them to, he knew there was a real opportunity to create something special adjacent to "the home of golf".
Searching for a site, the derelict East Newhall Farm on the Cambo Estate clearly stood out above all the rest in terms of the charm of the building, and its location overlooking barley fields to Kingsbarns Golf Links and North Sea beyond.
Douglas needed a partner to make his whisky dream a reality. So the Wemyss family, purveyors of the world renown and spectacular line of blended whiskies by the same family name, joined the project. Their experience in the whisky industry, combined with Doug's determined belief in the project and an unfettered passion for single malt whisky, was instrumental in bringing the dream to life.
One of the most striking architectural features at Kingsbarns Distillery is the doocot - the Scots word for dovecot - and this was originally a free-standing structure, and with its Adam style crenulations and Gothic detailing, it looks to all the world like a miniature fortified tower.
Built around 1800 as part of East Newhall Farm by Thomas Erskine, the ninth Earl of Kellie, this charming Georgian farm steading once serviced Cambo House and the Estate. But the doocot was not built just for show: its scores of neatly formed terracotta nesting boxes housed a flock of plump pigeons to supply the laird’s kitchen with meat and eggs.
The sandstone masonry and lime harled exterior of the doocot have been carefully restored in the original style. Over 600 terracotta ‘doo boxes’ have been conserved and the pantiled roof replaced, so it’s fit for another 200 years. Today the doos have long since flown the coop, but the doocot remains the iconic centerpiece of the former farm steading and a symbol for their whisky. It evokes Kingsbarns roots and heritage, and within its walls they celebrate the future of Kingsbarns Distillery by displaying the first cask to be filled with their spirit.
Kingsbarns Distillery, uses Fife grown barley and water from an aquifer 100m below the distillery, and through their process of milling, mashing, fermentation and distilling, they fill just 24 casks a week of fruity and floral spirit.
The distillery’s copper pot stills were hand-made at Forsyths in Rothes, Speyside. Both the Wash Still and the Spirit Still play an integral part in determining the light character of spirit produced at Kingsbarns Distillery.