Glen Luss Distillery has been founded by Trystan Powell, Patrick Colquhoun (right) and Daniel Lewis, graduates of the University of Strathclyde MBA.
By Bill Heaney
Patrick Colquhoun, the laird of Loch Lomondside, is going into the Scotch whisky business.
The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority have given planning permission for the laird’s new project but haven’t issued a press release or given any further comment following criticism of the planning process on the Bonnie Banks.
This criticism has been especially vocal following the granting of permission for a leadership centre and wedding venue to Sir Tom Hunter in the grounds of Ross Priory in Luss and the ongoing saga over plans submitted by Flamingo Land [also known as Lomond Banks] at Balloch.
The Democrat reported in October that the Chieftain of the Luss Highland Gathering will soon be able to offer tourists and competitors and spectators at Luss Highland Games a dram of Glen Luss from his own special brand.
A quaff from a quaich of the finest Scottish spirit, 25,000 litres of which will be lovingly laid down annually from the laird’s own distillery at the heart of the village.
Patrick is supported in this exciting new venture by his wife, Charlotte, pictured right, and his parents, Sir Malcolm and Lady Colquhoun of Rossdhu.
The silvery streams of crystal clear water which gurgle over pebbles and rush down swift-flowing burns off the bens, where kilted athletes compete for coveted titles at the summer games, will become an integral part of the Glen Luss uisge-beatha.
The water may even have brushed the gills of a fine salmon or two leaping upstream to the redds to lay their eggs before returning to the Loch itself and making their way back down the Rivers Leven and Clyde and out to the sea again.
The water of life that is Scotch whisky and several other spirited drinks, including gin, are going to be produced in a magical setting that for some of us recalls the mythical village of Brigadoon.
Credit for having created the first blends of Scotch has been given to a monk, Friar John Cor, who delighted his community by doing something special to distilled water some 500 years ago.
The launch of Glen Luss will take place in Spring 2021, possibly at the Luss Highland Games, which thousands of visitors and locals flock to attend each July.
A large party of members of the Clan Colquhoun travel from the United States and the world over to spectate and participate.
All the necessary permissions are now in place with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for Glen Luss to become a legal part of Scotland’s largest export business.
It wasn’t always that way, of course.
In centuries past, the Loch Lomondside bens and “floating” islands were infamous for moonlighting and salmon poaching.
The locals made their own whisky in illicit stills in the folds of the hills and secluded glens.
The most famous Scottish excise man of all, the poet Robert Burns, toured the West Highlands to investigate for himself.
He stayed overnight on the lochside at Cameron House with the novelist Tobias Smollet and no doubts sank a few drams.
Dumbarton, which was once referred to as “the whisky capital of the world” by Lord Alcluith, is just a few miles down the road from Luss.
Scottish distillers were so impressed by this that they made his Lordship a Keeper of the Quaich.
Another literary figure, the poet William Wordsworth, and his sister came to holiday in a cottage down by the lochside at Luss Pier.
I am told there were illicit stills on a number of the Loch Lomond islands and there was a Customs and Excise boat that patrolled the loch.
When the excise men rowed silently out to the islands, whether it was at dead of night or through a misty dawn, families had their own warning system to alert the island distillers.
The ruins of at least one distillery can be found on the islands, some of which were occupied by the Earls of Lennox.
Glen Luss Distillery has been founded by Trystan Powell, Patrick Colquhoun and Daniel Lewis, graduates of the University of Strathclyde MBA.
They bring together over forty years of combined industry and business experience to this project across operations management, customer experience and sales.
Luss is a picturesque village in the heart of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
It is the historic home of the Clan Colquhoun and the Glen Luss range will take inspiration from the history of the area and the heritage of the clan.
Glen Luss itself rises to the west of the village of Luss and is surrounded by six bens, most of which are over 600m high.
These are Beinn Eich, Beinn Lochain, Cruach-An- t-Sithein and Beinn Mhanaich.
The streams and burns flowing down from the from the mountains are as clear and fresh as the day is long.
They are one of the sources of water flowing into Loch Lomond, the largest body of freshwater (by surface area) in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The rushing stream of Luss Water, which runs down from the hills to Loch Lomond.