Plans are afoot for a whisky and gin distillery to be built at Dunrobin Castle in Sutherland. Dunrobin is the beautiful seat of the Earls of Sutherland, and now attracts about 85,000 tourists per year. The earliest part of the castle was built in the 15th century, but it owes its chateau-like appearance of today to major additions made by the architect Charles Barry (who designed the Palace of Westminster). The distillery is being launched by the grand-daughter of the present Countess of Sutherland, with her husband, and will be housed in the castle’s old powerhouse, with old farm steadings being pressed into use as bonded warehouses. The plan is to produce a single malt whisky, as well as two kinds of gin – one of which will be made using plants from the castle’s garden.
Dunrobin was a Gordon seat from the time of John Gordon, who inherited the earldom in 1535 from his mother Elizabeth de Moravia, until the early 18th century. It passed out of Gordon hands when the 16th Earl, a staunch Protestant and therefore politically opposed to the Catholic Duke of Gordon, changed his name to Sutherland.