Ailsa Bay


  • Founded: 2007
  • Status: Operational
  • Region: Lowland, Scotland – Girvan, Ayrshire KA26 9PT +44(0)1465 713091
  • Online:

History Ailsa Bay was founded in 2007 by William Grant & Sons on the same complex as the site of Girvan grain distillery. Ailsa Bay has 8 pot stills that are modelled as replicas of those at Balvenie Distillery so as to produce ‘Balvenie’ style component requirements for the companies blends. Currently 4 different new make spirit types are made which are estery, nutty, fruity and heavily peated.

The Whiskyphiles tasting notes

Official Bottling
  • ailsa bay release 1.2 sweet smoke single malt scotch whisky Ailsa Bay 1.2 Sweet Smoke (2021) - I enjoyed this one much more than the first release. Remarkable similarity in my comments - Promises Islay but doesn't have the weight/structure or malty backbone to deliver it. This expression has lots of sweet fruitiness to balance the dry peat smoke and is very reminiscent of many Islay malts - resulting in a very enjoyable dram - I wonder if WG&S are experimenting at making their own Islay style malt here in the absence of a distillery on the island?
  • ailsa-bay-single-malt-whisky Ailsa Bay Batch 1 (2016) - Well balanced, sweet and peaty (a lot like Kilchoman) but more approachable/accessible, there is not that depth of phenolic and salty Islay peat here as there can be in Kilchoman. This is a well manufactured malt and I really enjoyed drinking this one but a closer inspection reveals the youthfull cracks that have been covered by surreptitious peat usage. One to watch out for though as I suspect later batches of Ailsa Bay will build quality onto this solid base. 82/100