ili’s vision joins two elements: the site itself, and the whisky which it will produce.
The vision for the site is bold and different; not just another distillery on Islay, but an Islay-native project, serving and benefitting the local community with jobs, sustainability, and growth. The proposal is brought forward by people with a genuine investment in the community and its interests.
ili is the brainchild of Bertram Nesselrode and Scott McLellan. Seeking a sustainable future for Gearach Farm, they turned to Islay’s existing importance as the home of high-quality whisky, and saw an opportunity to enhance this legacy with the addition of a new, contemporary, sustainable distillery. ili will be highly sustainable through the use of renewable energy, helping to ensure that Islay’s whisky legacy can continue well into the future.
Physically, the built form of the distillery will also represent a point of difference: it will respect the built vernacular of the island and complement the natural form of its spectacular surroundings.
The goal is to create a distillery building of the highest quality that will be a credit to the Isle of Islay, enhance tourism around whisky distilling, generate long-term employment and wider economic opportunities, and produce a product that reaches a new audience.
The name of the enterprise is ili, the oldest name for Islay. It is inspired by the ancient standing stones found on the farm and in other places on the island and beyond.