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Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard


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The long-abandoned and derelict village of Polphail near Tighnabruaich may well be about to have a new lease of life.



Planning applications have been submitted by Portavadie Distillery to develop the site.


The company wants to establish a small distillery, build a bonded warehouse, and a visitor centre.


It’s quite a large task as the heavily-graffitied buildings in the village will have to be demolished to make room for the new enterprise.


Not least of the issues facing the developers is the resident bat community, who will have to be rehomed nearby.


During the planning application process some queries were raised about the site development, including one about the so-called ‘angel’s share’.


The angel's share is a feature of the whisky maturation process. The barrels in which it is aged are permeable and absorb as much as five per cent of the new spirit over time.


However, a smaller percentage – up to two per cent – will go through the grain each year and out into the atmosphere to be lost forever to become the angel’s share.


The application, and associated documents, available on Argyll and Bute Council’s planning portal, show one objection raised on behalf of nearby Portavadie Marina, in July last year asking: “Has any review/discussion been had with the Environmental Services about the potential for the dark fungal staining on buildings and landscapes as a result of the … ethanol vapours which evaporate from whisky barrels as the spirit matures …?”


However, the questioner received the reassurance that “due to the relatively small scale of the distillery and maturation facilities … prevailing topography … and wind direction, this is not anticipated to be a material factor.”


At the time of going to press the planning application has yet to receive approval.


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