A SCOTTISH distillery has reopened its doors after more than 40 years in what has been described as a “landmark moment” for Scotch whisky.

Port Ellen Distillery in Islay was one of the so-called “ghost” distilleries that closed in Scotland more than 40 years ago.

It represents the final chapter of a £185 million investment by parent company Diageo, which has also seen the reopening of another famous “ghost” distillery in Brora.

The new distillery features an ultra-modern design with an unobstructed line of sight through the glass stillhouse across the bay to Carraig Fhada lighthouse.

READ MORE: St Andrews: Images show Tiger Woods plans for historic Scottish cinema

At the heart of the distillery are two pairs of copper stills. The first – known as the “phoenix stills” – are replicas of the original Port Ellen stills while the second – the “experimental stills” – will explore new avenues of whisky distillation.

The distillery will have a dedicated on-site laboratory and a full-time lab technician to catalogue any new experimental whiskies which emerge.

Ewan Andrew, Diageo president of global supply chain & procurement, and chief sustainability ffficer, officially announced the opening during a ceremony at the distillery.

He said: “This is a landmark moment for Diageo and for Scotch whisky. Port Ellen is rooted in the land and the people of Islay, yet it is a name that resonates around the world as a watchword for quality single malt Scotch whisky.

“Port Ellen has a proud heritage of leading innovation and experimentation and we have been true to that legacy in the reborn Port Ellen, creating a distillery grounded in tradition but prepared to be a trailblazing new light in the firmament of the Scotch whisky universe.”

Ali McDonald, master distiller at Port Ellen said of the return: “It is an honour to take up this new position at the helm of an iconic distillery and build on Port Ellen’s pioneering past.

"Port Ellen holds a very special place in the hearts of passionate whisky aficionados, and to see spirit flow off these stills once again is an incredible moment for the Islay community and wider whisky world.

"We are deeply committed to pushing the boundaries of Scotch through experimentation. I’m excited to see what we can now create.”

The National: Left to right: Ewan Andrew, Aimée Morrison and Ali McDonald

Aimée Morrison, Port Ellen master blender, spoke of the future of the distillery and its whisky, commenting: “Port Ellen will be defined as a distillery that will push boundaries, with our on-site laboratory giving us the opportunity to delve into scientific research, offering us a deeper look into this Islay malt.

"We will better understand how the nuanced flavours from cask-to-cask shine in different ways; with the rolling smoke weaving its way through the heart of Port Ellen.

"Collectively we will endeavour to maintain the undeniable quality of Port Ellen, create whiskies for the future and take the amazing opportunity to learn as much as we can about the enigma of smoke.”