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1st December 2020

Scottish craft brewery gets into the Christmas spirit with rare whisky cask releases

Harviestoun Brewery has teamed up with Orkney’s Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky to release a choice of rare, limited-edition, whisky cask ales in time for Christmas.

For the first time in six years, real craft ale and whisky connoisseurs alike will get the chance to put Harviestoun Brewery’s Ola Dubh 40-Year-Old Reserve at the top of their Christmas tipple list, complete with a special presentation gift box.

Ola Dubh, meaning ‘Black Oil’ in Scots Gaelic, is a real labour of hand-crafted love for Harviestoun’s brew team. It is the result of maturing the brewery’s Old Engine Oil stout in 40-Year-Old whisky casks from the award-winning Orkney distillery, Highland Park, for at least six months.

The result is a highly complex and beautifully balanced mahogany black dark ale. Aromas of smoky peat, nutmeg and vanilla are complemented by sweet notes of toffee, dark chocolate, soft dark fruits and fragrant orange zest. A truly special, limited-edition Ola Dubh Reserve.

Harviestoun Brewery, based in Alva near Stirling, is rolling out only 120 bottles of Ola Dubh 40-year-old Reserve as an online exclusive from 5pm on Wednesday 2nd December, including next day delivery around Scotland and the rest of the UK. This rare limited-edition bottling It is expected to sell out within days, so people are being encouraged to get their orders in quickly to avoid disappointment.

Ola Dubh 18-year-old limited-edition is also available in a special gift pack. Ola Dubh 12-Year-Old and Old Engine Oil can be purchased in individual cases and gift packs.

For foodies, Old Dubh matches perfectly with festive favourites, including venison and brisket, roasted vegetables such as parsnips, carrots and tatties, as well as chocolate brownies and all hard and soft strong cheese, such as Anster or Isle of Mull Cheddar.

Stuart Cail has been Master Brewer at Harviestoun Brewery for over 20 years. He said:

“We’re extremely proud to be working with our friends at Highland Park once again to release our very special, limited edition Ola Dubh 40-Year-Old Reserve and wider Ola Dubh range in time for Christmas. With only 120 bottles up for grabs, people need to get to the front of the queue, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

“Ola Dubh is a labour of love. Everything about it is extreme. The brew team fill the mash tuns to the brim with roast barley, pinhead oats and malted barley. It ferments more slowly as the yeast struggles to move around in such a viscous beer.

“The base beer is Old Engine Oil which we put into Highland Park Whisky casks and it stays there for at least six months. During this time the flavours from the wood enter the beer to produce Ola Dubh. The process is far from simple, but the result is a beautiful brew with complimentary whisky notes and a chocolate, roasty and bittersweet aftertaste.”

Highland Park’s 40-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch is particularly special due to its rarity. Highland Park 40-Year-Old is released in limited batches as their older stocks reach their peak. Their Master Whisky Maker, Gordon Motion, has only a very small selection of mature casks to choose from – a real treasure trove from which to create older whiskies.

Over time, each individual cask will develop its own distinctive character and it’s down to Gordon’s expertise to select only those casks that will marry well together to create each batch. That’s why you’ll find a rich vein of continuity running from batch to batch along with subtle differences that Highland Park is proud to celebrate and which make each release unique.

Gordon Motion, Master Whisky Maker at Highland Park, added:

“We’ve had fun working with Harviestoun over the years and expect the new release to be really popular. We always use the best quality casks available to mature our whisky. For this project, we gave Harviestoun the precious casks which previously held our 40-Year-Old single malt which were primarily American oak casks, this has provided a delicate peat and spicy flavour to the beer.”

Harviestoun is one of Scotland’s most awarded independent breweries and is a pioneering producer of 10 high-quality craft beer and lagers.

Ola Dubh 40-year-old reserve [8% ABV] will be available to buy at Harviestoun Brewery’s online shop from 5pm on Wednesday 2nd December, priced at only £20 per 330ml bottle, including next day delivery around Scotland and the rest of the UK

For those looking for a stocking filler or a beer gift for the beer and whisky lover in their life, Harviestoun’s Craft Stout Trio gift pack is now also available to buy from the online shop. This 3x 330ml gift pack includes Old Engine Oil, Ola Dubh 12-Year-Old and limited-edition Ola Dubh 18-Year-Old. The Craft Stout Trio is an insight into Harviestoun’s brewers’ journey to perfection. Old Engine Oil is a rich and viscous stout with a beautiful velvet mouthfeel, it is also the base beer for Harviestoun’s Ola Dubh range. The beer is rested in Highland Park Whisky casks for a minimum of six months to create Ola Dubh. The Ola Dubh 18 has just been released and has limited stock:

People can also follow Harviestoun on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Highland Park’s new 40-Year-Old Spring 2019 Release has just launched. For more information, visit:


Notes to editors

More photos, including Harviestoun’s Craft Stout Trio gift pack, available for free downloadable from DropBox:

Ola Dub 40-year-old Reserve tasting notes

A highly complex and beautifully balanced mahogany black dark ale. Aromas of smoky peat, nutmeg and vanilla are complemented by sweet notes of toffee, dark chocolate, soft dark fruits and fragrant orange zest. A truly special, limited edition Ola Dubh Reserve.

Appearance:       Mahogany black

Aroma:                 Peat, nutmeg, vanilla

Taste:                    Soft dark fruits, chocolate, zest

Malts:                   Lager malt, pinhead oats, roast barley

Hops:                     East Kent Goldings, Fuggles, Galena

About Harviestoun Brewery:

Based at Alva, near Stirling, Harviestoun is one of Scotland’s most awarded breweries

and is a pioneering producer of nine high-quality craft beer and lagers, including its most famous award-winning beer, Schiehallion (pronounced she-hal-ion) pilsner, which is named after a well-known mountain in Perthshire:

  • 2 craft lagers – Forth (4%) & Schiehallion (4.8%)
  • 1 golden ale – Bitter & Twisted (4.2%)
  • 2 craft stouts – Old Engine Oil (6% or 4.5% on draught) and Engineers Reserve (9%)
  • 2 pale ales – The Ridge (5%) & Whippet (table beer – 2.3%)
  • 1 dark ale – Wheesht (0.0%). Scotland’s first alcohol-free dark ale
  • 1 barrel-aged stout – Ola Dubh (8%). Finished in ex-Highland Park whisky barrels for a minimum of 6 months. There are various age statements from the barrels – 12, 14, 16 , 18, 30 and 40 years old.

Harviestoun has been brewing in the shadow of the Ochil Hills in Clackmannanshire since 1983, so they were making craft beer in Scotland long before it became a popular trend. Still under independent ownership, it is one of Scotland’s most-awarded breweries and they consider themselves a modern craft classic.

Harviestoun’s beers are made with the soft local water and the majority of its barley is grown within eight miles of the brewery. The brewery remains steadfastly committed to the using the same local ingredients, the same yeast as they always have. They insist on the very best ingredients in their imaginative recipes which are crafted without compromise. All at Harviestoun respect and celebrate the provenance that they have inherited and are developing this special business with energy and imagination.

The Brewery is now owned by Sandy Orr and Donald MacDonald who in partnership with the Sharp family acquired Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh in 2008.  Having already been bought by Caledonian Brewery in 2006, Harviestoun was at the leading edge of the cask beer revolution in Scotland.  When Caledonian was subsequently sold to Scottish & Newcastle, Sandy and Donald were determined to keep Harviestoun out of the sale transaction believing that the quality and provenance of its beers in independent hands promised a fine future in the then growing market for premium flavoursome beers.  And so it has proved.

Under the same Chairmen it has had since 2008, Harviestoun is now led by Stuart Cook and Kevin Giudici as Joint Managing Directors.  The executive team in 2019 have led the business to re-brand, brought out new products that are already winning awards, as well as overhauling the sales and marketing division to establish a strong platform for growth in the future.

The independent brewery employs a close team of 22 people, including a female head brewer, which is quite unique for the brewing industry, as well as a Master Brewer with well over 20 years’ experience at the brewery. The Harviestoun Brewhouse rule is that no Harviestoun beer will leave the Brewery unless Stuart Cail (Master Brewer) or Amy Cockburn (Head Brewer) are delighted with its creation and consistency.

About Highland Park:

Whisky has been distilled at Highland Park in Kirkwall, Orkney since 1798.  Founder, Magnus Eunson, was a direct descendant of Vikings who settled in Orkney over 1,000 years ago. A butcher and church officer by day and a bootlegger and smuggler by night, he set up an illegal whisky-making operation at a little bothy (a stone hut) at High Park, overlooking Kirkwall.  It is still the site of the distillery today and although we say Highland Park was founded in 1798, that’s actually the year the authorities finally caught up with Magnus.  Few trees survive the gale-force winds on Orkney. This makes the island peat woodless and rich in heather. This then helps create the trademark Highland Park flavour profile of aromatic smoky peat and sweet heather honey.  For more information, visit:

Press release from Taste Communications on behalf of Harveistoun

Media contact:

Jonathan Perkins, Communications Director, 07894 711 515,