Lindores Abbey Distillery is to release a commemorative edition of its Aqua Vitae, Aqua Vitae Thabill, in honour of the all-star chess tournament that will take place at the distillery on 25th and 26th May. Players taking part include World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, former World Chess Champion Viswanathan ‘Vishy’ Anand and Ding Liren, three-time Chinese Chess Champion. 

Normally made from an unaged, malt-based spirit, the basis of the Thabill will be an exquisite 18-month old Lindores spirit which has been maturing in oak casks from Thiron-Gardais in France. The town is home to Tiron Abbey, the mother abbey of the Tironensian order and sister abbey to Lindores along with Kelso and Arbroath.

The name Thabill refers to an inventory of the abbey which took place in the 1480s and mentioned ‘twa pairs of thabills wt thair men’ – two chessboards with their pieces, in today’s parlance. Chess has been a part of the abbey’s history for more than 500 years, and this spirit is a fitting tribute to the game of kings. 

Only 500 bottles will be produced, making this an extremely rare opportunity to sample the most mature Lindores spirit thus produced. The bottles will be sold both online at and in the distillery shop, and will cost £150. A proportion of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to STAR, the distillery’s chosen charity which provides a safe, happy place for children in foster care to be reunited with siblings who have been placed in separate homes.

The tournament will take place over two days and the games will be played in the distillery itself, overlooking the abbey ruins. The games will be streamed on screens throughout the visitor centre for the public (the game-side seats are by invitation only).


For further information and images, please contact Poppy McKenzie Smith on


Lindores Abbey was founded in 1191 by David Earl of Huntingdon, on land overlooking the River Tay which was given to him by his brother, King William I. It was visited by Kings and Queens, warriors and statesmen. William Wallace took refuge there with 300 of his men after their victory over the English. It is considered by many to be the spiritual home of scotch whisky, as the earliest record of the spirit cited by the exchequer roll for 1494 is a commission from King James IV to Friar John Cor of Lindores Abbey to make ‘eight bols of malt.’

Aqua Vitae – the first release from this historic site is a tribute to the origins of Scotch as we know it today – the earliest ‘aqua vitae’ was made at Lindores Abbey as long ago as 1494. Distilled in pot stills, our malt spirit is then infused with a blend of spices and herbs, including cleavers, lemon verbena and sweet cicely, which all grow in our gardens amidst the grounds of the ancient Abbey. It is entirely natural, un-chill-filtered, with no added sugars.

Magnus Carlsen is a Norwegian Chess Grandmaster, the World #1 and World Chess Champion. An exceptional chess prodigy, he became a chess grandmaster in 2004, at the age of 13 years, 148 days, making him the third youngest grandmaster in history. He is the highest rated player in the world and in the history of chess, with a peak rating of 2882.

Viswanathan Anand, known popularly as “Vishy”, is an Indian chess Grandmaster and former World Chess Champion. Anand was the first Indian to win the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000 and since then he has won this Championship in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. He remained the undisputed World Champion from 2007 to 2013.

Ding Liren is a three-time Chinese Chess Champion (2009, 2011, 2012) and has represented China at all four Chess Olympiads from 2012 to 2018, winning team gold medals in 2014 and 2018 and individual bronze and gold medals in 2014 and 2018 respectively. In August 2015, he became the second Chinese player to break into the top 10 of the FIDE world rankings.

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