ONE of the world's leading whisky makers says his home town has all the ingredients to become a leader in the lucrative marketplace.

Master distiller Max McFarlane is the latest big signing for the Ardgowan Distillery project.

Inverkip man Max, who worked for 44 years with Edrington, which produces some of the most famous brands, says the climate, environment and beauty of Inverclyde is perfect to house a distillery.

The 65-year-old said: "Inverclyde deserves it. We sit in the perfect place with regard climate and the soil. Everything is just right for top whisky.

"I think Ardgowan Estate is the most perfect place to have a distillery. I am very excited about the potential, which is why I wanted to get involved - and of course it is on my doorstep."

Entrepreneur Martin McAdam has been working around the clock to secure global investment for his £12 million vision.

It is hoped with Max on board they can help seal the deal and get the construction of the production plant off the ground within the next couple of years.

In the meantime Max is hard at work creating a new collection of whisky for the venture's Clydebuilt brand.

It has already won an international award - and more looks set to follow.

The first of the blended malt is now bottled and is selling well in local pubs and venues around Inverclyde.

Coppersmith, matured in sherry casks, pays tribute to the trade that was so pivotal to the work in the yards and will be the first of a series themed around the area's shipbuilding past.

Max added: "The ships built on the Clyde were considered the best in the world, so this fits in perfectly."

A leader in his field, Max first started working with Edrington in finance before discovering the sample rooms and a real nose for the amber nectar.

Max added: "I have always had a keen sense of smell, I just never realised I could use it in this way."

His keen abilities helped the company produce the likes of the blended Famous Grouse and single malt Macallan.

But Max says the secret to the success is all in the casks.

He added: "It really is all about the casks, these give the individual flavour."

Martin is delighted to have secured Max's services.

He said: "He is so modest but he is really the very best in his field. We are really pleased to have him join our team."