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Guide to Distilleries - Aberfeldy to Finlaggan

Distillery Descriptors

Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy distillery is located in Perthshire at the river Tay and near to Edradour & Blair Athol. Built in 1896 by the Dewar brothers with the express aim of distilling a malt for their blended whisky “White Label”. The first official bottling of Single malt was not produced until; 1991 when Diaggio, the then owners released a 15 year old Flora & Fauna. Aberfeldy has an impressive & lavish visitor centre – Dewars World of Whisky.

Aberlour

‘Aberlour’ is a gaelic word meaning ‘mouth of the chattering burn’ . Founded in 1826 by James Gordon & Peter Weir, Aberlour distillery is situated at the junction of the Rivers Lour and Spey, the distillery lies in a beautiful glen, surrounded by glorious scenery dominated by the rugged peaks of Ben Rinnes a short distance away.

Allt-A-Bhainne

Allt A Bhainne in Gaelic means "the milk burn" and is pronounced "ALT A VANE". Situated close to the village of Dufftown, the distillery is a relatively new addition to the Chivas group. Built in 1975 to respond to growing demand for their famous blend Chivas Regal, Allt-A-Bhainne was expanded in 1989. Never bottled as single malt in the past by Chivas, Allt-A-Bhainne has only been available through independent bottlers. This is very rich and expressive single malt.

An Cnoc

Single malt produced by the Knockdhu distillery. An Cnoc is the Gaelic name for the “Black Knock Hill” beneath which the distillery is built.

Ardbeg

One of the world's great distilleries in the days when single malts were a secret. The distillery traces its history to 1794. Ardbeg (meaning small hillock) closed in the early 1980's but began again at the end of the decade albeit sporadically. Whisky produced at that time is less tar-like than the old Ardbeg. The peaty origins of the water are a big influence in the whisky's earthy, tar-like flavours.

Ardmore

Founded in 1898 by Adam Teacher, Ardmore distillery lies near Clashindarroch Forest and in the foothills of the Grampian mountains. Ardmore is from the Gaelic, Ard-moi, meaning "big slope". Almost all product goes into blends such as Teacher’s and Ballantine’s.

Arran

Established 1993 by Harold Currie – one of Scotland’s newest distilleries, the first 10 year old was released in 2006. The distillery is located at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran.

Auchentoshan

Situated just north of Glasgow Auchentoshan obtained an official license to distil in 1823. Production was halted during World War II when the distillery was severely damaged by a bomb, reconstruction began in 1948, Auchentoshan is the only distillery in Scotland to have a third still and claims to make the only truly triple distilled whisky.

Auchroisk

Despite the distillery being established in 1974, Auchroisk has a traditional feel to it. The building was built in Scots vernacular style, to remind visitors of the past and reflect the image of tradition. The distillery is located between Keith and Aberlour and draws its water from a nearby spring, known as Dorie's Well.

Aultmore

Located in Banff Aultmore distillery has been in operation since 1897. The whisky is no longer matured on site but at warehouses in Glasgow. Aultmore was one of the first distilleries to actively process by-products into animal feed. Most of the output from the distillery is used in Dewar’s blends but a small proportion is now bottled as single malt with the 12 year old being the signature bottling.

Balblair

An old distillery, founded by John Ross in 1870, Balblair is situated in the village of Edderton, formerly known as the “parish of the peats”. 75% of Balblair is sold to the export market

Ballantruan

A peated whisky from the Tomintoul distillery

Ballechin

One of Scotland’s lost distilleries, first built in 1810 it closed in 1927 and the building is now used as a farmhouse. The name is now used by the Edradour distillery for a young peated bottling.

Balmenach

The Balmenach distillery was established in 1824 by James McGregor who operated an illicit still within his farm, in what was described to the excise man as a peat shed. The distillery has produced over the years one of the fullest and complex single malts of Speyside. Unfortunately the distillery was mothballed in 1993. It has since been sold and only recently resumed production. A very fine aromatic and mellow malt, greatly appreciated by blenders.

Balvenie

Unique amongst distilleries all parts of the whisky production process take place on site, from the growing of the barley, through the malting right up to maturation. Established in 1892 by William Grant, Balvenie is situated in Dufftown and is amongst the top 10 selling malts globally. There are no independent bottlings.

Banff

Banff built half a mile from the small Speyside village baring the same name, was closed and sold by its owners in 1983. The original distillery, thought to have been established in 1824, used to distil with two stills only. Banff was destroyed by fire in 1877 and rebuilt. During the Second World War, the distillery was bombed by the German air force. During the raid, maturation warehouse No12 was destroyed and millions of gallons of alcohol came pouring into the surrounding farms. The animals in the farms became inebriated and for days after cows were unable express milk or stand up straight.

Ben Nevis

Founded by “Long John” Macdonald in 1825. Joseph Hobbs, a Canadian installed a Coffey still in 1955 so that grain whisky could be produced alongside the malt. After his death production ceased on and off for a few years until full commercial production resumed in 1990.

Benriach

Founded in 1898 as the whisky market suddenly moved into recession, Benriach was forced to close in 1900 and did not reopen until 1965 when it was rebuilt by Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. The distillery is located next door to Longmorn, south of Elgin. It is a key malt for the blend Chivas Regal. It was sold a few years ago and is now independently owned.

Benrinnes

The Benrinnes distillery, named after the mountain that dominates the heart of Speyside, was founded in the 1820's. The whisky produced by the distillery is one of the few single malts in Scotland to be partially triple distilled. Benrinnes has long been appreciated as a blending malt and is only occasionally released as a single malt. An original malt to discover.

Benromach

The smallest working distillery in Speyside, Benromach, founded in 1898 was mothballed in 1983. It was rescued from its moth-balled status by Gordon & Macphail ten years ;alter and has a capacity of 500 000 litres.

Ben Wyvis

The original Ben Wyviss distillery opened in 1879, but closed in 1926. In 1965, in response to increased market demand for malt whisky, Invergordon Distillers established Ben Wyviss to produce malt for their blends. Production ceased again after only 11 years.

Bladnoch

Bladnoch is Scotland’s most southerly distillery and has been producing whisky intermittently since 1817. Currently owned by Raymond Armstrong, the distillery boasts one of the best visitor centres, attracting 25000 visitors a year.

Blair Athol

Blair Athol distillery was founded under the name 'Aldour' in Pitlochry in 1798, only taking its current name in 1825 following expansion work by the owner Robert Robertson. Named after the local village of Blair Athol, the seat of the Duke of Athol, the 13th century Blair Castle The majority of the production goes into Diageo’s blends with the remaining 5% being matured in Sherry casks and bottled as a 12 year-old single malt under the Flora and Fauna label. There are a small number of independent bottlings.

Bowmore

“Bowmore Distillery, one of the oldest in Scotland, has stood on the shores of Loch Indaal, on the Hebridean Island of Islay, since 1779 ...This makes us the first ever distillery on the island (well, legal distillery anyway).... We're one of only a few distilleries anywhere which still produces its own floor malted barley, hand-turned by traditional wooden malt shovel. For our whiskies we draw water from the Laggan River, with its rich peaty overtones, and it's the same Islay peat that fires the malt drying kiln.” Official Bowmore website. A bottle of Bowmore single malt distilled in 1850, possibly the oldest in the world, sold at auction in 2007 for the record price of 29,000 GBP

Braes of Glenlivet

Founded in 1973 by the Chivas/Glenlivet group the distillery is located in the Glen of Livet and close by The Glenlivet distillery. “Glenlivet” was dropped from the name in 1994 to avoid confusion and changed to Braeval. The distillery stands at an altitude of 350m and is classified as the highest distillery in Scotland. After purchase by Pernod Ricard in 2002 , it closed for renovations and reopened in 2008 as an extremely modern distillery that can be operated by only one man. The classic look of the distillery was retained.

Braeval

(Formerly Braes of Glenlivet). The Braeval Distillery despite its romantic name and handsomely monastic appearance is relatively new and was built between 1973 and 1978. Brae is Scottish Gaelic for a "hillside" or "steep bank". The distillery is perched on a stream that feeds the River Livet.

Brora

Brora distillery opened in 1819, and was first known as Clynelish. in 1969 when the modern Clynelish was rebuilt across the road from the old distillery, Brora was established in the former mash house of Clynelish. Brora only operated for a short while. It has been closed since May 1983. Its sister distillery, Clynelish has produced since 1968 a less peaty malt than Brora also known as the old Clynelish. The original distillery was established by the Marquis of Stafford, Duke of Sutherland in 1819 to offer work for displaced crofters during the clearances and as an access market for his locally produced barley. A typical example of a coastal Highland malt from the North -East resembling an island malt. Brora closed in 1983.

Bruichladdich

Built in 1881 by Robert, William and John Gourlay Harvey. It was renamed the Bruichladdich Distillery Co in 1886. The distillery was closed between 1929 and 1937 then sold in 1938 to an American controlled group, Associated Scottish Distillers. It was sold again in 1952 to Whisky Brokers, Ross & Coulter Ltd, and then passed to A.B Grant in 1960 who then sold it on in 1968 to Invergordon Distillers. Two stills were added in 1975 to the original two stills. After the takeover of Invergordon by Whyte & Mackay in 1993, the distillery was closed at the end of January 1995. Bruichladdich was bought and reopened in 2001 by Mark Reynier, a London Wine Merchant with other associates and Jim McEwan. It now has its own bottling line, the only one on the island. The distillery now distils different style of whisky, some un-peated, some peated and some heavily peated.

Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain meaning "Mouth of the River" is located in a beautiful setting overlooking the Island of Jura. Unlike its island neighbours, Bunnahabhain is a lightly peated malt. The distillery has the largest pot stills on the island and its production is mostly used for blending purposes. The un-peated water used at the distillery rises through limestone, and flows down the river Margadale from where it is piped to the distillery. This is a gently subtle Islay malt.

Campbeltown

A whisky producing region based on distilleries in the Campbeltown area. Just above the Mull of Kintyre. The Scotch from here carries a coastal hint of iodine along with Highland sweetness

Caol Ila

Protected within the sound of Islay, close to Port Askaig, the principal port of the island, Caol Ila is the largest and most modern distillery on Islay. Caol Ila is extensively used for blending. It is a key component for many blends such as Johnnie Walker. Caol Ila is certainly the most elegant, refined and well balanced single malt from Islay. The present distillery building is modern although the distillery's history goes back to 1846 and beyond. The still house has the best view of all distilleries in Scotland, overlooking the Paps of Jura.

Caperdonich

Caperdonich, originally known as "Glen Grant #2", was built in 1898 by the founders of the Glen Grant distillery. It closed after only four years, and was dormant until reopened in 1965 under the name of Caperdonich. In 1967, two steam-heated pot stills were added. Technological advances allowed the distillery to be run by only two people. The distillery was sold to Pernod Ricard in 2001. They closed it one year later.

Cardhu

The Cardhu distillery was started as farm distillery by John Cumming, formerly a whisky smuggler, working on a seasonal basis after the harvest had been gathered. The distillery was mainly run by his wife, Helen, who would sell bottles of whisky to passers-by through the window of their farmhouse. The distillery was set up high on Mannoch Hill drawing water softened by the peat. In 2003 Diageo caused controversy by replacing the single malt with a vatted malt which they called a pure malt, but using the identical packaging. After an angry response from other whisky producers and consumers, the single malt went back into production in 2006.

Clynelish

The original distillery was established in 1819 by the Marquis of Stafford, Duke of Sutherland, to offer work for displaced crofters during the clearances. The venture was also used as an access market for his locally produced barley. Clynelish is a typical example of a coastal Highland malt from the Northeast that resembles an island malt. When the new distillery was built the old one continued to operate under the name of Brora it finally closed in 1983. Its sister distillery, Clynelish, has been in production since 1968. It produces a less peaty malt than Brora.

Coleburn

Situated in Longmorn by Elgin, Morayshire, Coleburn was founded by John Robertson & Son in 1897, It was bought first by the Clynelish Distillery Company in 1916 & then DCL in 1930. Mothballed in 1985 and in 1992 its license was not renewed. The distillery still stands today, although its distilling equipment has been dismantled. Plans have been submitted to turn it into a hotel.

Convalmore

The Convalmore distillery, founded in 1893, close to Dufftown, was destroyed by fire in 1909. At the time of rebuilding the distillery, a continuous distillation column was installed to experiment in this new way of producing malt whisky. The experiment was ended in 1914 and was deemed unsuccessful. Convalmore was modernised in 1964 and finally closed in 1985 when it was acquired by Wm. Grant & Sons. The site is now used as storage for nearby Glenfiddich. A rare and collectable malt.

Cragganmore

Situated in the village of Ballindalloch in Banffshire, the Cragganmore distillery was founded in 1869 by John Smith.. The site was chosen by Smith for its proximity to the railway network and the waters of the Craggan burn. Cragganmore is marketed by Diageo under their Classic Malts brand selling around 350 000 bottles a year. It is also used in the White Horse & Old Parr blends.

Craigellachie

Situated in the heart of Scotland at the junction of the rivers Spey & Fiddich, the Craigellachie distillery was built by Glenlivet in 1891. Currently owned by Bacardi, the distillery has a massive output of 3 600 000 and produces a signature 14 year old which replaced UDV’s famous Flora & Fauna.

Croftengea

Is a peated whisky produced by the Loch lomond distillery

Dailuaine

Founded by William Mackenzie, a farmer in Carron in 1852 the distillery was extended and re-built several times. The name Dailuaine comes from the Gaelic word "Dail Uaine" meaning "green valley". Nesting in a glen below Benrinnes on one side and the Spey River on the other, very close to Aberlour, Dailuaine used to have a railway link in order to dispatch casks and receive barley by train. Dailuaine did not get electricity till 1950. Several fires destroyed the distillery which was re-built in 1884 then 1917 and again in 1959 when the number of stills was increased from four to six. A key malt for the Johnnie Walker blend.

Dallas Dhu

Dallas Dhu is Gaelic for "black water valley". Originally planned as Dallasmore in 1898, the distillery was re-named Dallas Dhu once opened in 1899 and was sold by its original proprietor and laird, Alexander Edward. Used essentially for blending for Roderick Dhu and Benmore blends, Dallas Dhu can only be found through independent bottlers. Closed in 1983, the distillery was saved for the nation when it was handed over to Historic Scotland in 1988 and converted into a museum for future generations.

Dalmore

Dalmore Distillery is situated in a beautiful location on the north shore of the Cromarty Firth, approximately half an hour north of Inverness. The distillery was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson, occasionally referred to as a "tea and opium trader" as a result of his connection with the Hong Kong based firm of Jardine Matheson. Although the distillery has changed ownership a number of times in the past thirty years, it is the distinctive stag's head, the clan crest of the Mackenzie's who bought the distillery from Matheson, which is the distinguishing mark of a bottle of Dalmore.

Dalwhinnie

Located in the Highland village of Dalwhinnie in Scotland, produces Single malt Scotch whisky classified amongst the Highland Single Malts. Originally called Strathspey after the nearby town Strathspey, the distillery was founded in 1897, John Grant, George Sellar and Alexander Mackenzie on a site chosen for its access to clear spring water from Lochan-Doire-Uaine and abundant peat from nearby bogs. Production started in 1898 but ceased due to bankruptcy the same year. It reopened the same year under new owners taking the village name of Dalwhinnie. Apart from a couple of closures due to a fire in 1934 and then restricted barley supply during WWII the distillery has continued to operate through to the present day

Deanston

“Deanston is situated a few miles from the historic town of Stirling in the very heart of Scotland and is our largest distillery. It started life as a cotton mill before being transformed into a distillery in 1966 where, to this day, it produces an outstanding Highland single malt Whisky which is handmade, un-chill filtered, natural colour and bottled at a strength of 46.3%. There are no computers used in production as we prefer to rely on the ancient art of distilling and the keen eye of our craftsmen to guarantee quality in every drop of this precious liquid”. From the official website

Dufftown

“Dufftown distillery was started in 1896 by two Liverpudlian entrepreneurs in a former meal mill by the Dullan Water. Originally having only two stills, Dufftown was extended to its present six in the 1970's.” From the official Dufftown website

Dunglass

A peated single malt whisky from the Litttlemill distillery c late 1960’s

Edradour

“At Edradour we hold the proud distinction of being the smallest distillery in Scotland. We are also the last original 'farm' distillery in Perthshire. You'll find Edradour nestling in a pocket glen in the hills above Pitlochry in the Southern Highlands.... Looking at the distillery from the breath-taking surrounding landscapes, it is not unlike stepping back into a scene from Brigadoon. It was built in the early nineteenth century, and seems hardly to have changed in the last 170 years. Observing the cluster of whitewashed buildings with red doors, one visitor felt it was 'as if some little Victorian lass had grown tired of playing beside the burn and had left her toy houses there to gladden the landscape’. On the inside, precious little has changed either. There's the same wooden equipment which is used to mash and ferment the whisky in the same time-honoured ways. There are the smallest copper stills in Scotland - the smallest permissible by law. Our Morton refrigerator used in the distilling process was new-fangled in its day, of course, but is now the only working model of its kind left in the industry.” From the official website

Fettercairn

Founded by Sir Alexander Ramsay & operating since 1824, Fettercairn is one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries. The Distillery is located in the foothills of the Cairngorm mountains from which it draws spring water for its whisky.

Finlaggan

Named after the castle of Finlaggan, the original residence of the “Lord of The Isles”. Finlaggan is not a real distillery. It is a bottling of a single Islay malt whisky produced by THE VINTAGE MALT WHISKY CO. LTD who state that the source is always the same. However, it is a secret.