Scotland and Scotch whisky: Speyside  whisky through the producing distilleries: history, making, maps and tasting notes



Mortlach Distillery
Banffshire AB55 4
+44 1340 820 318

Owner: Diageo

Creation date: 1823

Amongst the nine distilleries around Dufftown, Mortlach is the oldest one. The second is Glenfiddich, founded by William Grant who was production manager at Mortlach.
The distillery has been created by James Findlater and two of his friends, Donald McIntosh and Alexander Gordon on a ground hired from the earl of Mactuff. The creation date is not known for sure, but the licence has been officially delivered in 1823.
The distillery has been taken over by John Gordon who marketed its whisky under the name "The real John Gordon".
John Gordon has also the idea to put 20 cows on the surrounding grounds, in order to clear its stock of distillery waist.
In 1853, John Gordon took George Cowie as a partner. Cowie became the only owner when John died in 1867.
George Cowie held also some sheep in a farm in the surroundings. This was not unusual as this was the way the distillery owners could have some incomes during the summer, where the distilleries do not work full time, because of a lack of water.
His son, Alexander Mitchell Cowie built a railway from the distillery to the Dufftown station.
Alexander's only son died during the war in 1917 and the distillery has been sold to John Walker & co. Walker joined DCL which become soon SMD before being integrated within UDV.
A new distillery has been build in 1964, but the old stills were used.
The malting floors were suppressed in 1968, and since the late 1990's, the process is computer aided. 



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