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

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Glendronach


Glendronach Distillery
Forgue, by Huntly
Aberdeenshire AB5 6DB
+44 1466 730 202

Owner: The BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd

Creation date: 1826


An old song evokes Glendronach as: (free translation): "Current jam is good for the belly. Ginger and hazelnuts are good for the intestines. But Glendronach wine is good for stomach".
The Glendronach distillery was founded by James Allardice in 1826. The Duke of Gordon liked the whisky so much that he took James Allardice with him to London, to present him to the London's gentry. But the success went to Allardice head. He neglected his distillery until 1837, when it was destroyed by a fire. The licence and the ruins of the distillery were sold to Walter Scott, who worked at the Teaninich distillery.
The distillery closed in 1916 and was bought in 1920 by Charles Grant, one of the sons of William Grant. Glendronach remained in the Grant family until 1960 when it was sold to William Teacher & Sons by George Grant.
Teacher's has been acquired by Allied Breweries, currently under control of Allied Distillers Ltd.
The Glendronach distillery was mothballed since 1995, but production resumed in 2004.
The malt is used in the blends Ballantine and Teachers.
The Glendronach distillery is under control of Pernod-Ricard since the French Company purchased the activities of Allied Domecq in 2005. 
In 2008, BenRiach distillery purchased Glendronach. BenRiach Distillery Company has been acquired 2016 by Brown-Forman.




Macduff


Macduff Distillery
Banff
Banffshire AB45 3JT
+44 1261 812 612

Owner: Bacardi Ltd

Creation year: 1960


Settled near the river Deveron, on the border of the Speyside area, the Macduff distillery has been created by the Glen Deveron Distillers Ltd in 1960. First filling of Macduff new make took place on 30 June 1960. A date commonly found in books and websites is 1962. People having participated to the birth of the distillery pretend this is wrong... So I believe the staff more than the literature...
It has been sold in 1964 to a private wine merchant who then sold it to Maritni and Rossi in 1972. Martini and Rossi was subsequently purchased by Bacardi in 1990.
During its short history, the Macduff distillery has had several alterations, in order to test different distillation techniques.
Macduff was the first of all distilleries in Scotland to experiment metal wahsbacks (corton steel), and it was also the first one to use steam to heat the stills. The stills are heated by steam coils but originally the whole pot was lagged up to the bottom of the still neck. The lagging above the floor was removed during the restoration in 1990.
Further, Macduff is one of the few distilleries which have fitted after coolers to the horizontal condensers in order to optimise cooling.
Macduff doubled its production between 1966 and 1968. It installed a 5th still in 1990.
The single malt from the distillery is officially called "Glen Deveron", and some independent bottlers market whisky from the distillery under the name "Macduff". The malt is part of the composition of William Lawson blend.




Glen Deveron


Macduff Distillery
Banff
Banffshire AB45 3JT
+44 1261 812 612

Owner: Bacardi Ltd

Creation year: 1960


Settled near the river Deveron, on the border of the Speyside area, the Macduff distillery has been created by the Glen Deveron Distillers Ltd in 1960. First filling of Macduff new make took place on 30 June 1960. A date commonly found in books and websites is 1962. People having participated to the birth of the distillery pretend this is wrong... So I believe the staff more than the literature...
It has been sold in 1964 to a private wine merchant who then sold it to Maritni and Rossi in 1972. Martini and Rossi was subsequently purchased by Bacardi in 1990.
During its short history, the Macduff distillery has had several alterations, in order to test different distillation techniques.
Macduff was the first of all distilleries in Scotland to experiment metal wahsbacks (corton steel), and it was also the first one to use steam to heat the stills. The stills are heated by steam coils but originally the whole pot was lagged up to the bottom of the still neck. The lagging above the floor was removed during the restoration in 1990.
Further, Macduff is one of the few distilleries which have fitted after coolers to the horizontal condensers in order to optimise cooling.
Macduff doubled its production between 1966 and 1968. It installed a 5th still in 1990.
The single malt from the distillery is officially called "Glen Deveron", and some independent bottlers market whisky from the distillery under the name "Macduff". The malt is part of the composition of William Lawson blend.




Glenburgie


Glenburgie Distillery
Forres,
Morayshire IV36 OQY
+44 1343 850 258

Owner: Pernod-Riard

Creation year: 1810


The distillery is supposed to have been build in 1810 (a copper plate on the building behind the current distillery says :“This building was build in 1810. The upper floor contained the distillery and customs and excise offices and the lower ground floor the original distillery warehouse”) but it appears from the archives that the construction of the distillery did not happen earlier than 1829, when William Paul initiated the whisky production on the site.
The distillery was called Kilnflat in those days, and William Paul remained the owner of the distillery up to 1871. Whisky production has been stopped in 1878.
The same year, the distillery has been renamed in Glenburgie, and the manager was Charles Hay. Alexander Fraser took the distillery over in 1895, and founded a Limited company to own it.
The distillery was bankrupted in 1925, because it could not resist to the crisis who caused the ruin of many a distillery in those days. A attorney from Elgin, Donald Mustard became the owner of Glenburgie after this bankruptcy.
George Ballantine & Son took the distillery over in 1936. The Ballantine company belonged to Hiram Walker which would become part of Allied Distillers some years later. Allied Distillers is still the current owner.
In 1936 Glenburgie was the first distillery ever to be managed by a lady. Margaret Nicol was indeed the first woman to have a managing function in the whisky world. She retired in 1959.
Back in 1936, the distillery has been refurbished and its production capacity was doubled in 1957. In the same period, the malting floors have been closed, and two Lomond stills have been installed. They have been in use up to 1981, when they were replaced by traditional pot stills.
This Lomond stills were used to produce a malt called Glencraig, named after the Ballantine's manager, William Craig.
Whisky produced by Glenburgie is essentially used in blends, specially in those of Teacher's and Ballantine's.




Glenallachie


Glenallachie Distillery
Aberlour,
Banffshire AB38 9LR
+44 1340 871 315

Owner: Pernod-Ricard

Creation daten: 1967


The distillery has been founded in 1967 by the Mackinlay McPherson Ltd. The company was part or the Scottish Newcastle Breweries Ltd. in those days.
The distillery was designed by the architect William Delmé Evans, who also built Tullibardine and Isle of Jura. Evans died on 6 october 2003, aged 83.
The Scottish Newcastle Breweries sold the Glenallachie in 1985 and it became part of the Invergordon Distillers Group, together with Isle of Jura. It closed the same year and reopened when it became ownership of its current owner who doubled the production capacity by adjunction of two stills.
100% of the production is made for the blending industry, and specially for Clan Campbell. It is very rare to find whisky from this distillery as single malt.




Glen Albyn


Glen Albyn Distillery
Great North Road
Inverness Inverness-shire IV3 5LU

Owner: Diageo

Creation year: 1846


If Inverness has nowadays no more distillery in activity, it remains nonetheless that in the 19th century this city was one of the most important at the level of malt production. James Sutherland founded Glen Albyn in 1846. Its first life was short as 20 years later the distillery was turned into a flour mill. In 1884, it returned to its original activities and was transformed into a distillery again. The distillery went through several hands, including the partnership between John Birnie and Charles Mackinlay who built the neighboring distillery, Glen Mhor.
Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor were among the first to adopt the Saladin Box instead of malting surfaces. The whiskey industry slowed down in the 1980s and many distilleries were closed and some destroyed. At the same time as Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor, Dallas Dhu, Banff and Brora closed. Both Inverness distilleries were demolished to make way for hypermarkets.




Dufftown


Dufftown distillery
Dufftown
Banffshire AB55 4BR
+44 1340 820224

Owner: Diageo

Creation date: 1896


The whisky boom of the 1890's suggested Peter MacKenzie and Richard Stackpole to build another distillery in Dufftown. After several years work and a agreement with John Symon owner of mills in the Dufftown area, the new Dufftown distillery was born on 11 November 1896. In those times, the barley grew in the Pittyvaich farm, also belonging to Symon. 
The first commercial results arrived just one week later, with the selling of 9 first hogsheads.
From 1898, Peter MacKenzie was active in the blending market as well, and his first steps were succesful in this business. The American market represented nice resources for him, until the prohibition in the early 1920's. 
MacKenzie was forced to sell Dufftown, along with Blair Athol which he owned too, to Arthur K. Bell. 
The economic situation of the distillery enhanced soon and the production level resumed quickly. 1941 was a desastrous year, and not only for the world of whisky. The shortage in raw material forced the distillery to close, just like many others.
But as soon as 1947, the production resumed to its level before WWII. Production was doubled in 1968. BUt this was not yet enough to satisfy the demand, and 2 more stills were added in 1797 and 1980.
Arthur Bell Company was purchased by Guiness Plc in 1985, and the latter was absorbed by DCL which would become UDV Diageo a few years later.
Dufftown is the largest distillery belonging to Diageo.
The whisky is mainly intended for blend: Bell's, Islander, Dewar's White Label and Johnnie Walker and is available as single malt at some independent bottlers. 




Dallas Dhu


Dallas Dhu Distillery
Forres
Morayshire IV36 2RR
+44 1309 676 548

Owner: Historic Scotland

Creation year: 1899


The distillery was designed by architect Charles Doig, probably the inventor of the pagoda-shaped roofs. The construction was financed by blend producer Wright & Greig.
The distillery was bought by Benmore Distilleries Ltd, which joined the D.C.L. (Distillers Company Ltd.).
In 1939, the still room was partially destroyed in a fire. Reopened in 1947, it became in 1988, under the auspices of historical monuments a museum of whiskey. All its facilities are still in perfect condition.
The distillery produced malt among others for the blend 'Roderick Dhu'.




Dailuaine


Dailuaine Distillery
Carron, Aberlour
Banffshire
AB38 7RE
+44 1340 810 361

Owner: Diageo

Creation date: 1852


William Mackenzie founded the Dailuaine distillery in 1852, 21 years before the "Strathspey Railway" was build. This new railway would facilitate the transport of whisky.
When William died, the distillery has been rent out until his son, Thomas was able to run the distillery in 1879.
Thomas refurbished Dailuaine and made it one of the most important distilleries of the area.
Like many other distilleries in those days, the name "Glenlivet" has been added to its name, just before joining Talisker to become "Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd." in 1898.
Later Thomas build a new distillery, Imperial.
Things wen very well up to the crisis years at the end of the 19th century. Thomas died in 1915, and as he had no family, the distillery has been taken over by a group of Dailuaine's customers, among others James Buchanan, John Dewar and John Walker. So the distillery became part of UDV, after it absorbed D.C.L. who owned the Buchanan, Dewar and Walker groups.
The distillery has been destroyed by a fire in 1917, and the production did not resume until 1920.
In 1950, the distillery joined up the electricity network, and new alterations found place between 1959 and 1960.
A "Saladin box" replaced the malt floors up to 1983, when the distillery began buying its malt in a malting. However, the saladin box is still present, and ready to be used again whenever it would be needed.
Only 2% of the production are marketed as single malt (sold by UDV in the Fauna & Flora collection or by Gordon & MacPhail), the remaining part being reserved to blends like Johnnie Walker.




Convalmore


Convalmore Distillery
Dufftown
Banffshire AB55 4BD

Owner: William Grant & Sons

Creation date: 1894


The Convalmore distillery was built in 1894 in Dufftown by the Convalmore-Glenlivet Distillery Co Ltd and taken over by W.P. Lowrie & Co (part of the James Buchanan & Co group). The distillery was partially destroyed by fire in 1909.
Fire was very common in distilleries, due to highly inflammable materiel (whisky but also the spirit vapours in the warehouses) stored in the building.
Reconstruction was quick, and in 1910, the owners decided to experiment with the making of malt whisky in a Coffey Still. This was not really a great success.
UDV bought the distillery in 1925 and resold it in 1990 to the owner of Glenfiddich and Balvenie distilleries, William Grant and sons. In the meanwhile important renovation works have been done in the 60's by Diageo, successors of DCL (and UDV). The licence is still kept by Diageo who have the right to market official bottlings. William Grant just purchases the premises, and uses them as warehouses.



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