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



Oban Distillery
Stafford St,Oban
Argyll PA34 5NH
+44 1631 572 004

Owner: Diageo

Creation year: 1794

The Oban distillery is settled in the very heart of the charming harbour town of the same name, facing the Isle of Mull. It has been build in 1794 by the Stevenson brothers, Hugh, John and James. The Stevenson family also founded the city of Oban.
In 1866, the distillery become property of Peter Cumstie, who sold it to Walter Higgin in 1883. The latter modernised the distillery.
He decided to hollow out the rocks near the distillery to make new warehouses, but the works were stopped after an archaeological discovery, notably human remains dating 4500 years BC. This remains are exposed in the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh.
The distillery has been acquired by the owner of Aultmore distillery to create the group Oban and Aultmore-Glenlivet Ltd was.
The Dewar's group became owner in 1823. In 1930, the Dewar's group was incorporated in SMD which is nowadays part of UDV, the current owner of the distillery 
Oban has been mothballed from 1931 to 1937, during World War II and from 1969 to 1972.
Most of the ferries going to the Hebrides islands start from Oban. Its single malt became famous thanks to the Classic Malts collection launched in 1988, but the major part of the production is used in blends, among others Bell's.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond Distillery
Dumbartonshire G83 0TL
+44 1389 752 781

Propriétaire: Loch Lomond Distillery Co Ltd

Année de création: 1965

The Loch Lomond distillery has been settled in 1965 in the buildings of an ancient dyeing plant called United Turkey Red. In the beginning of the 19th century, another Loch Lomond distillery was situated at the other end of the loch. The first Loch Lomond distillery is closed since 1817. The current distillery has itself been closed between 1984 and 1987 and has been restored by Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse, independent bottler and blender from the area.
The name of Loch Lomond for a whisky is particularly famous thanks to Tintin.Loch Lomond Tintin
It is indeed the favourite whisky of Captain Haddock.... However, the whisky produced by the current distillery Loch Lomond cannot be the favourite of the captain, as the distillery has been build many years after the adventures of Tintin where Haddock drinks it. Another distillery, called Lochlomond (or Tarbat) has also existed, but this one is too old, as it stopped its activities somewhere round 1817. The captain Haddock's Loch Lomond has really been made up by Hergé.
Beside the Loch LomondLoch Lomond train
single malt (dear to Haddock's heart), the distillery produces two other single malts: Inchmurrin and Old Roshdhu. Some other less known (because not marketed as single malt) are also produced by the distillery: Loch Lomond HP, Craiglodge, Croftengea, Glen Douglas and Inchmoan.
The production of different malts in the same stills is possible thanks to special stills, called "Lomond stills". The difference between Lomond still and a traditional pot still is that the lyne arm is replaces by a system of horizontal and parallel plates, just like the Coffey still. But, contrary to the Coffey still, the distillation is not continuous.
The distillery has acquired a Coffey still in 1993 in order to produce grain whisky, and so to produce its own blends.
A blend called Loch Lomond is also available. Other blends of this distillery are Loch Lomond Single Blend, High Commissioner Blended Whisky and Scots Earl blended whisky.
The distillery also has its own cooperage. All this make Loch Lomond one of the few distilleries who take the whole whisky making process in charge, from the grinding of the grain till the blending. On the other hand, it does not produce its own malt.


Glenlochy distillery
North Road
Inverlochy, Fort William
Invernessshire PH33 6TQ

Owner: when the distillery was in activity: Diageo
Currently: West Coast Inns Ltd

Année de création: 1898

The Glenlochy distillery has been founded in 1898 by David McAndies, who was the director of the Glenlochy Fort William Distillery Co. The first production took place in 1901, three years later. In those hard times for distilleries, Glenlochy had to close during WWI and again in 1919. 6 years later, the distillery resumed production, in 1925. But not for a long time... as it is mothballed the very next year in 1926 for about 10 years, before being purchases in 1937 by Train & McIntyre who resumed the production from 1938. From that time, the distillery has been part of Associated Scottish Distilleries. DCL (which would become Diageo later) acquired Train & MacIntyre from an American company called Nationa Distillers and Glenlochy is transfered to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD). Production continued until 1983, when the distillery was definitely closed, just like so many others in those times.
The owners applied for permission to demolish the distillery, and this permission was not given as the distillery is part of Scottish history. The premices have been sold to a hotel group, West Coast Inns Ltd, and they got the permission to demolish the distillery, with the exception of the kiln and the pagoda roof, declared a historic building.
Apart from some (rare) independent bottlings (Gordon & MacPhail, Duncan Taylor) and an edition in the Rare Malts series, the whisky of this distillery is very difficult to find.


Ecosse 2004 255   2008 12 04 at 17 15 52

Glengoyne Distillery
Dumgoyne, Killearn,
Stirlingshire G63 9LB
+44 1360 550 254

Owner: Ian MacLeod

Creation year 1833

The Glengoyne distillery is situated on the Highland Line, symbolic border separating the Highlands and the Lowlands.
Originally founded under the name Burnfoot Distillery (or "Burnfood of Dumgoyne"), then known as Glen Guin Distillery when it became property of Lang Brothers, it has been renamed in Glengoyne Distillery in 1905.
Due to lack of place, the distillery stopped using its own malting floors as soon as 1910.
It has been rebuild and modernised in 1966. The distillery who belonged to Lang Brothers since 1876 came under control of the Edrington group in the 1960's.
Lang Brothers has been purchased by Ian McLeod, famous independent bottler in 2003.
About 20% of the production are marketed as single malt, the remaining part being used in the blends Lang Supreme and Lang Select. 

Ben Nevis


Ben Nevis Distillery
Loch Bridge,
Fort William
Argyll PM33 6TJ
+44 1397 702 476

Owner: The Nikka Whisky Distilling Company Ltd.

Creation year: 1825

The Ben Nevis distillery has been founded in 1925 by (Long) John MacDonald. It is named after the highest mountain of United Kingdom (1334 meter). When Long John died in 1856, his son Donald MacDonald took over the business, and his was so successful that he had to build another distillery he called Glen Nevis. This last one was closed in 1908, and is used since this time as warehouse for Ben Nevis.
The production has increased tenfold by 1887.
In 1955, the distillery became the property of Joseph W Hobbs, also owner of BruichladdichGleneskGlenkinchieGlenury Royal and Lochside.
Hobbs installed a Coffey Still and Ben Nevis was the first distillery to produce malt and grain whisky.
The distillery was acquired by the Long John group, itself part of the Whitbread group in 1981. The distillery was extended, but closed 2 years later, in 1984. During this alteration works, the Coffey still has been suppressed.
The distillery closed again in 1986 until it was purchased by the japanese group The Nikka Whisky Distilling Company Ltd in 1989.
Ben Nevis reopened in 1990.
A large proportion of the production is used in blends, among others for Glencoe and Dew of Ben Nevis



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