"7 Stills" of Dufftown

The distilleries of Dufftown are:-

Mortlach                            1823

Glenfiddich                         1886

Balvenie                              1892

Convalmore                       1894 (closed 1985)

Parkmore                           1894 (closed 1931)

Dufftown                            1896

Glendullan                          1897

Pittyvaich                           1975 (closed 1993, demolished 2002)

Kininvie                               1990

There are currently 6 distilleries operating in Dufftown which have the capacity to make 38 million litres of pure alcohol per year.  This is approximately 11% of the overall capacity of the industry

 Balvenie

Owner:                 William Grants & Sons

Founded:             1892

Capacity:             6.4 ml

History:

  • 1892 – William Grant converts Balvenie New House to Balvenie Distillery using equipment from Lagavulin and Glen Albyn.  Intended to be called Glen Gordon.
  • 1893 – First distillation 1 May.
  • 1973 – First official bottling released.

Curiorities:

  • Land on which the distillery is on built to stop others developing it
  • Malts 15% own barley
  • First 6 hours the malt is dried with peat and for the remaining 42 hours it’s dried with coal.  Phenol content is about 5ppm.

Equipment:

  • Mash Tun:           Full Lauter
  • Washbacks:        9 x Oregon pine
  • Wash Stills:         5 x boil ball (3 are 12,729 litres, 2 are 9,092 litres)
  • Spirit Stills:          6 x boil ball (12,729 litres)
  • Heating:               Indirect
  • Condensors:       Shell and tube

Balvenie Floor Maltings

Dufftown

Owner:                Diageo

Founded:            1896

Capacity:             6.0 mlpa

History:

  • 1895 – Founded by Peter Mackenzie, Richard Stackpole, John Symon and Charles MacPherson.
  • 1897 – The distillery is owned by P Mackenzie & Co who also owns Blair Athol.
  • 1933 – Bought by Arthur Bell & Sons.
  • 1985 – Guiness buys Arthur Bell & Sons
  • 1997 – Guiness and Grand Met merge.
  • 1999 – Explosion in the mill.

Equipment

  • Mash Tun:           Full lauter (11 tonnes)
  • Washbacks:        12 stainless steel
  • Wash Stills:         3 plain (13,000 litres)
  • Spirit Stills:          3 plain (15,000 litres)
  • Heating:               Indirect (run hot)
  • Condensors:       Shell-and-tube

Curiosities:

  • 97% of whisky goes into blends in particular Bells.
  • When they wanted to make the style more nutty than grassy they increased the fermentation time to 75 hours.
  • Spirit stills are bigger than the wash stills.

Dufftown Distillery

Glendullan

 

Owner:                Diageo

Founded:            1897

Capacity:             3.7 mlpa

History:

  • 1896 – Founded by William Williams & Sons, a blending company.
  • 1902 – Becomes the favourite whisky of Edward VII
  • 1919 – MacDonald Greenlees buys a share of the distillery.
  • 1926 – DCL buys Glendullan.
  • 1972 – Brand new distillery built on the site.
  • 1985 – Old distillery is closed.
  • 2007 – Singleton of Glendullan launched in the US.
  • 2013 – New bio mass plant is constructed.

Equipment:

  • Mash Tun:           Full lauter (12 tonnes)
  • Wash Backs:       8 x Larch, 2 x stainless steel
  • Wash Stills:         3 x Plain (15,500 litres)
  • Spirit Stills:          3 x Plain (16,000 litres)
  • Heating:               Indirect
  • Condensers:        Shell-and-Tube

Curiosities:

  • One of the few distilleries to use hard water.
  • It is the River Fiddich that runs past the distillery not the Dullan.
  • Used in the Cardhu Pure Malt incident.

 Glendullan 01

Glenfiddich

 

Owner:                William Grants & Sons

Founded:            1886

Capacity:             12.5 mlpa

History:

  • 1886 – Founded by William Grant who had learned his trade at Mortlach and using equipment bought from Cardow distillery.
  • 1887 – Distilling starts on Christmas Day
  • 1898 – Pattisons goes bust and Grants decide to blend their own whisky (Standfast)
  • 1957 – Three corner bottle is introduced.
  • 1963 – First whisky to be marketed as a single malt.
  • 1969 – Opens first visitors centre in Scotland.
  • 2011 – First malt brand to sell over 1 million cases (12 million bottles) in a year.

Equipment:

  • Mash Tun: 2 full lauters (10.2 tonnes)
  • Washbacks: 24 Oregon Pine, 8 Stainless Steel
  • Wash Stills: 10 plain (9,500 litres)
  • Spirit Stills:  18 boil ball (5,500 litres)
  • Condensors:  Shell-and-tube (reputedly 1 stainless steel condenser)

Glenfiddich 

Kininvie

 

Owner:                William Grants & Sons

Founded:            1990

Capacity:             4.8 mlpa

History:

  • 1990 – The distillery is inaugurated on 26 June and the first distillation is on 18 July.
  • 2010 – Distilleries closes.
  • 2012 – The distillery re-opens after refurbishment.  Now uses the washbacks previously used by Balvenie.

Equipment:

  • Mash Tun:           1 x Stainless steel full lauter
  • Washbacks:        10 x Douglas fir
  • Wash Stills:         3 x Plain (14,600 litres)
  • Spirit Stills:          6 x Boil-Pot (8,600 litres)
  • Heating:               Indirect (steam coils)
  • Condensors:       Shell and tube.

Curiosities:

  • The distillery only consists of one stull house which for a while led people to state it was not a separate distillery to Balvenie.

Kininvie Distillery 20120630 

Mortlach

 Owner:                               Diageo

Founded:                           1823

Capacity:                            3.8 ml

History:

  • The distillery was founded in 1823 by James Findlater and his partners Donald McIntosh and Alexander Gordon on land leased from the Earl of Macduff.  It was the first distillery in Dufftown.  Local tradition has it that the distillery is founded on the site of an illicit still which drew its water from Highlandman John’s Well.
  • Mortlach had a chequered career changing hands at least 4 times and being silent for some time, during which the barley granary was used as a Free Church.
    • 1831 – Distillery is sold to John Robertson for £270.
    • 1832 – A&T Gregory buy Mortlach
    • 1842 – Distillery is owned by John Alexander Gordon and the Grant brothers and is silent.  Equipment moved to Glen Grant.
    • 1851 – Back in production after being used as a brewery and a church/
    • 1862 – John Gordon is selling his whisky mostly in Leith and Glasgow under the name “The Real John Gordon”.  John Gordon had the byres that adjoin the distillery where he kept about 24 head of cattle.  He used the burnt ales and draff as cattle feed.  A local journal reported “the ale being conveyed to them in pipes, so that nothing more is necessary than to turn a cock in the byre and let it flow into their troughs”.
    • 1853 - George Cowie was a land surveyor who had helped survey the proposed new railway lines in Banffshire becomes part owner in the distillery.
    • 1867 - John Gordon dies and George Cowie becomes sole owner.  He developed the business and became provost of Dufftown and chairman of the local school board and cottage hospital.  He also took the tenancy of neighbouring Pitglassie Farm and bred Aberdeen Angus cattle.
    • 1895 - His son, Dr Alexander Mitchell Cowie, returned from Hong Kong to take over the business in 1895.
    • 1897 - He further developed the business and in 1897 expanded the distillery with 3 new still and a railway siding from Dufftown station.  He became one of the leading Highlander distillers.  He also spent some time as a Deputy Lieutenant of Banffshire.
    • 1923 - Dr Cowie’s only son was killed in the First World War and in 1923 he sold Mortlach, at that time the largest distillery in the area, to John Walker & Sons  and this is when Mortlach’s association with Johnnie Walker blends starts.
    • 1968 – Floor malting ceases.
    • 2014 – Constructions commences on a second still house which will take capacity to nearly 8 mlpa.

 Equipment

  • Tun:                      Full Lauter (12 tonnes)
  • Washbacks:        6 x Larch
  • Wash Stills:         3 x boil ball (2 x 7500 litres, 1 x 16,000 litres)
  • Spirit Stills:          3 x boil ball (1 x 7000 litres, 2 x 9300 litres)
  • Heating:               Indirect
  • Condensors:       Worm tubs

Mortlach 3 v2

  

Convalmore

 Owner:                William Grant & Sons

Founded:            1894 (closed 1985)

History:

  • 1894 – Established by the Convalmore-Glenlivet Distillery Co which was a group of Glasgow blenders.
  • 1905 – Company failed and was bought by P Lowrie & Company which was later acquired by James Buchanan.
  • 1909 – Many of the buildings destroyed by fire.
  • 1910 – Distillery rebuilt incorporating a continuous still.
  • 1915 – Continuous still abandoned.
  • 1925 – Acquired by DCL.
  • 1985 – Closed.
  • 1990 – Buildings sold to William Grant.

Convalmore 

Parkmore

 Owner:                Edrington

Founded:            1894 (closed 1931)

History:

  • 1894 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Established by James Watson & Company.
  • 1923 – Watson’s was acquired by Buchanan-Dewar’s and John Walker and Son’s.  The mature stock of 8 million gallons was shared between the 2 companies.
  • 1925 – Became part of DCL.
  • 1931 – Closed.
  • 1988 – Sold to Edrington.

 IMG_1189

 

Pittyvaich

 Owner:                Diageo

Founded:            1974  (closed 1993)

Capacity:             1 million proof gallons

History:

  • 1974 - Established by Arthur Bell & Sons as a replica of Dufftown distillery.
  • 1985 – Bells is bought by Guinness.
  • 1993 – Closed.
  • 2002 – Demolished.

Curiosities:

  • During the early 1990s it was a back-up production facility for Gordon’s gin and was reputed to be the first place gin was produced in Scotland to prove that it could before production was moved from Essex to Cameronbridge.
  • Closed as the building had deteriorated and it had an asbestos roof.