Ballindalloch Single Estate Distillery
When we heard about the new Distillery on Ballindalloch Estate we asked Brian Robinson, the Distillery host, to come and share a fascinating insight into this fantastic project!
Nestled in the heart of the Spey valley sits Ballindalloch Castle, home to the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546. As a traditional Scottish Estate, it has all the activities you would expect including shooting, fishing and agriculture but over the centuries, the family have always had a mind to look to the future.
Joining the newer activities such as tourism at the Castle, forestry, golf and renewable energy, work has now finished on the Ballindalloch Distillery, marking a return to distilling for the family. The current Laird, Guy Macpherson-Grant is the 23rd generation of his family to reside at the Castle. It was his Great-Great Grandfather Sir George who, together with John Smith, built Cragganmore distillery in 1869 and Speyside distillery in Kingussie with George Grant a few years later in 1895.
The Distillery before the work started
Distillery host Brian Robinson during the build
The distillery sits next to our golf course in a renovated steading dating from the 1820’s. We are fortunate to have a wealth of talented craftsmen on our doorstep and over the last two years, they have worked to restore the building to the highest possible standard. Among others, the builders, stonemasons, joiners, ground workers, blacksmiths and electricians all came from within 25 miles of the distillery. The result is a building that would be more recognisable to generations past than the larger distilleries that now dominate the whisky world.
The Stills arrive
As Scotland’s first Single Estate distillery, all of the barley we use is grown on our farm, we distill and mature our whisky on the Estate, the draff feeds our Aberdeen Angus cattle and we use the liquid by-product to fertilise our fields ready for next years’ grain to be sowed. A practice that was commonplace in the whisky making of the past, but so rarely seen today.
Colin Poppy at the Mash Tun
From the very beginning, we have set out to be as traditional as we can be, so not for us the use of computers and automation. Our distillery is fully manual and we rely on the skill and experience of Master Distiller Charlie Smith together with Distillery Assistant Colin Poppy. Working with Forsyths of Rothes who supplied the necessary equipment from the Boiler, Mill and Mash Tun to the Washbacks, Stills and Wormtubs, the fit out of the plant lasted around 6 months.
Charlie tends the Wash Still
The Ballindalloch Wash Stills
It was then, on the 22nd September 2014 that we set about making a beautiful, robust Speyside whisky the family will be proud of, with the very first spirit running from our stills.
Mrs Clare Russell (22nd generation of the family at the Castle) and son Guy Macpherson-Grant
But now the waiting really begins. We intend to leave our casks around 3 times longer than the law dictates before our whisky becomes available. The first bottles are expected between 8 and 10 years from now, so patience really is a virtue that we must possess. Indeed, work is nearing completion on our second warehouse located nearby on the Estate ready to hold more of our maturing casks in readiness for the early 2020’s!
The walkway from the entrance hall to the Distillery
Until then, we invite guests to visit and experience the distillery for themselves. Tours are by appointment with a range of visits starting at £35 per person. Bookings can be made via Distillery Host Brian Robinson via [email protected] or on 01807 500331.
We can’t wait to visit the Ballindalloch Single Estate Distillery ourselves, it is so great to see old buildings refurbished and given the love and attention they need to get back up and running. What an exciting project, and a wonderful addition to Morayshire! A special thanks to Brian Robinson for guest blogging with us and sharing an insight to the first Single Estate Distillery in Scotland!
PROPERTY FEATURE NEAR BALLINDALLOCH ESTATE
N831 – LOWER BURNSIDE
Happy customer: “What a lovely home from home, five days early august with a party of 8. Loved the views from the kitchen, that mountain is different everytime you look at it, and been able to walk down to the banks of Spey, magic.” For more click here