Malt Whisky Country
Ben Rinnes sits dominating the heart of Malt Whisky Country and is the water source for some of the best Malt Whisky in the world. The Ben provides the water for distillieries such as Glenfarclas, Benrinnes, Allt a Bhaine, Glenallachie & Aberlour along with several others and is also the water source for whiskies that provide the backbone for Johnny Walker & Chivas Regal to name just a few.
Legend has it that the Braes of Glenlivet housed over 200 illicit stills prior to the licencing laws being changed to allow whisky distillation in the Highlands in 1823. Legend also states that the changes to the laws came about following a visit to the area by King George IV, in 1822, who was served whisky made by George Smith (later to found The Glenlivet Distillery in 1824).
Benrinnes Distillery was founded in 1826 by Peter Mackenzie at a site near to Whitehouse farm but was washed away in the Great Flood of 1829. It was subsequently rebuilt at a different site in 1835. The distillery changed hands a few times over the following years & one of the owners, Alexander Edward, built distilleries at Aultmore & Craigellechie & also had connections with Glen Nevis & Linkwood Distilleries.
Glenfarclas Distillery was founded in 1836 by Robert Hay and was purchased by the present owners, J & G Grant, in 1865 for £511.19s. It underwent reconstruction & modernisation in 1897 and increased the number of stills from 2 to 4 in 1960, these were increased again in 1976 from 4 to 6 stills. The Glenfarclas Distillery Visitor Centre, which opened in 1973, is one of the original distillery visitor centres. In addition to the regular tour, which includes a dram of Glenfarclas 10 years old, in-depth tutored nosing and tastings are offered by prior appointment.
Glenfarclas (translated as "Glen of the green grassland") is currently owned and managed by the 5th and 6th generation of the Grant family, being John LS Grant (Chairman) & his son George S Grant (Brand Ambassador), the distillery is one of only a handful that are truly independent family run businesses. Independence gives Glenfarclas the freedom to be uncompromising in its commitment to the founding principle of producing superior quality Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky. Glenfarclas can also boast to have the largest stills in Speyside.
The distilleries around Ben Rinnes continue, year after year, to win prestigeous, worldwide, industry awards for the quality Single Malt Scotch Whiskies produced with Ben Rinnes waters. You can smell these whiskies being produced at various times of day around the Ben, given the right wind direction & distillation times. A heart-warming smell that is only available, of this quality, in Speyside.
Not all of the distilleries in Speyside have visitor centres but you can find a list of links to some of these below.
Should you wish to see inside some of the distilleries that don't have normal visitor facilities maybe you should try the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. This is an event that is run twice a year when some of these lesser known distilleries open their doors to visitors. You can also find a link to the festival website below.
Some local Distilleries with Visitor Centres
|Glenfarclas Distillery||Aberlour Distillery|
|The Balvenie Distillery||The Glenlivet Distillery|
|Strathisla Distillery||The Macallan Distillery|
|Glen Grant Distillery||Glenfiddich Distillery|