by Gavin D Smith
Tel: 01466 730245
Fax: 01466 730313
On the B9001, nine miles from Huntly, off the A97 Huntly to Banff road.
GlenDronach was comparatively early in creating a visitor centre, opening one in 1976, and new visitor facilities were unveiled in 2005, complete with a shop and video presentation. The centre is currently undergoing further upgrading. Tours of this notably traditional distillery are available from Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm. There is an admission charge
One of many distilleries to date from the years immediately after the passing of the 1823 Excise Act, GlenDronach was built in an area previously noted for illicit distilling. The first spirit flowed in 1826.
In 1852 Walter Scott, formerly manager of Teaninich distillery, took over GlenDronach from its founder James Allardice, and proceeded to expand the operation. On his death in 1887 the distillery was acquired by a Leith partnership which ran it until 1920, when Charles Grant, a son of Glenfiddich founder William Grant, purchased it for the sum of £9,000.
In 1960 William Teacher & Sons Ltd bought GlenDronach, doubling the number of stills to four in 1966/67. The distillery passed with the rest of Teacher's assets to Allied Breweries Ltd in 1976, and it remained in the Allied fold until 2005, when acquired by Pernod Ricard subsidiary Chivas Brothers.
The plant was mothballed between 1996 and 2002, and until 2005 GlenDronach remained the last distillery in Scotland to fire its stills with coal. In that year they were converted to steam heating. In 2008 GlenDronach was purchased by The BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd, headed by Billy Walker.
GlenDronach has two pairs of stills and an annual capacity of 1.4 million litres of alcohol. The malt is unpeated, and principally ex-Sherry casks are used for maturation.
Full-bodied, Sherried, with vanilla, malt, spice, nut and fruit notes. The principal single malt expressions are GlenDronach 12, 15 and 18-year-old, though older variants and single cask bottling will be available in due course.