Glen Garoich Highland Whisky Distillery
Founded in 1797 by John Manson (1762-1838) Glen Garioch is one of Scotland’s oldest whisky distilleries. Located in the Aberdeenshire village of Old Meldrum, near the “Valley of Garioch”, this whiskey distillery was built on the site of an old tannery. The site initially was also utilised as a brewery probably due to its then abundant water supply from the Percock Hills. The Scottish Statistical Account of 1794 reported the distillery “to be in a thriving way”. In 1798 the distillery and brewery was purchased by Thomas Simpson who operated at the site until 1827 when it was sold to Ingram Lamb & Co who expanded the buildings on the site. Just before his death John Manson now the owner of the Strathmeldrum Distillery Company re purchased the distillery. Opening in 1856 the Inverury and Old Meldrum Junction Railway brought much needed transport to the distillery as prior to this date the casks had to be transported by cart.
In 1884 the Leith firm of J.G. Thomson took over the distillery and two years later William Sanderson also of Leith took a 50% share in the whisky distillery’s operation. Sanderson probably wanted more single malt whisky for his now famous VAT69 blended Scotch Whisky. The Sanderson’s eventually took full control in 1921. 1933 saw Booth Distillers Ltd. (of gin fame) taking control but this only lasted until 1937 when Scottish Malt Distillers which was by then part of D.C.L. took over the whisky distillery. Production of whisky was suspended during the Second World War and the site was used for military purposes, production resuming in 1945.
In 1968 the distillery was closed because of limited water supply, (How things had changed from the early days). The distillery was purchased in for £150,000 in 1970 by Stanley P. Morrison who resumed low level production. 1972 was to become a Phoenix year for Glen Garioch Distillery. After establishing a further water supply from Coutens Farm it was the first distillery in Scotland to use gas to fire its stills and eventually after 175 years Glen Garioch Highland Single Malt Whisky was marketed in bottles.
The distillery which is now operated by Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd. a subsidiary of Suntory has gone from strength to strength since 1972 pioneering the use of waste heat for a greenhouse project, attending the World’s fair in Knoxville Tennessee in 1982 and in 1988 demonstrating a mini distillery to Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher at the Glasgow Garden Festival.
The distillery has so far released approximately a dozen superior bottlings of various ages of its superior Highland Single Malt Whisky’s which are matured in sherry and bourbon casks.
Taste: Many different bottlings, older bottling’s are exotic, fruity and more peaty.
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