St Magdalene Lowland Whisky Distillery
St Magdalene is located in the Lowland town of Linlithgow which is west of Edinburgh and was founded approximately in 1765 however no one is positive about the exact date. The founder was a Sebastian Henderson but no written records exist until an Adam Dawson from Bonnytoun took over as the distiller in 1797. He merged his Bonnytoun distillery which was across the road from St Magdalene to create one distillery. The reason for the religious name is that before the location was a distillery it had previously housed St Magdalene Hospital and later a convent. This historic place was founded by the Knights Templar as place treat leprosy. Linlithgow during this time was a hub for milling and malting due to the surrounding area being rich in water supply and barley. Linlithgow at this time contained 5 whisky distilleries.
The Dawson family remained in control of St Magdalene for over a 100 years creating A & J Adamson Ltd in 1895 and sadly this firm went bust in 1912 reopening shortly after under the ownership of Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. This company had been formed by the coming together of now global giant Johnnie Walker & Sons Ltd and the Distillers Company Ltd. St Magdalene continued to produce whisky for a number of years but was caught up in the boom and bust period after World War 2. Similar to the recent boom and bust of the UK property market much whisky was produced on borrowed money before a big slump in demand in the 1970’s and 1980’s seen St Magdalene ceased production.
There are rare scotch malt whisky bottlings of St Magdalene available however these are becoming collectors’ items. Independent bottlings often called Linlithgow and an official release of St Magdalene whisky during Diageo’s ‘Rare Malts’ series are available.
Taste: The only tasting we can find is from the 19 year old cask strength from the rare malts series which is reportedly very fruity once water is added with peaches, oranges and nuts. An expensive and exclusive aperitif.