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Balblair Whisky

Balblair Highland Whisky

Balblair is an ancient distillery from 1790, the second oldest in Scotland, and it is still going strong. Balblair means ‘battlefield’ and is supposedly one of the most beautiful distilleries on Scotland. It lies in the northern highlands - neighbor of the renowned Glenmorangie.

Balblair was established in 1790 by John Ross and got its breakthrough in 1864, when the railroad between Inverness and Ardgay opened and passed right by the distillery. In 1911 the distillery had to close until it was once again sold in 1948 and opened once more in 1949. Today the distillery is owned by Inver House Distillers (whom also own Speyburn, Knockdhu, Old Pulteney and Balmenach). Only 15% of capacity are used for single malt, the rest is used for blends.

Owner:                            Region/district:                        Inver House Distillers                            Northern Highlands

(Thai Beverages plc)

Founded:    Status:          Capacity:

1790            Active (vc)     1 400 000 litres

 Address: Edderton, Tain, Ross-shire IV19 1LB

 Tel:                         website:

01862 821273           www.balblair.com


1790 – The distillery is founded by John Ross.

 1836 – John Ross dies and his son Andrew Ross takes over with the help of his sons.

 1872 – New buildings replace the old.

 1873 – Andrew Ross dies and his son James takes over.

 1894 – Balnagowan Estate signs a new lease for 60 years with Alexander Cowan. He builds a new distillery, a few kilometres from the old.

 1911 – Cowan is forced to cease payments and the distillery closes.

 1941 – Balnagowan Estate goes bankrupt and the distillery is put up for sale.

 1948 – The lawyer Robert Cumming from Keith buys Balblair for £48,000.

 1949 – Production restarts.

 1970 – Cumming sells Balblair to Hiram Walker.

 1988 – Allied Distillers becomes the new owner through the merger between Hiram Walker and Allied Vintners.

 1996 – Allied Domecq sells the distillery to Inver House Distillers.

 2000 – Balblair Elements and the first version of Balblair 33 years are launched.

 2001 – Thai company Pacific Spirits (part of the Great Oriole Group) takes over Inver House.

 2004 – Balblair 38 years is launched.

 2005 – 12 year old Peaty Cask, 1979 (26 years) and 1970 (35 years) are launched.

 2006 – International Beverage Holdings acquires Pacific Spirits UK.

 2007 – Three new vintages replace the entire former range.

 2008 – Vintage 1975 and 1965 are released.

 2009 – Vintage 1991 and 1990 are released.

 2010 – Vintage 1978 and 2000 are released.

 2011 – Vintage 1995 and 1993 are released


The above timeline is a quote from Malt Whisky Year Book, written by author Ingvar Ronde, we thank you for your inspirational work - Buy the latest copy of the book here!

The book is written by Ingvar Ronde in English, with contributions from many whisky experts, just to name a few: Chris Bunting, Gavin D Smith, Ian Buxton, Charles MacLean, Dominic Roskrow, Colin Dunn and Neil Ridley.

The 2012 edition has been extended by 24 pages to a total of 300 pages. Malt Whisky Yearbook 2012 tells you everything you need to know about the Scottish, Irish and Japanese distilleries, flavored with more than 500 pictures. Additionally, there is a detailed walkthrough of brand new and planned distilleries, along with distilleries from countries we do not usually associate with whisky. 
Shortly put, Malt Whisky Yearbook 2012 is a fantastic piece of reference, which will tell you everything you need to know about the malt whisky of the world - and more!