Glen Garioch Whisky
Glen Garioch Highland Single Malt Scotch WhiskyThe Glen Garioch distillery may well be Scotland's first licensed distillery. Varying dates are given as to the founding of the distillery, but all are predated by an article in the Aberdeen Journal on the 1st December 1785, which announced the first distillation of spirit at the site. Glen Garioch (pronounced ‘Glen Geery’) lies at the village of Old Meldrum in Aberdeenshire. The distillery buildings sit huddled on a little outcrop flecked with heather gorse and grasses and surrounded by barley pastures - it is said that some of the best barley in Scotland is to be found there.
Having changed hands many times over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Glen Garioch distillery was shut down in 1968. Stanley P Morrison acquired the distillery two years later. In 1973, following extensive renovations, production resumed. The whisky produced was much more reminiscent of traditional Highland single malts, this was due in part to the floor maltings at the distillery and the malt maker’s schooling on Islay, where he learnt the joys of peated whiskies. At a time when the Islay malt whiskies were very fashionable, Glen Garioch’s new, robust character did much for the fortunes of the distillery. The floor maltings were decommissioned in 1979, though recently there has been much talk of using them once more.
Today, the distillery is under the Japanese Suntory ownership, after they acquired Morrison Bowmore in 1994. Glen Garioch currently runs at three quarters of capacity, producing around 700,000 litres per annum and selling roughly one third of this yearly, much being exported for the Asian market. There are several house bottlings, as well as a few exotic finishes and a handful of independent expressions.