Aberfeldy distillery

Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

A thick, almost waxy texture (though not as overt as in DCL days) adds some weight to the mid-palate, allowing long-term maturation. The bulk of the new make is aged in ex-Bourbon casks, but the occasional Sherried release shows that this is a malt which has guts.

  • Region
    Highland
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status
    Working

Aberfeldy History

John Dewar & Sons was typical of many of the blending firms which were founded in the 19th century. Dewar himself, though born in humble surroundings in a croft at Shenvail, became a wine merchant in Perth and by the middle of the century had started to blend whisky. It was however his sons, John Jr. and Thomas (always known as Tommy), who made the family firm a globally recognised name.

In the 1890s, they decided to go into whisky production and built a distillery at Aberfeldy, only two miles from where their father had been born. The site had originally been a brewery and some distillation had taken place in the early part of the century. Fed by the Pitilie Burn [where gold is still panned] Aberfeldy became the malt at the heart of the firm’s blends. A private railway line linked the plant with the firm’s operational hub in Perth.

Dewar’s joined DCL in 1925 and in 1973 the Aberfeldy site doubled in capacity to its present size. It changed ownership in 1998, when the UK Monopolies Board forced the newly formed Diageo to offload one of its brands and attendant capacity. The Dewar’s estate [the blends, plus Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie and Royal Brackla] were bought for £1.1bn by Bacardi-Martini.

The new owners invested heavily in a highly impressive educational facility - Dewar’s World of Whisky - which tells the story of the house of Dewar - and blending.

In more recent times, Aberfeldy has been sold in small quantities as single malt and in 2014 was repackaged. A new, permanent, five-strong range is to be created.  

Timeline

  • 1896 John Dewar & Sons begin construction of the Aberfeldy Distillery just yards from the Pitilie Burn, which has remained the source of its water.
  • 1917 The distillery is forced to close for two years to conserve stocks of barley for food rations at the end of World War One.
  • 1925 The Dewar’s company merged with John Walker & Son and Buchanan’s to form the Distillers’ Company Ltd (DCL).
  • 1973 Aberfeldy is rebuilt to double its production capacity with two new stills.
  • 1998 The distillery was purchased from Diageo by Bacardi
  • 1999 Aberfeldy became a single malt whisky brand in its own right with the launch of Aberfeldy 12 Year Old. Up until this point, all liquid was reserved for the Dewar’s blend.
  • 2000 Dewar’s was given an official home at the distillery with the opening of the Dewar’s World of Whisky visitor’s centre.
  • 2014 John Dewar’s & Sons unveils a new packaging design for Aberfeldy single malt.

Aberfeldy Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
    2.7
  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
    65-85hrs
  • Grist Weight (t) i
    7.5
  • Heat Source i
    Steam supplied from HFO boiler
  • Malt Specification i
    Plain malt, zero phenols
  • Malt Supplier i
    Simpsons
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Lauter
  • Spirit Still Charge (l) i
    15,121
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Onion
  • Spirit Still Size (l) i
    15,121
  • Stills i
    2 wash, 2 spirit
  • Warehousing i
    Westhorn/Poniel
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
    16,600
  • Wash Still Shape i
    Onion
  • Wash Still Size (l) i
    16,600
  • Washback Charge (l) i
    33,500
  • Washback Type i
    8 wooden, 2 steel
  • Washbacks i
    10
  • Water Source i
    Pitilie Burn
  • Wort Clarity i
    Clear
  • Yeast Type i
    Liquid - MS1

Owners

Parent company

Current owner

Previous owners

Contact

Address
Aberfeldy Distillery
Aberfeldy
Perthshire
PH15 2EB
United Kingdom
Website
Visit Website
Phone
+44 1887 822000
Visitor Opening Hours
Monday
10am to 4pm (Nov-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Oct)
Tuesday
10am to 4pm (Nov-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Oct)
Wednesday
10am to 4pm (Nov-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Oct)
Thursday
10am to 4pm (Nov-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Oct)
Friday
10am to 4pm (Nov-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Oct)
Saturday
10am to 4pm (Nov-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Oct)
Sunday
Noon to 4pm (Apr-Oct only)

Map

See also

  • Aultmore Aultmore Aultmore Distillery & brand

    Aultmore

    One of Dewars' malt distilleries.

  • Craigellachie Craigellachie Craigellachie Distillery & brand

    Craigellachie

    Late 19th century distillery designed by Charles Doig, now owned by John Dewar & Sons.

  • Macduff Macduff Macduff Distillery & brand

    Macduff

    Distillery producing the Deveron malt.

  • Dewar's Dewar's Dewar's Brand

    Dewar's

    Blended Scotch developed in the 1860s.

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