Craigellachie distillery

Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The second form of sulphur comes from barley and is naturally produced during the whisky-making process. If you cut down the amount of copper available to spirit vapour the higher the sulphur levels in the new make will be. What appears to not have been understood is that this sulphur disappears in time. It acts as a marker; an indication that once its cloak has been lifted a spirit will emerge either as meaty (Cragganmore, Mortlach, Benrinnes) or fragrant (Glenkinchie, Speyburn, Balblair, AnCnoc, and Craigellachie) In other words, sulphur can be desirable.

Craigellachie revels in its sulphurous nature. The first thing you smell as you enter the distillery is the notes of cabbage and beef stock. This is rising from the worm tubs which sit at the back of the distillery. It is the small amount of copper contained within them that helps to promote this character. They also add weight to the palate of the mature spirit.

Long fermentation has however fixed fruitiness within the spirit and this tropical/floral note emerges in the mature spirit. It’s this character: full, yet aromatic which has made Craigellachie a prized malt for blending: it has been a major contributor to White Horse since the late 19th century – with the result that it had to wait until 2014 to receive its promotion to the rank of front-line malts.

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

Craigellachie History

The village of Craigellachie was an important hub in whisky’s history as it was here, in 1863, that the railway lines from Lossiemouth (north), Dufftown (south), Keith (east), and the Strathspey Railway (south west) met, allowing rail transport between Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth within the region.

Craigellachie’s distillery, however, was only built in 1890. Designed by Charles Doig, it was built with all modern conveniences with the express intention of making a lighter fruitier character than the older distilleries – one of the earliest descriptors of Craigellachie mentions pineapple as a desireable aroma.

Its owners were Sir Peter Mackie (of White Horse) and Alexander Edward who though only 25 when the distillery was built was already the lessee of Benrinnes. He also owned a local brickworks, built new villas in the growing village and, in 1896, constructed a large hotel. He would go on to build Aultmore, Dallas Dhu and Benromach.

Edward pulled out in 1900 to concentrate on those other interests, leaving Craigellachie in White Horse’s ownership. It was the core malt within Mackie’s Old Smuggler and Old Gaelic brands which were hugely successful in Australia and South Africa.

White Horse – and therefore Craigellachie – became part of DCL but when that firm merged with IDV in 1998, the Monopolies Board insisted that it sell off some of its estate – specifically John Dewar & Sons and five distilleries, one of which was Craigellachie. They were snapped up by Bacardi which still owns the distillery.

Timeline

  • 1863 The railway lines from Lossiemouth, Dufftown, Keith and Strathspey meet in Craigellachie for the first time
  • 1890 Charles Doig builds a modern distillery in the village for Sir Peter Mackie and Alexander Edward
  • 1896 Craigellachie Hotel built
  • 1900 Edward sells his share to Mackie, owner of White Horse Distillers
  • 1927 White Horse Distillers is bought by DCL
  • 1964 Two new stills are installed during a refurbishment
  • 1998 United Distillers sells Craigellachie, along with Aberfeldy, Aultmore and Brackla to John Dewar & Sons
  • 2014 Dewars relaunches Craigellachie as a single malt brand

Craigellachie Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
    4
  • Condenser Type i
    Worm tub
  • Fermentation Time i
    56hrs
  • Filling Strength i
    70%
  • Grist Weight (t) i
    10
  • Heat Source i
    Wash stills - pans, spirit stills - coils
  • Malt Specification i
    1-2ppm
  • Malt Supplier i
    Boortmalt Glenesk
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Steineker full Lauter
  • New-make Strength i
    70%
  • Spirit Still Charge (l) i
    21,500
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Bulb
  • Spirit Still Size (l) i
    28,185
  • Stills i
    4
  • Warehousing i
    Westhorn/Poniel
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
    23,500
  • Wash Still Shape i
    Bulb
  • Wash Still Size (l) i
    28,185
  • Washback Size (l) i
    47,000
  • Washback Type i
    Wood
  • Washbacks i
    8
  • Water Source i
    Blue Hill dam
  • Wort Clarity i
    Medium
  • Yeast Type i
    Kerry Bio Science liquid yeast

Owners

Parent company

Current owner

Previous owners

Contact

Address
Craigellachie Distillery
Craigellachie
Moray
AB38 9ST
United Kingdom
Website
Visit Website
Phone
+44 1340 872971
Visitor Opening Hours
Not open to the public

Map

See also

  • Aultmore Aultmore Aultmore Distillery & brand

    Aultmore

    One of Dewars' malt distilleries.

  • 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.

  • William Lawson's William Lawson's William Lawson's Brand

    William Lawson's

    William Lawson’s is the sixth-best-selling Scotch whisky in the world.

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