Fettercairn distillery

Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Fettercairn has a traditional distillery set-up with an open-topped mash tun (producing cloudy wort), wooden washbacks and small stills. There are even soap grinders on the sides of the wash stills. These would have been used to add non-perfumed soap as a surfactant to stop the stills boiling over. Everything points to a firm, quite heavy, nutty style. This was exacerbated between 1995 to 2009 when the condensers were made of stainless steel. This added a slightly burnt, pot ale character to the new make. The single malt is aged mostly in first-fill American oak – some new wood is also in the mix – to add a balancing sweetness.

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

Fettercairn History

One of the main attractions of Laurencekirk, the village nearest to Fettercairn, is a huge, ostentatious red sandstone archway spanning the road that commemorates the visit to the village of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1861. Fettercairn has similarly grand pretensions. It was founded in 1825 by the local landowner Sir Alexander Ramsay, who then sold his estate, distillery and all, in 1830 to Sir John Gladstone, father of four-time British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. Although the Gladstone family were hands-off owners (fun though it is to imagine ‘The People’s William’ getting to grips with distillation). Allowing the distillery to be run by tenants, they retained ownership until 1923. A short period (mostly in mothballs) under the control of Ross & Coulter ended when it was sold to Associated Scottish Distilleries [the Scotch arm of National Distillers of America which, at its height, owned Bruichladdich, Glenury-Royal, Glen Esk, Glenlochy, Benromach and Strathdee].

When ASD ceased trading in 1954, its estate was split up and Fettercairn ended up in private hands. Its new owner, Mr Tom Scott Sutherland, had the distillery until 1971 when it was bought by Tomintoul-Glenlivet and from there it joined Whyte & Mackay.

Although mainly a contributor to the firm’s blends, it has long been bottled as a single malt. A more concerted effort started in 2009 when a range of aged variants and a pair of no-age bottlings, Fior and Fasque (the name of the Fettercairn estate), was released.

Timeline

  • 1825 Fettercairn built by local landowner Sir Alexander Ramsay
  • 1830 Ramsay sells the estate and distillery to Sir John Gladstone
  • 1887 The distillery is forced to close following a fire
  • 1923 The distillery is sold to Ross & Coulter
  • 1926 Fettercairn is temporarily closed
  • 1939 The distillery is acquired by Associated Scottish Distillers who reignite the stills
  • 1954 ASD stops trading and Fettercairn is sold to Tom Scott Sutherland
  • 1966 With demand strong, Fettercairn's stills are increased from two to four
  • 1971 Fettercairn is sold to Tomintoul-Glenlivet
  • 1973 The company is bought by Whyte & Mackay
  • 1989 The distillery's visitors' centre officially opens to the public
  • 2007 United Spirits buys Whyte & Mackay
  • 2014 Whyte & Mackay is sold to Emperador

Fettercairn Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
    2.2
  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
    Minimum 48hrs
  • Filling Strength i
    63.5%
  • Grist Weight (t) i
    5
  • Heat Source i
    Steam
  • Malt Specification i
    Some heavily peated produced – 55ppm
  • Malt Supplier i
    Various
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Traditional
  • New-make Strength i
    69%
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Lampglass
  • Stills i
    4
  • Warehousing i
    30,000 casks – all dunnage
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
    13,000
  • Wash Still Shape i
    Lampglass
  • Washback Charge (l) i
    25,000
  • Washback Size (l) i
    25,000
  • Washback Type i
    Wood
  • Washbacks i
    8
  • Water Source i
    Spring
  • Wort Clarity i
    Clear
  • Yeast Type i
    Various

Owners

Parent company

Current owner

Previous owners

  • The Tomintoul Glenlivet Distillery 1971 - 1973
  • Tom Scott Sutherland 1954 - 1971
  • Associated Scottish Distillers 1939 - 1954
  • James Mann 1927 - 1939
  • Ross & Coulter 1923 - 1927
  • The Gladstone Family 1830 - 1923
  • Sir Alexander Ramsay 1825 - 1830

Contact

Address
Fettercairn Distillery
Distillery Road
Fettercairn
Aberdeenshire
AB30 1YB
United Kingdom
Website
Visit Website
Phone
+44 1561 340244
Visitor Opening Hours
Monday
10am to 6pm (Easter-Sept)
Tuesday
10am to 6pm (Easter-Sept)
Wednesday
10am to 6pm (Easter-Sept)
Thursday
10am to 6pm (Easter-Sept)
Friday
10am to 6pm (Easter-Sept)
Saturday
10am to 6pm (Easter-Sept)
Sunday
Closed

Map

See also

  • Dalmore Dalmore Dalmore Distillery & brand

    Dalmore

    Whyte & Mackay's Highlands distillery.

  • Jura Jura Jura Distillery & brand

    Jura

    Cult malt from the island of Jura.

  • Invergordon Invergordon Invergordon Distillery & brand

    Invergordon

    W&M’s Highlands grain distillery.

  • Ben Wyvis Ben Wyvis Ben Wyvis Distillery & brand

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