Glen Ord distillery

Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The aroma of Glen Ord’s new make spirit – which smells like a freshly cut lawn – is created by having clear wort, long fermentation, a high cut point and copper rich distillation. By keeping the water in the shell and tube condensers hot the ‘conversation’ between vapour and copper is extended. The actual condensing takes place in after-coolers. A sweet toffee undertone, and gingery spice are added through maturation when the low levels of peat smoke also reveal themselves.

  • Region
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status
  • Brands produced here
    The Singleton

Glen Ord History

The Black Isle was noted for being the site of Ferintosh, the four-strong distillery site which the Forbes family was allowed to operate on a dry free basis from 1688 to 1784 as a reward for supporting the Hanoverian kings. By the early 19th century, it had become the heartland of distillation, with moonshiners sharing the land with nine licensed sites.

The distillery at Muir of Ord was built later, in 1838, by the local laird Thomas MacKenzie, who then leased it out to a succession of owners who ran it with varying degrees of success. Things stabilised in 1896 when the Dundee-based blenders Jas. Watson took charge and expanded the site. Watson’s then sold it on to Dewar’s in 1923 and two years later was absorbed into the greater DCL (Diageo) estate.

It is one of only three distilleries currently which are self-sufficient in their malt requirements [the others are Roseisle and Springbank]. Its original floor maltings were replaced with Saladin boxes in 1961, which in turn were removed when the large drum maltings was built in 1968. Today it produces malt for all of Diageo’s northern plants, Talisker and, on occasion, makes heavily peated malt for Islay.

A recent rise in demand (from blenders and as single malt) has seen Glen Ord expanding twice. The first phase saw capacity rise to 5m LPA and a second (completed in 2014) saw that double to 10m LPA.

It has been available as single malt since the 1980s, although under a confusion of different names: Glen Ord, Glenordie, Ordie, Ord, and Muir of Ord. Diageo has now plumped for Singleton of Glen Ord and is promoting it heavily in the Asian market. 


  • 1838 Thomas Mackenzie founds the Glen Ord distillery
  • 1847 Mackenzie places the distillery on the market
  • 1855 Glen Ord is bought by Alexander MacLennan and Thomas McGregor
  • 1870 MacLennan dies and his widow (and her new husband, Alexander Mackenzie) takes over the running of the distillery
  • 1878 Mackenzie builds a new still house but it burns to the ground almost immediately
  • 1882 The Glenoran name is registered for whisky produced at Glen Ord
  • 1896 The distillery is sold to James Watson & Co following Mackenzie's death
  • 1923 Glen Ord is sold to John Dewar & Sons; the whisky's name is changed back to Glen Ord
  • 1925 Dewar's becomes a part of CL
  • 1961 Glen Ord's maltings are abandoned and a Saladin box installed
  • 1966 A further two stills are installed, bringing Glen Ord up to six
  • 1983 Malting at Glen Ord stops entirely
  • 1988 The Glen Ord visitors' centre opens
  • 2002 Glen Ord 12 Year Old launches
  • 2006 The distillery's whisky is bottled as The Singleton of Glen Ord for the first time as a 12 year old
  • 2010 The Singleton of Glen Ord 15 Year Old is released in Taiwan
  • 2013 The Singleton of Glen Ord Trinité, Liberté and Artisan are released in travel retail

Glen Ord Facts

  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
  • Filling Strength i
  • Grist Weight (t) i
  • Heat Source i
  • Malt Specification i
    Lightly peated
  • Malt Supplier i
    Mainly in house
  • Mash Tun Type i
  • New-make Phenol Level i
    Lightly peaty
  • New-make Strength i
  • Spirit Still Charge (l) i
  • Spirit Still Shape i
  • Stills i
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
  • Wash Still Shape i
  • Washback Type i
    8 wood, 2 steel
  • Washbacks i
  • Water Source i
    Loch Nam Bonnach, Loch Nan Eun
  • Wort Clarity i
  • Yeast Type i


Current owner

Previous owners

  • United Distillers 1986 - 1997
  • Distillers Company Limited 1925 - 1986
  • John Dewar & Sons 1923 - 1925
  • James Watson & Son 1896 - 1923
  • Alexander MacKenzie 1870 - 1896
  • Alexander McLennan 1868 - 1870
  • Thomas McGregor and Alexander McLennan 1855 - 1868
  • Robert Johnston and Donald McLennan 1847 - 1855
  • Thomas MacKenzie 1838 - 1847


Glen Ord Distillery
Muir of Ord
United Kingdom
+44 1463 872004
Visitor Opening Hours
10am to 4pm (Nov-Feb), 5pm (Mar-Oct)
10am to 4pm (Nov-Feb), 5pm (Mar-Oct)
10am to 4pm (Nov-Feb), 5pm (Mar-Oct)
10am to 4pm (Nov-Feb), 5pm (Mar-Oct)
10am to 4pm (Nov-Feb), 5pm (Mar-Oct)
10am to 4pm (Nov-Feb), 5pm (Mar-Oct)
Noon to 4pm (Nov-Feb), 5pm (Mar-Oct)


See also

  • Auchroisk Auchroisk Auchroisk Distillery & brand


    One of Diageo’s ‘nutty-spicy’ sites.

  • Benrinnes Benrinnes Benrinnes Distillery & brand


    A highly individual Speyside whisky.

  • Blair Athol Blair Athol Blair Athol Distillery & brand

    Blair Athol

    The home of Bell's blended whisky.

  • Caol Ila Caol Ila Caol Ila Distillery & brand

    Caol Ila

    Islay distillery belonging to Diageo.

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