Glen Albyn distillery

Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Of the new distilleries founded during the late 19th century, Glen Albyn was notable for its uniquely shaped worm tubs, which were shaped into the letter D with the flat side down to cool the spirit quickly. It was also one of the first distilleries to introduce Saladin box maltings, along with its neighbour, Glen Mhor.

Unlike Glen Mhor, which was bottled as a single malt throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Glen Albyn’s whisky was mostly sold for blending. Some official bottlings were released in the 1970s, while a 26-year-old edition became part of Diageo’s Rare Malts collection in 2001. A handful of independent bottlings also exist though have become exceedingly rare.

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

Glen Albyn History

Inverness was once the chief malting town in Scotland and teemed with malt kilns and breweries, though following the agricultural revolution many of these closed down. Glen Albyn distillery was founded on the site of one of these ruined malt kilns on the banks of the Caledonian Canal Basin and the Highland Railway, which brought in peat and coal.

It was founded in 1846 by James Sutherland, provost of Inverness, who ran the distillery for six years. Following a period of disuse the site was converted into a flour mill in 1866.

Glen Albyn was given a second chance at producing spirit in 1884 when it was converted back into a distillery capable of producing 75,000 gallons of spirit a year by Grigor & Co., which passed it onto the Glenalbyn Distillery Co. in 1891.

The following year distillery manager John Birnie – who was also provost of Inverness for six years in 1910 – left to form a partnership with Leith blender Charles Mackinlay, which resulted in the construction of Glen Mhor distillery next door. This new partnership went on to acquire Glen Albyn in 1920.

Both distilleries were among the first to introduce Saladin boxes in place of floor maltings in 1954, and were picked up together in DCL’s takeover of Mackinlays & Birnie in 1972. However neither survived the market downturn of the 1980s, and both plants were closed in 1983 along with other DCL distilleries such as Brora, Banff and Dallas Dhu.

Both Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor were later demolished to make way for superstores.

Timeline

  • 1846 Glen Albyn distillery is founded on the site of an old mill
  • 1847-52 The distillery is licensed to James Sutherland, provost of Inverness
  • 1866 After laying idle, the distillery is transformed into a flour mill
  • 1884 The mill is converted back into a distillery by Grigor & Co.
  • 1891 The distillery ownership is transferred to Glenalbyn Distillery Co.
  • 1917-19 The distillery is used as a US naval base for mine manufacturing
  • 1920 Glen Albyn is acquired by Mackinlays & Birnie, which operates the adjacent Glen Mhor distillery
  • 1954 Saladin boxes are installed to replace the floor maltings
  • 1972 DCL buys out Mackinlays & Birnie, assuming control of Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor
  • 1983 Glen Albyn is closed along with Glen Mhor

Owners

Current owner

Previous owners

Contact

Address
Glen Albyn Distillery
Great North Road
Inverness
Inverness-shire
IV3 5LU
United Kingdom
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See also

  • Glen Mhor Glen Mhor Glen Mhor Distillery & brand

    Glen Mhor

    When it can be found, Glen Mhor is a punchy, meaty malt.

  • Auchroisk Auchroisk Auchroisk Distillery & brand

    Auchroisk

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

  • 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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