Annandale distillery

Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The modern Annandale distillery produces two types of single malt whisky, both matured in American oak barrels – an unpeated spirit that’s described as “smooth and sophisticated”, while a peated version is depicted as “strong and powerful”. The contrasting styles are a reflection of the Lowlands’ peated whisky past, and its modern reputation as a region that produces softer styles.

  • Region
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status

Annandale History

The original Annandale Distillery was built in 1830 by former Elgin-based excise officer George Donald, who named the site after the valley in which it is situated. Using water from the Middleby Burn for the whisky and the Guillielands Burn for cooling and power, the distillery produced single malt whisky for 90 years.

Donald ran the distillery until 1883 when it passed to John S. Gardner & Son, the namesake of which kept cows, pigs and horses on-site, feeding the animals on the draff and leftover grain from the distillery. Under Gardner’s tenure the distillery underwent a modest expansion, and at the height of its production was making 28,000 gallons of spirit annually.

Just 13 years later John Walker & Sons purchased the site, but the now renowned whisky group had grander ideas up its sleeve. Come 1919 the company decided to abandon Annandale to concentrate on developing its signature blended whisky, Johnnie Walker. By 1921 the distillery was closed, its fittings stripped for use elsewhere.

The site passed into the hands of the Robinson family, who were famous for producing Provost porridge oats. What was left of the distillery became a production line for the breakfast cereal brand, while the bonded warehouses were used to house cattle. The remainder of the buildings fell into a state of disrepair.

In 2007, the site was purchased by the Annandale Distillery Company, led by husband-and-wife owners David Thomson and Teresa Church, who also own market research operation, MMR Group. The duo set about painstakingly returning the site back to its former glory over a seven-year period that cost in the region of £10.5 million.

Production of two significant whisky styles began in November 2014, named Man O’ Words after the poet Robert Burns, and Man O’Sword after Scottish warrior Robert the Bruce. Casks of both are available to purchase before the spirit is mature enough to be called whisky. The Annandale Distillery Company put a price tag of £1 million on the first cask filled on 15 November 2014.


  • 1830 George Donald, a former excise officer, builds the original Annandale distillery
  • 1883 The distillery is sold to John S. Gardner & Son
  • 1887 Annandale Distillery is rebuilt and extended
  • 1896 John Walker & Sons buy the distillery for £2,000
  • 1919 John Walker & Sons mothballed the distillery after making the decision to focus on its new blend, Johnnie Walker
  • 1921 The site is officially closed and stripped of its equipment
  • 1924 The distillery is purchased by the Robinson family for the production of Provost porridge oats
  • 2007 Annandale Distillery Company purchases the site with a view to returning the distillery to its former glory
  • 2014 The distillery begins operation for the first time in 95 years

Annandale Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
  • Condenser Type i
    Copper shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
    66-96 hours
  • Filling Strength i
  • Grist Weight (t) i
  • Heat Source i
  • Malt Specification i
    Peated (45ppm) and unpeated
  • Malt Supplier i
    Bairds and Pencaitland
  • Mash Tun Material i
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Semi-lauter, domed
  • New-make Phenol Level i
  • New-make Strength i
  • Single Malt Percentage i
  • Spirit Still Charge (l) i
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Tall, slim necked, boil ball
  • Spirit Still Size (l) i
  • Stills i
    One wash, 2 spirit
  • Warehousing i
    Dunnage in two-level sandstone warehouse
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
  • Wash Still Shape i
  • Wash Still Size (l) i
  • Washback Charge (l) i
  • Washback Size (l) i
  • Washback Type i
    Douglas fir
  • Washbacks i
  • Water Source i
  • Wort Clarity i
  • Yeast Type i
    Unpeated malt uses Fermentis Safwhisky M-1 and Mauri Distillers; unpeated uses Mauri Distillers


Annandale Distillery Company logo

Current owner

  • Annandale Distillery Company 2014 - present

Previous owners

  • John Walker & Sons 1896 - 1921
  • John S Gardner 1883 - 1896
  • George Donald & Co 1830 - 1883


Annandale Distillery
Dumfries and Galloway
DG12 5LL
United Kingdom
Visit Website
+44 1461 207817
Send Email
Visitor Opening Hours
9am to 5pm
9am to 5pm
9am to 5pm
9am to 5pm
9am to 5pm
9am to 5pm
10am to 5pm


See also

  • Bladnoch Bladnoch Bladnoch Distillery & brand


    An eccentric mothballed site.

  • Port Dundas Port Dundas Port Dundas Distillery & brand

    Port Dundas

    Once Scotland's largest distillery.

  • Kingsbarns Kingsbarns Kingsbarns Distillery & brand


    A charming distillery and visitors’ centre built within an 18th century farmstead.

  • Littlemill Littlemill Littlemill Distillery & brand


    One of Scotland's oldest distilleries.

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