The Aberlour distillery
The village of Aberlour produces two Scottish specialities that go beautifully together: shortbread and whisky. At the far end of the village, tucked away at the back of a tiny glen, protected from the road, the distillery can easily be missed, if it weren’t for its name inscribed in red on the gate. Aberlour is said to be located at an ancient druid site at the meeting point of the rivers Spey and Lour (‘bubbling brook’ in Gaelic). The water that streams down the slopes of Mount Benrinnes, descending into the Lour Valley, is filtered through thick layers of peat before arriving at the distillery. This water is particularly soft and undergoes no treatment. The distillery was almost entirely rebuilt in 1898 following a serious fire. Purchased and enlarged by Campbell Distillers in 1945, it was partially renovated in 1973, with the number of stills rising from two to four.
Since 1974, Aberlour has significantly expanded its range and seen its popularity rise. Featuring blends that are characterized to varying degrees by ageing in sherry barrels (and wholly in the case of A’bunadh), Aberlour less frequently uses former bourbon barrels. All feature the aniseed fragrance that rises from the nearby river: the banks are carpeted in musky chervil!
Perhaps because it was founded by a philanthropist, Aberlour has invested substantially in its visitors’ centre. The Fleming Rooms are named after the founder James Fleming, who built an orphanage and concert hall for the village, the local history of which is showcased in an exhibition. Visitors can also fill their own valinch (a 50cl bottle) directly from a specially chosen sherry or bourbon barrel.