The Glendronach distillery
Located on the western borders of the famous Speyside valley, just a few kilometres from the town of Huntly, Glendronach stands apart from the other distilleries in the region. Its black stone buildings, pagodas and blood-red shutters immediately draw the eye. The little stream that crosses the courtyard inside the distillery adds to its artisanal, traditional appearance.
The distillery was destroyed by a fire in 1837 before being rebuilt in 1852 and later bought by Charles Grant, the son of Glenfiddich’s founder, in 1920. Sold to William Teacher & Son in 1960, it doubled its production capacity in 1966, increasing its number of stills from two to four. Glendronach continued to malt some of its own barley until 1996 when it was mothballed. The distillery was brought back into operation on 14 May 2002 and continues to coal-fire its stills.
At the end of the 19th century, Glendronach was extremely well known. Alfred Barnard, the author of a work on the distilleries of Scotland and Ireland in 1881, described it thus: ‘Glendronach is a pure Highland Malt with a strong reputation in England and Scotland.’ Glendronach affirmed its individual character very early on by using ex-sherry casks for the ageing of its whiskies. Of this, A. Barnard commented: “We have tasted an 1878 that closely resembles a cognac,” highlighting the after-dinner qualities of this single malt. The remarkable Glendronach 12 year-old 100% sherry cask that has so far been released remains, despite its young age, faithful to the description given by A. Barnard. A rich, succulent malt that stands out for its magnificent amber colour with glints of red.
Alfred Barnard also mentioned a special warehouse capable of maturing whisky two to three times faster. According to the current director of the distillery, this magical warehouse still exists today.