Bal­blair Dis­tillery

One of the old­est dis­til­leries of Scot­land

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Bal­blair is one of Scot­land’s twelve dis­til­leries sit­u­ated in the In­ver­ness area (north of the High­lands) and more pre­cisely close to the vil­lage of Ed­der­ton. The dis­tillery was founded in 1790 by John Ross. The dis­tillery stayed in the fam­ily un­til it was pur­chased in 1894 by Alexan­der Cowan who made his for­tune as a Wine Mer­chant. He re­built the build­ing and mod­ern­ized all pro­duc­tion tools to brings Bal­baire in the mod­ern time. He was forced, be­cause of dif­fi­cult eco­nomic times, to stop pro­duc­tion and close the dis­tillery in 1911.

Even though the dis­tillery was closed the last drop of whisky pro­duced be­fore the World War left the ware­house in 1932. In 1939 the build­ings were oc­cu­pied/com­man­deered by the army un­til 1945, may be be­cause the dis­tillery was dry. Bal­blair dis­tillery stayed closed un­til 1948 when Robert James « Ber­tie » Cum­ming bought the dis­tillery.

Dur­ing the se­cond part of the 20th cen­tury the dis­tillery changed hands sev­eral times. In 1996 Bal­blair Dis­tillery was pur­chased by the In­ver House Dis­tillers Ltd. who al­ready owned lo­cal brands as Pul­teney, Knock­dhu, Spey­burn and Bal­me­n­ach. This group fought the de­ci­sion to about bears sin­gle vin­tage Scotch Whiskies.

What is the sig­na­ture of your Whisky? Bal­blair’s sig­na­ture style is fruity, fra­grant, full bod­ied and com­plex. Achieved by not rush­ing any part of the pro­duc­tion process. Slow mash­ing, long fer­men­ta­tion, slow run­ning stills. High qual­ity casks and ma­tured in tra­di­tional dun­nage style ware­houses i.e Earthen floors, thick stone walls, low roofs and casks stowed 3 high only. Qual­ity is what we are all about – not quan­tity.The sig­na­ture notes of our Bal­blair Whiskies are fruits, vanilla and spices. Our Whiskies are full bod­ied and un-peated. Th­ese are ev­i­dent in blind tast­ing.

Bal­blair is one of the few dis­til­leries to pro­duce a sin­gle vin­tages. Bal­blair Whiskys are round, fruity, aro­matic and gen­er­ous/gour­mand.

What does Scotch Whisky mean to you?

Scotch Whisky has been my work­ing life for 28 years now. I am very proud to have been in­volved in pro­duc­ing and shar­ing a truly won­der­ful, unique drink.

Scotch is magic for me as it is an unique prod­uct and in­te­gral to the Scot­tish em­ploy­ment and econ­omy. To be in­volved in the cre­ation of some­thing that is en­joyed the world over makes me im­mensely proud. I am very lucky to have a job I love and to be work­ing with a great team who take great pride in the place they work and the whisky they make and pro­mote.

If you have to de­scribe the dis­tillery, the spirit of this place in just 3/4 words?

I would say : Beau­ti­ful, his­toric, qual­ity, proud

Where does the name of your dis­tillery come from? «Bal­blair» is a Gaelic word for bat­tle­field. It’s cer­tainly due to the nu­mer­ous Vik­ing in­va­sions suf­fered by the re­gion.

If you have to de­scribe the dis­tillery, the spirit of this place in just 3/4 words?

It is the old­est work­ing dis­tillery in the High­lands. It was es­tab­lished in 1790. We are pround to be a Star of the Ken

Loach film An­gels’ Share.

(Thank you to John Mac­Don­ald, Bal­blair Dis­tillery Man­ager)

© Bal­blair

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