Blackmiddens Distillery: Archeological excavations started

The lost distillery in Cabrach was one of the first licensed farm distilleries in Scotland


At Cabrach on the A942 between Rhynie and Dufftown, archeological excavation work has begun on one of Scotland's first licensed farm distilleries. Illegal distillation had a long tradition here in the area before tenants James and Elisabeth Smith began licensed whisky production at Blackmidden in 1825, using a small 180-liter pot still. Already in 1833 Blackmiddens Distillery closed down again due to the lack of water and the farm fell into ruin. Incidentally, there is a great-grandniece of the Smiths among the excavation workers, who is looking forward to researching the history of her ancestor’s farm distillery.

The excavations are being carried out by the Cabrach Trust, founded in 2011, dedicated to the research and conservation of cultural heritage in the Cabrach area between Moray and Aberdeenshire. The trust for example acquired the Inverharroch Farm, including 170 acres of land, some time ago and will build a whisky distillery there called Cabrach Distillery, based on historical models. A museum about the former illicit distilling and smuggling is also planned. The Cabrach's Heritage Center is expected to create 10 jobs and attract 20,000 visitors a year. The Cabrach Trust is supported among others by Forestry and Land Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.

Images: The Cabrach Trust