Glen Ord

Thomas Mackenzie founded Glen Ord distillery in 1838. Clan MacKenzie has featured heavily in the history and development of the Glen Ord distillery. The distillery lies in the Muir of Ord in the Norther Highlands.

Information about the Distillery
52 Bottles
Scotland, Northern Highlands
-4.476220 57.523290
Active
Diageo
3 x 17,000 l
Normal
3 x 16,000 l
Normal
8 x 60,000 l
12 t
1838
3,000,000 l
Average Tasting Notes Calculated from 22 Tasting Notes
Nosing
Sweet
Fruit
Malt
Spices
Caramel
Dried Fruit
Vanilla
Chocolate
Grass
Honey
Sherry
Lemon
Nuts
Oak
Peat Smoke
Apple
Orange
Heather
Leather
Ginger
Clove
Cinnamon
Alcohol
Herbs
Salt
Barley
Hay
Pepper
Green Apple
Floral
Hazelnut
Wheat
Oil
Cherry
Peach
Cake
Tasting
Fruit
Spices
Oak
Sweet
Malt
Peat Smoke
Caramel
Honey
Sherry
Chocolate
Orange
Dark Chocolate
Oil
Ginger
Chili
Lemon
Vanilla
Nuts
Raisin
Leather
Tobacco
Alcohol
Finish
Spices
Malt
Oak
Fruit
Chocolate
Oil
Sherry
Lemon
Apple
Raisin
Dark Chocolate
Leather
Caramel
Ginger
Alcohol
Sweet
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

The vast majority of bottlings from the Northern Highland distillery of Glen Ord, which lies just on the “Black Isle”, are already gone. This range of official bottlings produced by the distillery did include a 12 year-old, 15 year-old, 18 year-old, 25 year old, 32 year old and a 36 year old. These older bottlings are hard to source today; with the key feature of the distillery’s official bottlings is the 12-year old bottling. Since 2007, 12-year old Glen Ord has also been released under Diageo’s “Singleton” brand of malts, orientated towards the Asian market. Independent bottlings performed at the distillery are even harder to come by. Douglas Laing and Signatory Vintage have performed the majority of independent bottlings available on the market today. Douglas Laings’ range of bottlings includes an 11 year old, 14 year old and 21 year old. Signatory’s bottlings have been on the younger side, principally featuring a 14 year old and 16 year old. About 80% of the single malt produced at Glen Ord is used in the blending of the Dewar and Johnnie Walker brands.

The Production

Glen Ord is Diageo’s fourth largest distillery in Scotland. It’s production capacity sits at a very impressive 5 million litres of alcohol a year.  The water used in the process is drawn from Loch nam-Bannach and Loch nam Euan.  

The Pot Stills

Glen Ord’s six pot stills are the driving force of the distillery. The stillroom is filled with three wash stills and three spirit stills. The three wash stills each have a capacity of 17’000 litres, while the spirit stills have a slightly smaller capacity, at 16’000 litres. The wash stills are pear-shaped, being shorter that your average still, with a very broad tapering neck and wide spherical lid. The spirit stills have a flat pear shape, with a wide spherical lid, like a normal pear-shaped still, but with a flat top. 

The pot stills of the Glen Ord distillerie.
The Pot Stills of the Glen Ord Distillery

Maltings

The Black Isle, the area north of Inverness where Glen Ord is located, is famed as being one of the finest sources of barley in all of Scotland.  Bearing this in mind, it isn’t so surprising that Glen Ord is one of only a handful of Scotch distilleries that still possesses on-site maltings. The distillery’s maltings capacity stands at 36’000 tonnes a year, and currently produces maltings for other Diageo-owned distilleries. The distillery used floor maltings until 1961, when a Saladin box was installed. Seven years later, an automatic drum maltings was also installed at the distillery, and was used alongside the Saladin box until the latter was decommissioned in 1983. The maltings used in the production of Glen Ord are unpeated. 

Warehouse

Due to its high level of production, Glen Ord distillery has a complex of warehouses on-site.  The old warehouses are quite a sight, having been blackened by decades of evaporating alcohol. Half of the casks used at the distillery are American White Oak, with the other half being Oloroso Sherry.  

A look inside one warehouse.
Inside the warehouse of the Glen Ord Distillery

History

Thomas Mackenzie founded Glen Ord distillery in 1838. Clan MacKenzie has featured heavily in the history and development of the Glen Ord distillery. King Alexander III of Scotland granted the land on which the distillery sits, which Thomas MacKenzie inherited, to the MacKenzie family as early as 1263. Thomas MacKenzie licensed the distillery to Ord Distillery Company.  The ownership of the distillery passed to Robert Johnstone and D. McLennan. A few years into production, Johnstone took complete control of the distillery, but soon ran into financial difficulties. In 1847 he went bankrupt, and Glen Ord was put up for sale. 

The distillery lay silent until 1855, when Alexander McLennan and Thomas McGregor purchased it. Production at the distillery resumed successfully, and McLennan’s widow assumed the management of the distillery after his death in 1870.  In 1877, fate intervened in the history of Glen Ord, as it passed back to the MacKenzie clan through the re-marriage of McLennan’s widow to Alexander MacKenzie. Sadly, soon after their marriage, much of the distillery was destroyed in a fire. After Alexander MacKenzie died in 1896, Glen Ord was sold to James Watson & Co. In 1923, Glen Ord changed hands again, this time to Dewars, marking the beginning of the use of their single malt in the blend.  Glen Ord survived a series of other mergers, eventually landing in the possession of DCL. In 1966, the distillery was renovated and expanded, with the number of stills increasing from 2 to 6. In 1985 Glen Ord was acquired by United Distillers & Vintners, who became part of Diageo a decade later. 

The museum in the Glen Ord distillerie.
The museum of the Glen Ord Distillery

Visitor’s Centre

Glen Ord’s visitor centre has an excellent reputation, and includes a tour of the distillery itself and houses a museum

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