Glendronach was founded in the year 1826 by James Allardes. It is located near the city of Huntly in the Scottish Speyside.
The Speyside distillery of Glendronach has quite an extensive range of official bottlings for enthusiasts to choose from. Their collection includes a 12 year old, 15 year old, 18 year old, 21 year old, 24 year old, a Cask Strength bottling, and Wood Finishes Bottlings. The range is relatively new, having been started with the relaunch of the 12 year old Original in 2009, which was accompanied by the return of the 15 and 18 year old bottlings. There aren’t too many independent bottlings at the distillery, although there have been a few by Whisky Galore and Signatory Vintage.
Glendronach has a long history of being associated with the Teachers and Ballantine blends, in which it is still a major component today. When Pernod Ricard acquired the site, Glendronach was also used as a component in Chivas Regal, although this relationship has since been suspended.
The distillery’s production capacity, standing at 1.3 million liters, is relatively small, especially in comparison to its other Speyside neighbors. The distillery draws its water from the Dronach burn, which lies in the site’s grounds. Along with Glenfarcas and Springback, Glendronach was one of the last distilleries in Scotland to cease using the method of coal firing its stills, which is a pretty impressive feat.
Glendronach has two wash stills and two spirit stills. The wash stills both have a capacity of 13’635 liters, while both the spirit stills have a capacity of 6’800 liters. Both the wash and the spirit stills have reflux bowls located within the intermediate section of the stills, which increases the quality of the raw whisky. The stills all have a traditional Speyside shape, with a wide, rounded spherical lid, and tall conical neck.
As well as being one of the last distilleries to coal-fire their pot stills, Glendronach was also one of the last distilleries to stop using their own floor maltings, only decommissioning them in 1996. The distillery also used coal and peat to dry the malted barley. Because Glendronach used this combination, the spirit that was distilled was relatively peaty for a Speyside single malt. Since it’s mothballing in 1996, the distillery has bought unpeated maltings from an industrial source, which has therefore altered its taste.
Glendronach has six on-site warehouses, three dunnage and three racked. The distillery only uses sherry casks of extremely high quality to age its single malt. Immediately after Ricard’s take-over of the site, the distillery began to use ex-bourbon casks, which caused an outrage among Glendronach fans. More recently the distillery has returned to using sherry casks, as Glendronach purists worldwide breathe sighs of relief.
A consortium headed by James Allardice in 1826 founded Glendronach. Just one century after production launched, most of the distillery was destroyed in a fire. After the rebuild, Water Scott took control of the distillery in 1852. Following Walter Scott’s death in 1887, Glendronach was taken over by a consortium from Leith. In 1920, Charles Grant, the son of the founder of the Glenfiddich distillery, bought Glendronach, and re-launched production three months later. Production went on successfully under the management of the Grant family for the next forty years, until William Teacher & Sons purchased the site. Teacher & Sons increased the number of stills at the site from two to four in 1966, and in 1976, a visitor’s centre was opened at the distillery. The distillery prospered and was critically acclaimed, proved by the fact that in 1991, Glendronach was chosen as one of a select few in Allied Distiller’s Caledonian Malts collection. After Allied Distillers acquired the distillery, it was mothballed.
Fortunately, production was re-launched in 2002. More recently, the distillery has returned to its roots, becoming an independent distillery again in 2008, when the site was bought by the Benriach Company. Under its new management, Glendronach has continued to go from strength to strength, embracing its traditional methods, and continuing to expand it’s range.
Glendronach has a visitor’s centre that includes a gift shop with an extensive collection of Glendronach merchandise and official bottlings. The distillery also offers a range of tours of the facilities, which have been acclaimed for their informative nature.