Glenkinchie cask template uploaded by Ben, 18. Mar 2015
Glenkinchie wash still uploaded by Ben, 18. Mar 2015


Glenkinchie is often known as the Edinburgh Malt, due to it’s close proximity to Scotland’s capital. It is one of the last three distilleries in the Scottish Lowlands.

Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

Glenkinchie is often known as the Edinburgh Malt, due to it’s close proximity to Scotland’s capital.  The core expression of the official bottling range is the 12 year old, although the official bottlings also include a 17 year old, 20 year old, 21 year old, as well as a series of Distiller’s Edition and series of Special Releases. There had been very few independent bottlings which are long gone from the shelves.

The Production

The distillery has a production capacity of 1.7 million litres a year.  Burns in the neighbouring Lammermuir Hills provide the water that is used in the distillation process. A fairly unique aspect of the production at Glenkinchie is that the distillery has a cast-iron worm tub that is still used to condense the freshly distilled spirit.  In contrast to regular worm tubs, which have a round shape, the one at Glenkinchie is two storeys high, with a rectangular spiral shape.  

Crude oil tanks outside the distillery.
The crude oil tanks of the Glenkinchie Distillery

The Pot Stills

Glenkinchie has always operated with only one wash still and one spirit still, each with an enormous capacity.  The wash still holds 21’000 liters, and the spirit still holds 17’200 liters. The wash still is actually the largest in Scotland.  Both the wash and spirit stills have constricting pieces in their neck, just above the lid of the pot. This constricting piece separates the vapors from heavily boiling and moving surface of the liquid. This helps to calm the vapor column in the neck of the still. The stills at Glenkinchie have a fairly unique shape, as the intermediate section is almost concave, and then opens up into a short but gradually narrowing neck.

Low wine stills in the Glenkinchie distillery.
The Pot Still of the Glenkinchie Distillery

The Maltings

The area of Scotland in which Glenkinchie is located, the Lothian’s, is famed for it’s high quality of barley. The distillery used it’s own floor maltings until 1969, since when the malt has been sourced from an industrial maltings. The building that used to house the floor maltings has now been converted into a museum of Glenkinchie’s history and malt whisky production. The maltings used are very gently peated, although Glenkinchie does not have a too smoky taste.

The Warehouse

A cask template of the Glenkinchie Distillery.Glenkinchie has three dunnage warehouses onsite, which host over 10’000 casks.  The distillery uses a variety of different casks to mature its spirit. The 14-year-old Distiller’s Edition is aged in Amontillado Sherry casks, while many of the other single malts are aged in bourbon casks.  

The History

Two brothers, John and George Rate in 1837, founded Glenkinchie although Diageo claim that there is a link between Glenkinchie and a previous distillery called Milton that was located on the same site. In 1840, James Gray, of Leechman & Gray took over operations, only for John Rate to assume control again in 1852. One year later, Rate closed the distillery due to a lack of profits, and the site was sold to a local famer named Christie, who turned it into a sawmill. 

Following this sale, Glenkinchie remained inactive for a few decades, until in 1880, when the site was bought by a consortium of distillers and wine merchants, who named themselves the Glen Kinchie Distillery Company. The distillery was reconstructed, and production resumed again successfully. In 1914, Glenkinchie formed the Scottish Malt Distillers group with four other Lowland distilleries. A little more than a decade later, in 1925, SMD was bought by Distiller’s Company Limited. Remarkably, Glenkinchie managed to continue to operate through both the World Wars. As the twentieth century drew to a close, Glenkinchie continued to undergo a series of developments. The floor maltings were closed in 1969, and converted into a museum, and two new bottlings, a 12 year old and 20 year old cask strength, were released in 2007.  

A cask template.
Inside the museum in the Glenkinchie Distillery
A look inside the museum.
Inside the museum in the Glenkinchie Distillery

Visitor’s Centre 

Yes. Glenkinchie has a well-established visitor’s centre, which offers tours of the distillery.