North British

William Sanderson, Andrew Usher, and John M Crabbie founded North British in 1885 as a joint business venture. All of the distillery’s founders came from a background of independent blending, and wanted to expand their businesses by launching the distillery.

Information about the Distillery
39 Bottles
Scotland, Lowlands
-3.235011 55.940521
Active
1885
William Sanderson, Andrew Usher, John M. Crabbie
http://www.northbritish.co.uk/
Average tasting notes Tasting Notes
Calculated from 10 Tasting Notes
i
Nosing
Sweet:
Vanilla:
Fruit:
Malt:
Caramel:
Wheat:
Sherry:
Chocolate:
Oak:
Spices:
Peat Smoke:
Apple:
Orange:
Cinnamon:
Alcohol:
Tropical Fruit:
Zitrus:
Tasting
Sherry:
Nuts:
Malt:
Oak:
Oil:
Sweet:
Peat Smoke:
Wheat:
Fruit:
Dried Fruit:
Chocolate:
Spices:
Orange:
Raisin:
Dark Chocolate:
Pepper:
Caramel:
Alcohol:
Herb:
Zitrus:
Finish
Sweet:
Vanilla:
Oak:
Spices:
Peat Smoke:
Chili:
Herb:
Fruit:
Sherry:
Coffee:
Raisin:
Alcohol:
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

The North British grain whisky distillery has never released any official expressions, which makes tracking down the single grains a difficult undertaking. Fortunately, there have been a number of independent releases; Douglas Laing has released a 20 year old and Duncan Taylor has released a 23 year old. Many of these bottlings are extremely expensive due to their rarity; the Douglas Laing bottlings retails at about $700 a bottle. As North British is a grain whisky distillery, the majority of the spirit is used in blended whiskies.

The Entrance of the North British distillery
The Entrance of the North British distillery

The Production

The production capacity of North British Distillery stands at 12 million liters. The distillery draws the water that it uses in production from sources in the nearby Pentland Hills.

The North British distillery stillhouse
The North British distillery stillhouse

The Maltings

North British uses a combination of malted barely and maize as the core of its whisky. The maize that is used in production is brought in from South West France, and is then transported from the docks in Leith to the distillery in Edinburgh. The distillery actually used to use its own malting floors, but in 2002 the management of the site deemed that it was too much of an economic pressure to continue. Although they aren’t used today, North British was also the first distillery in Scotland to install Saladin Matlings.

The Warehouse

Combinations of oak and sherry casks are used at North British. The distillery originally had a series of dunnage warehouses, which have all been removed with the exception of Warehouse Number One, which is over 100 years old. The distilleries other warehouses are able to hold 130 million liters of alcohol.

The History

William Sanderson, Andrew Usher, and John M Crabbie founded North British in 1885 as a joint business venture. All of the distillery’s founders came from a background of independent blending, and wanted to expand their businesses by launching the distillery. The first distillation occurred at the distillery in September 1887, and business got off to a string start, so much that the demand increased year-by-year. By 1897, the Chairman of the distillery commented that “there is no whisky more popular in Scotland than North British”. During the First World War, production was suspended and part of the distillery was even converted into an ammunition factory. Production resumed at the site in 1920, and by 1925, the distillery had returned to pre-war levels.

Sadly, the distillery had only just begun its troubles. The arrival of the Prohibition era in America resulted in the loss of the majority of the exports. This hit the distillery hard, and for the next few years, the distillery suffered. Following the repealing of the Prohibition Act, the distillery returned to being profitable again. The site was forced to suspend production again during the Second World War, and then returned to its original success. In 1993, the major stakeholders, Robertson & Baxter and International Distillers & Vintners formed the joint venture company of Lothian Distillers. Today the distillery is a rare case of co-ownership between Diageo and the Erdington Group.

Visitor’s Centre

North British doesn’t has an official visitor’s centre, but the site has been known to allow enthusiasts to tour the facility, if you book in advance.  

User Notes about the Distillery

Share your experience with other whisky lovers. Write a note about your trip to the North British distillery.

Max. 2000 characters. Exceeding Characters will not be saved!
There are no user notes for this distillery yet.