Glen Ord Distillery

History - The distillery was founded by Thomas Mackenzie in 1838 in the Black Isle – a peninsula of rich, dark loam which is perfect for growing barley. The MacKenzie family owned the distillery and brand on and off for almost 100 years until it was purchased by whisky giants John Dewar & Sons who later joined forces with other whisky companies that would later become global spirits company Diageo who still on the distillery today.

The Whisky – The profile of Glen Ord is true to its highland location. Highland single malts are known for their fruity, honeyed and malty flavours and aromas.

Favourite Dram - Glen Ord 12 year old was a pretty popular dram around Europe, especially during the 90’s when single malt started to become more popular. It was a shock to many of its fans when they decided to stop selling the 12 year old and focus on selling its liquids for use in many of the worlds most popular blends. You can still get your hands on some delicious independent bottling such as the Glen Ord 2004 from Douglas Laing's Old Particular series, although these are pretty hard to get your hands on. Which has hints of smoke alongside spice and warm malts. If had to choose then i would opt for The Singleton of Glen Ord 18 year old which is a beautiful example from the distillery which you can pick up for around £88.

Geek Alert - There are only several distilleries that still malt there barley on-site and even then it will be a fraction of what they finally use in there final product. Luckily for Glen Ord they have a large malting factory next door. The Glen Ord Maltings supply not only themselves but many of the Diageo distilleries. Most distilleries have to outsource the malting of barley due to the volume needed for there production of whisky.

Why Visit? – Most of the old distillery has been replaced with new building and equipment back in 2010 but this does not take away from this being a authentic and informative distillery experience. It is one of the best laid out distilleries as far as understanding the process that i have been to. They offer 6 tours here ranging from the standard Glen Ord Tour for £8 which gets you a tour of Glen Ord Distillery, finishing off with a complimentary taste of The Singleton of Glen Ord 12 year old to the Grain to Glass Tour which gives a unique opportunity to see a working Drum Maltings. Followed by a tour of the distillery and a taste of 6 different whiskies. Advanced booking only at the cost of £100.

Interesting fact – The distillery is located in a part of Scotland called The Black Isle. Contrary to its name, the Black Isle is not an island. It is in fact a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by expanses of water, with the Cromarty Firth to the north, the Beauly Firth to the south and the Moray Firth to the east. From Inverness, it’s reachable by crossing the Kessock Bridge.

Follow me on twitter @andydrink or on Facebook