Aberlour Distillery of Campbell Distillers
The original Aberlour Distillery was believed to be founded by John and James Grant in Aberlour, Banffshire in 1826. Officially, though, it is recorded as being built in1879 by James Fleming about a mile from the original site in Speyside. Aberlour means ‘mouth of the chattering burn’ in Gaelic. The distillery was taken over in 1892 by R. Thorne and Sons who enlarged it to a great degree. Unfortunately there was a fire in 1898 and it had to be rebuilt. This was done under the supervision of Scotland’s leading distillery designer, Charles Doig of Elgin.
It became Campbell Distillery when it was purchased by S Campbell and Sons and expanded further in 1966. Two more stills were added in 1974 bringing the total to four. S Campbell and Sons was taken over by Pernod Ricard. Aberlour Distillery is today a subsidiary of Campbell Distillery which is part of Pernod Ricard.
From its early days the distillery was regarded as one of the most modern. It was noted for its cleanliness and attention to detail. Water at a distillery is like its life-line and Aberlour gets its from St. Drostan’s well, a spring on Ben Rinnes. The crystal-clear spring water makes its way along the Lour valley to the distillery. The water is very soft and it is used in its pristine form. Only as much as is required for each batch of whiskey production is drawn off from the springs.
Aberlour Single Highland Malt whiskeys are aged from 10 to 30 years. The flavors differ according to the age and kind of cask used. Aberlour Single Malt 10 Year Old Scotch Whiskey is a typical Speyside Single Malt. It is matured in a combination of sherry and bourbon oak casks for at least ten years. The 15 Year Old is a gentle mellow drink that has been matured for a minimum of fifteen years in a combination of sherry and bourbon oak casks then finished in new oloroso sherry casks. Others in this range are the 18, 21 and 30 year old whiskeys.
A rather special whiskey is the Aberlour Abunadh, a natural single cask strength malt whiskey. It is a replica of the malt whiskey of the old days, and is bottled directly from specially selected sherry casks without any modern filtering methods. Aberlour Special Reserve is another unique and intense malt whiskey, matured only in Oloroso Sherry casks. Only 40 casks were bottled for the French market at the unusual strength of 45% ABV. Other prized Aberlour products are Aberlour 1076 Vintage a twenty-two year old Scotch, Aberlour Antique, Aberlour 100 proof and Aberlour Distiller’s Selection of 1988.
Some other premium whiskeys from this distillery are available from independent bottlers, who specialize in limited editions of rare, premium single malt whiskeys. These are matured in specially selected casks and bottled at a different age from the usual production. They include Cadenhead’s and Whiskey Galore. The Visitors Center tour at Aberlour is an experience in nosing and tasting. It gives you an opportunity to hand fill your own bottle with personalized labels.