At Scotland’s smallest distillery three men still makes whisky by hand. At Edradour the original equipment used over 150 years has remained unchanged. Just twelve casks of whisky are produced every week - you really have to be lucky to get a bottle of this rare single malt.
The last original farm distillery in Perthshire, Edradour nestles in a glen of the hills above Pitlochry in the Southern Highlands. The breathtaking scenic surroundings of the distillery that was built in the early nineteenth century have remained unchanged in the last 170 years. The whitewashed buildings with red doors are very picturesque and Victorian. Inside the distillery too very little has changed. They still use the same wooden equipment to mash and ferment the whisky as in the past.
Edradour has the smallest copper stills as permissible by law – naturally the smallest in Scotland. The original Morton refrigerator is the only one of its type functioning in the country. It is probably the smallest legal distillery in the world. In the days when whisky distilling was literally a cottage industry a farmer cooperative to distill whisky was started at Edradour in 1825. The still was the smallest legally permissible at the time, a capacity of 40 gallons unchanged till today.
The distillery was a great success and in 1841 the cooperative was registered as ‘John McGlashan and Company’. For years the whisky was used in premium blends such as King’s Ransom made by the House of Campbell. It was only in 1986 that the precious gem was introduced to the world as a Single Malt.
The three men who now produce the unique single malt of Edradour, John Reid David Ramsbottom and James Kennedy use skills that have been handed down to them over generations. Edradour is a precious legacy they have inherited. It is a relic from the time that making malt whisky was a natural by-product of a farmer’s life.
The twelve casks produced every week are left to mature for at least ten years. The resulting whisky has an exquisitely smooth and creamy texture, with just a hint of smokiness and nutty flavor. The whisky is quite hard to locate though there are vendors all over UK. Edradour is exported to many European countries like France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Finland and Russia. It is also sold in USA, Japan, Taiwan and New Zealand.
The charming and unique Edradour Distillery is very popular with tourists on the whisky tour. Entry here is free and visitors are greeted with a wee dram. This is followed by a tour of the distillery and a description of its history. The barley peat and pure water which are the essential ingredients of Highland malt whisky are found in abundance here.