Nestled deep in the beautiful Spey valley, Ballindalloch Castle has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546. The latest addition to the range of activities offered at Ballindalloch is Scotland’s first Single Estate Distillery.
Ballindalloch Distillery began production in September 2014 and is the culmination of nearly three years of planning, renovation, repair and construction. Located in a farm steading dating back to the 1820s, the distillery represents the return to whisky making for the Macpherson-Grants.
Using a 19th century building presented its own challenges and the family were very keen to ensure that local trades and craftsmen we used wherever possible. From the builders and stonemasons to the joiners, electricians and slaters, nearly everyone is based within 20 miles of the distillery. Without exception, these craftsmen have delivered the highest standard of workmanship and they carry a genuine sense of pride in the finished building. This coupled with the use of Forsyths Coppersmiths in Rothes for the delivery of the distillery equipment, means that the building has drawn together the best of local resource. Some of the team will also work on a second warehouse, three miles from the distillery.
The distillery employs directly three people, including Master Distiller Charlie Smith and Distillery Assistant Colin Poppy. No automation is involved in making the whisky, with every stage using the most traditional methods possible. The team is completed by Distillery Host Brian Robinson who will look after guests to the distillery.
The distillery was opened this autumn following a three year multi-million pound project, which included a grant of up to £1.27million from the Scottish Government.
Guy Macpherson-Grant, of Ballindalloch Estate, said: “Sitting in the heart of Speyside, the whisky industry is vital to the local economy in terms of jobs and investment.
“The realisation of the distillery would not have been possible without the hard work and the dedication of our employees and the tradesmen from the local area who have invested as much care and effort in this venture as the family has.
“Although many will associate our family name with the distillery, it has been a real community effort. The Estate has facilitated the project but the partnership between the Estate and the community has brought real benefits to both, and it is one that will continue in future months and years.
“As always, we are looking to see in what new ways we can develop our partnership with the Ballindalloch community even further. The whisky has started production but is not yet on the shelves; once it is, we can assess how we can create new jobs and expand production further whilst still staying true to our manual production methods. We are also looking into filling a cask for the community that will be bottled in due course for the benefit of local good causes. In the meantime, we will work tirelessly to ensure that all can be proud of the project as our whisky journey continues.”