Balblair Distillery, Highlands

Balblair Distillery, Highlands

Balblair is the second oldest distillery in Scotland. The name is Gaelic, meaning "battlefield" or "town of the plain". The first Balblair distillery was a pot still built on Balblair farm on the estate of the Rosses of Balnagowan in the late 1790s. John Ross succeeded in making it a profitable commercial enterprise in the face of financial troubles, bad debts, competition by smugglers, and the ever-present exciseman. Ross, his sons, and grandsons operated Balblair until the end of the 19th century.

In 1894, the Ross family line petered out, and around 1894, the lease passed to one Alexander Cowan from Inverness. Cowan set about modernizing the distillery on a new site and laid out the distillery that can be seen today. Duty increases spelled the end for Cowan, and in 1911, he put everything saleable under the hammer to meet his debts. The distillery kept going with a skeleton staff until the army seized it for the Second World War.

At the end of the Second World War, the distillery was acquired by a solicitor, Robert Cumming, also owner of Old Pulteney. When Cumming retired, he sold the distillery in 1970 to Hiram Walker. In 1996, Inver House Group purchased the distillery, and today is part of the broader International Beverage Holdings.

Most of the production is used for blends of the Inver group like Hankey Bannister, MacArthur's, Glen Talloch, and Pinwinnie Royal. Every year, the distillery releases the finest examples of Balblair as vintage single malt bottlings. These exemplify the Balblair style, redolent of rich spices, dried fruits, and subtle leathery notes. Like many other distilleries, sustainability is an increasing focus, and Balblair installed a thermal vapor recompression system in the summer of 2023 to minimize energy loss in the still house.

(Adapted from the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2024)

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£595.00 – bottle (70cl)
Limited availability
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Balblair, 25-Year-Old, Highland, Single Malt Scotch Whisky (46%)
46.0% Alcohol
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