Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The first Banff was built in Inverboyndie, Speyside in 1824 by James Mckilligan & Co.and changed hands three times before closing in 1862 after ten years of ownership by James Simpson & Son. James Simpson Jr. took over the name Banff and built a new distillery on a different site the following year.

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BanffSingle Malt Scotch Whisky

​This new distillery started well, but much of the equipment and distillery buildings were destroyed by a fire in 1877. However, the warehouses and malting floor survived, and the distillery was up and running again only six months later.

The Simpson family retained full control of thedistillery until the early 1920s, but following the impact of the economic downturn the company went into liquidation in 1932 and the distillery was bought by Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD), who were themselves a part of Distillers Company Ltd (DCL, now Diageo).

Due to the prevailing poor economic climate, the distillery was immediately closed down by its owners, with only the warehouses being used to mature stock. It was still closed in 1941 when a lone German bomber took out warehouse No. 12. The resulting explosion caused the barrels of whisky to ignite and distributed hundreds of barrels of malt into the local fields, rivers and water courses, where several ducks were reported to have died from alcohol poisoning.

Supposedly the local cows were unable to be milked for several days afterwards as they were unable to stand up, and it is also reported that a fireman who saved some whisky in his helmet during the rescue operation and tried to distribute it among his colleagues was taken to court for petty pilfering.

Later it emerged that the distillery was being used as a training camp for overseas recruits to the RAF, which goes a long way to explaining why it was targeted.

The distillery was rebuilt again after the war finished, and production recommenced, but there was more drama to come. In 1959, during routine repairs, trapped fumes in a spirit still ignited, causing an explosion that destroyed the still and much of the still house. Thankfully, no-one was killed.

Banff was finally closed by DCL in 1983 during the swathe of cuts to control over-production, and was demolished bit by bit until the last remains were destroyed by yet another fire in 1991.


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