Glen Albyn

Glen Albyn

Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Glen Albyn was founded in Inverness on the site of a ruined brewery / malt kilning 1846 by James Sutherland, a local landowner and Mayor of the town. Work was completed and the license awarded in 1847, but the distillery ran into difficulties (including a fire in 1849 which necessitated rebuilding work for around a year) and fell silent in 1855.

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Glen AlbynSingle Malt Scotch Whisky

It was put up for sale, but no buyer was ever found and finally it was converted into a flour mill in 1866. A new Glen Albyn was built in 1883-84 by Gregory & Co., but it is uncertain if this was on the same site as the original distillery buildings.

The new distillery was on the south bank of the canal and also had its own railway line connected to the main Highland Railway. It was quite advanced for the times and was equipped with all the latest technology, garnering enthusiastic praise from Alfred Barnard when he visited in 1885-86.

Glen Albyn was silent from 1917-1919, perhaps distracted by making submarine nets and mines for the Allied Navy, who had requisitioned the buildings for the war effort.The next moment of note for the distillery came in 1920 when John Birnie took over in partnership with Mackinlays & Co.

Birnie was a former distillery manager at Glen Albyn who had left in a huff in 1892 after being refused a share in the distillery by the then owners Gregory & Co. Birnie had immediately founded his own distillery, Glen Mhor, in partnership with John Mackinlay of Charles Mackinlay & Co, a firm of blenders from Leith. For Birnie, the acquisition of Glen Albyn from Gregory & Co - nearly thirty years after he left - must have been sweet revenge.

The distilleries stayed under the control of Mackinlays & Birnie Ltd until 1972, when both were sold by John Birnie's son William to Distiller's Company Ltd (DCL). DCL was badly hit in the slump of the early 1980s and Glen Albyn, being a small distillery with a product not highly prized by blenders, was among several to close in 1983. The buildings were demolished three years later and the site is now a shopping complex.

Glen Albyn is generally malty and dry, sometimes with a hint of smoke. A couple of official bottlings were released in the 1970s, then nothing until a Rare Malt Edition appeared in 2002. There have been a handful of independent bottlings, some of which have been very highly rated.


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