Glen Garioch

Glen Garioch

Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Glen Garioch was founded in 1797, making it one of Scotland's oldest distilleries still in production. The distillery is situated in the Eastern Highlands in Aberdeeenshire. Although perfectly acceptable at the normal bottling ages, Glen Garioch is renowned for its ageing potential thanks to some superlative older bottlings through the years.

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Glen GariochSingle Malt Scotch Whisky

It has been noted that some old Glen Gariochs have a distinct exotic fruit character, a characteristic it shares with fellow Suntory stablemate Bowmore. Glen Garioch is itself no stranger to peat, with the peating level varying throughout its long lifetime. Older Glen Gariochs from the 1970s seem to be the most heavily-peated, with more recent post-Suntory whiskies being generally agreed to be fruitier and less phenolic.

From the website

Glen Garioch Distillery is situated in the Aberdeenshire village of Old Meldrum in the Scottish Highlands. This region is famed for its stunning scenery, colourful tartans and is home to many distilleries, Glen Garioch being one of the oldest and most endearing.

Established in 1797, this small distillery takes its name from the Valley of the Garioch, traditionally the finest barley growing area of Scotland. There is a saying that from small beginnings come great things and this could not be more true for Glen Garioch.


John Manson (1762-1838) founder with his younger brother Alexander (1770-1847). They built Glen Garioch distillery and a brewery on the site of an old tannery which had a water supply from the Percock Hills.
Statistical Account of Meldrum written by Rev Thomas Tait states there are a distillery and brewery, lately established in it and both are in a thriving way.
December: Aberdeen Journal brief reference.
Thomas Simpson purchased both the distillery and the brewery.
Ingram, Lamb & Co became new owners and expanded the buildings.
Era of 2 names, as Glen Garioch was bought by the Strathmeldrum Distillery Company headed by John Manson Junr, son of founder, who funded his purchase. The distillery was still called Glen Garioch.
Memorandum of John Manson’s stock June 1838, shortly before his death, records£1,400 lent John Manson Junr Glen Garioch Distillery.
Inverury and Old Meldrum Junction Railway opened bringing mechanised transport. Whisky casks no longer sent to Aberdeen by ox cart.
JG Thomson & Co of Leith (principal Joseph Thomson) becomes new owner.
William Sanderson of Leith, of VAT 69 fame, purchased a 50% interest in JG Thomson & Co. Twelve men employed under manager Jimmy Shand, who starts pig farm in distillery grounds. Local peat dug.
Low volume production continued with Glen Garioch office clerk Charlie Taylor acting as town clerk. Jimmy Shand retires in 1918 aged 73.
After 35 years of Sanderson half-ownership, William Mark Sanderson, son of William Sanderson, with other investors, founded the Glengarioch Distillery Co Ltd to take 100% ownership.
Booth’s Distilleries Ltd became new owner.
Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD), part of DCL, purchased Glen Garioch.
World War II: Distillery closed and some buildings used as army dormitories. SMD restored production in peacetime.
SMD closed the distillery because of limited water source and offered it for sale.
Stanley P Morrison Ltd paid £150,000 for the distillery. Low level production resumed.
Glen Garioch becomes the first distillery in Scotland to gas fire its stills. November: Glen Garioch was first marketed in bottles. Previously only blended into brands like Bell’s, Grant’s Standfast and Drambuie. New water source is found at Coutens Farm.
Planning permission obtained for Greenhouse project to make use of waste heat.
Greenhouse project supervised by BBC Scotland’s Jim McColl attracts initial publicity. North Sea oil boom brings streams of visitors and expansion from 2 to 3 stills. Small visitor centre opened.
Glen Garioch Distillery display is part of the British Pavilion at the World Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Glen Garioch displayed a mini-distillery and greenhouse at Glasgow Garden Festival and is honoured with visits from Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher.
Greenhouse project abandoned.
July: Suntory Ltd became owner.
October: Closed.
Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd, wholly owned subsidiary of Suntory Ltd, became owner. Distillery re-opened.

Character and Style of Glen Garioch

  • Malt Malt
  • Nutmeg Nutmeg
  • Apple Apple
  • Hazelnut Hazelnut
  • Grapefruit Grapefruit

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