Folowing Allardice's death the distillery was taken over by Walter Scott (a former manager of Teaninich), who ran it until his death in the 1880s. In 1920,the distillery was bought for £9000 by Charles Grant, whose father had founded Glenfiddich.
The distillery remained the property of the Grant family until 1960, when it was taken over by Teacher's (for which blendthe Glendronach malt was already a vital ingredient). The stills were doubled to four in the late 1960s.
Thereafter, a familiar story of consolidation characterises the distillery's history. Teacher's was bought by Allied brewers, which became Allied Domecq (this is the abridged version by the way), who were bought by Pernod Ricard in 2005. Along the way, Glendronach's floor maltings were shut down in 1996 as the distillery was mothballed. Although the distillery became active again in 2002, the maltings did not. In 2005, one of Pernod's first acts after their takeover was to close the distillery in order to convert some of Scotland's last direct coal-fired stills to indirect steam-heated coils. this means that there are now no distilleries in Scotland using direct coal-fired stills, although the practice is continued at the Yoichi distillery in Japan.
In 2008, Pernod sold Glendronach tothe consortium headed by Billy Walker that had done such a fine job of revitalising Benriach. A quick revamp followed and a relaunched 15yo and new 18yo were added to the core range, joining the standard 12yo and a 33yo introduced by Pernod in late 2005.
Interestingly, the cask type used at Glendronach has changed in the last few years. Traditionally the majority of the spirit was aged in Oloroso casks, however since the recommencement of production in 2002 bourbon casks have been used, meaning that future releases will have a different flavour profile to the batches being released today. It is believed that the new owners will begin using sherry casks again.
From the website
In 1826 the exuberant and extroverted James Allardice founded the distillery and produced his 'Guid GlenDronach' single malt. Down the years, the distillery he created has thrived under the stewardship of far-sighted investors like Walter Scott in 1847 and Captain Charles Grant in 1920. In more recent times, GlenDronach was bought in 1960 by William Teacher & Sons.
But in 2008, nothing less than a complete renaissance began. The BenRiach Distillery Company became GlenDronach's proud new owner.
While time can never stand still, the commitment of the team at GlenDronach will ensure that the distinctive practices that have always defined the distillery will live on - the most influential of these, its return to independent ownership.
James Allardice & His 'Guid GlenDronach'
You’re probably wondering how it all began, so let us start at the beginning
on a chilly winter’s night in 1826...
Hidden within the valley of Forgue, deep within the Scottish Highlands, a plume of smoke ascends from the chimney of a grand country house, Glen House. The smell of peat from a large crackling fire fills the drawing room, and there sits James Allardice, feet up, with a dram of a whisky that he’d spent quite some time making. He was feeling quite cheery with the results of his new creation, which he had decided to call... GlenDronach. His next challenge was to sell his stock, so there he sat, pondering on what would be his best plan.
James was up with the birds the following morning and set out with a spring in his step for the capital, with a large barrel and flagon in tow. But on arrival in Edinburgh, he discovered that selling GlenDronach was going to be trickier than he first thought. “We already have our stock for the season,” the landlords all said, “but we’ll bear you in mind for next year.”
Ladies of the Night
After only selling a trickle, a disheartened Allardice wanders back to his hotel, ready to admit defeat. But, walking up the Canongate, he is accosted by two young ladies of the night who want him to take them...for a drink. James tells the women that he has his very own ‘Guid GlenDronach’ whisky that they can sup on, and so he returns to his hotel room, to the mortification of the hotel staff, with the two ladies on each arm!
The following day, word of mouth spread like wildfire about the previous night’s shenanigans and the two women return for another bottle of GlenDronach to share with their friends. James had pretty much given up on his abortive sales drive in Edinburgh and had planned to return home, so he gave the women the remainder of his flagon.
The 'Guid GlenDronach'
Later that afternoon, the street was full of women who had consumed one drop too many. This got the neighbourhood talking and everyone became curious to try some of what the ladies were drinking. So they started requesting GlenDronach by name when they went into their local pubs.
As the story goes, James did not return home as planned the following day. Instead, he stayed a while in Edinburgh where he sold all of his stock. Not long after, bottles could be found in every pub along the Royal Mile. GlenDronach had arrived!
A Unique Heritage and Traditional Past
Our Distilling methods may be old fashioned, but we prefer to look on them as hand crafted techniques created through nearly 200 years of tradition. From the germination of the barley to the flow of the purest middle cuts of distilled spirit, every step in the GlenDronach journey to the vat and onwards is taken with meticulous care and immaculate timing.
Our malt mill, glistening copper mash tun and Oregon pine washbacks form part of a vigorous but carefully attended process. Then, our 4 elegant copper pot stills distil and re-distil the finest, richest spirit. What follows is the final secret of GlenDronach's exceptional character. As was the case in 1826, The GlenDronach Distillery patiently matures its single malt whisky in superior quality sherry casks. Over the years of extended maturation, these carefully seasoned casks help create the unique richly sherried style that GlenDronach is famous for.
Character and Style of Glendronach
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