Extract from Alfred Barnard’s historic tour of every whisky distillery in Great Britain, published in ‘1887’
WE felt somewhat sorry to leave Keith, as out daily excursions to the Speyside had been most enjoyable, and our good host of the Gordon Arms had made us so comfortable. We proceeded by train to Banff through a rich agricultural district, and put up at an hotel whose name we wish to forget, where everything was bare and comfortless. Banff has attractions rarely equalled, rejoices in a fine seaboard, and is the most fashionable seaport in the north of Scotland. It is also environed by a superb park, and possesses a splendid river. The old town of Banff has a good many interesting features. It dates from the time of Malcolm IV., and the old castle, of which there are not many stones left to tell the tale, has been the scene of many a deed of daring by the Earls of Buchan, Seafield, and others, who have left their names on the pages of Scotland’s history.
The Distillery which heads this chapter is situated at the Mill of Banff, about one mile from the town, and near the Moray Firth. It has a special siding on the Great North of Scotland Railway, cal led “Boyndie Siding.” This gives great facility for the heavy portion of the business. The work was originally established in the year 1824, immediately after the passing of the Distillery Act of that date, which relieved distillers from many vexatious trammels and unwise regulations to which the trade had previously been subjected.
In 1863 the Distillery was built on a new site, where the business has since been conducted on a more extensive scale than formerly. In the year 1877 the Distillery proper was burned down, and afterwards rebuilt on a more modern and commodious plan.
The Lofts can store nearly 5,000 quarters of barley, and the Malthouses are conveniently arranged with respect to these buildings and the Kiln. Contiguous is the Mill building, Grist Loft, Mash House, Tun Room, and Distillery. The process of manufacture is the same as those already described in the Highlands.
The Still House contains three old Pot Stills, one Wash Still, and two Low-wines Stills. Water is brought by gravitation to the top of the houses; and the first Worm Tub is on a level with the heads of the Stills. Both steam and water power are available for driving the elevators, mashing, pumping, and all the work of the Distillery.
The Whisky is Highland Malt, and the annual output is nearly 200,000 gallons.