Balmenach distillery is nestled at the bottom of the Haughs of Cromdale in the Spey valley. In the early 1800 three brothers crossed these hills from Tomintoul and set up a farm. One of these brothers was a James McGregor who also set up an illicit still on the site. Shortly after the licensing act was introduced James McGregor obtained a license for his distillery formally establishing it in 1824.
The distillery was owned and operated by the McGregor family until it was sold in 1922 to a company that would become DCL. In 1993 UDV took the decision to mothball Balmenach, the distillery lay silent until 1998 when Inver House Distillers bought the distillery making it the company’s fifth and largest distillery. The first distillate of Balmenach for 5 years was then produced in March that year, and stored in casks in one of the three dunnage warehouses on the site.
As is predominant of Inver House Distillers the traditional machinery and methods are still used to this day. This includes a cast iron mash tun mashing slightly more than 8 tonnes every 7.5 hours. The wash is fermented in six douglas fir washbacks for a minimum of 50 hours before it is sent to the stillhouse for distillation.
The stillhouse comprises of three wash stills and three spirit stills capable producing over 2 million litres of whisky a year. This sprit travels slowly through 90 metres of copper tube coils in large tubs of cold water, known as “worm tubs”, before it enters one of the two spirit safes in the stillhouse. There it is transferred to one of two spirit vats. The smaller of these being used for the filling of casks on site to then be matured in oak casks for many years until the spirit is deemed at its best for bottling.
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