Nestled deep in the beautiful Spey valley, Ballindalloch Castle has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546. Indeed, Guy Macpherson-Grant is the 23rd generation of his family to live at the Castle.
Throughout those generations, this much loved Highland estate has upheld tradition while continuing to grow and look to the future. The latest addition to the range of activities is offered at Ballindalloch Single Malt Distillery.
Returning the family to the distilling traditions of previous generations, Ballindalloch Distillery embraces an approach to whisky making rarely seen today.
The history of distilling on the Ballindalloch Estate dates back to the early 1820’s when a distillery was built at Delnashaugh, above the junction of the rivers Avon and Spey near where the Delnashaugh Hotel stands today.
It was under the stewardship of Sir George Macpherson-Grant, the 3rd Baronet of Ballindalloch, that distilling on the Estate was firmly established. As co-founder of Cragganmore distillery with John Smith in 1869, Sir George was clearly a man for whom distilleries held a special place in his heart.
Sir George also enjoyed a close association with Robert Hay, who built Glenfarclas distillery on the North side of the Estate. His final direct involvement with a new distillery was the building of Speyside Distillery in Kingussie in 1896.
It can very much be said that the building of Ballindalloch Distillery is a return to the industry for the Macpherson-Grant family.
As our guest at Ballindalloch, your time with us will be tailored to you. The framework of tours is listed below, but whether you are new to distilleries or a regular visitor, there will be something new enjoy. The unique nature of our distillery allows you to get closer to the production process than almost anywhere else. Visits are by appointment and are available Monday to Friday.
To book or enquire about any of our distillery tours, please contact Brian.
Distillery Tour – £35
Lasting around 2½ hours, and with a maximum of 8 guests, your visit will begin over coffee in our Entrance hall where we will share with you our history and how 23 generations of the Macpherson-Grant family have contributed to the ongoing stewardship and development of the Estate.
From there, we will move to the process area of our fully manual distillery where we rely on the skill and experience Colin, Ian and Davey to produce our exceptional new make spirit. Then, via the Filling Store to our small, dunnage Warehouse where we will conclude our tour surrounded by the very first casks we filled.
Drams will be served in the Long Gallery where I have the pleasure of sharing whisky from some of the Macpherson-Grant family’s private casks
Ballindalloch Spirit – £75
For those with a desire to know more about what we do and a wish to perhaps take part, this visit allows for just that. Along with the key aspects of the Distillery Tour, we will have the opportunity to meet and talk with the team about their time in the industry. Later, in the filling store, we will take time to sample our New Make Spirit together with the chance to fill a cask. Concluding your time at the distillery, we will relax and take our drams in the Club Room. We do not rush, so please allow 3½ to 4 hours for this visit. This experience is limited to 6 guests.
The Art of Whisky Making – £175
Due to the nature of our distillery, and the fact that we are one of only a handful who use a fully manual process, we are able to offer a very special day to those who want to expand their whisky making knowledge. This is not a tour and tasting, rather a full day getting as close to traditional methods and attitudes as possible.
This experience allows you to get you fully “hands on” at the distillery and spend the day working with us to understand what is involved in creating our new make spirit. Covering everything from Milling to Warehousing and all aspects in between, your time here will be a practical one. Working one to one with Colin, Ian and Davey, no matter how much you know about whisky, you will certainly learn something new. Your day will start at 8.00am and will finish around 4.00pm. Lunch is included and, to ensure you get the most out of your time with us, we limit this experience to a maximum of just two guests on any day.
As recognition of your day with us, you will receive an Art of Whisky Making polo shirt, a lasting memento only for those who have worked with us!
I am delighted to say that should you be the driver when you or your friends leave the distillery, there is no charge for your visit. Terms and Conditions do apply, so please mention at the time of booking if this is the case.
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As part of our continued efforts to remain as sustainable as we can be, we have installed two Electric Vehicle charge points. These are currently free to use and are available to guests who visit either the Distillery or the Golf Course behind us.
We have a 22kW, dual outlet, fast charging point which will allow users to get a significant charge while spending time here so, if you are using an Electric Vehicle to get about, we are very happy for you to “fill up” while you are here.
With several decades of combined experience, the team at Ballindalloch use their skills to craft the finest spirit with traditional attitudes at heart of all that we do.
Colin Poppy – Distillery Manager
With over 16 years of production experience, based initially at Auchroisk and later moving to Knockando, Colin oversees all aspects of production. From the very first Mash in September 2014, to the selection of casks today, he sets out the building blocks that form the basis and progression of our spirit character.
With a natural ability to embrace the science behind whisky making, Colin has a commitment to producing an outstanding spirit that fits the profile needed for our long term maturation needs.
Brian Robinson – Distillery Host
Brian started his career in the whisky industry as a guide at The Glenlivet distillery in 2004 before moving two years later to Glenfiddich. By the time he left William Grant and Sons to join Ballindalloch in April 2014, he was responsible for all front of house visitor operations.
Having watched as the distillery was brought to life, and with responsibility for the non- production aspects of the Distillery, Brian is perfectly placed to share a passion for Ballindalloch and the long term plans for the whisky.
Davey Norquoy – Distillery Assistant
Davey has been in the whisky industry since the 1980’s when he took up the role of Kilnman at Highland Park. He moved onto being a Mashman, then Stillman often spending time covering at Scapa Distillery. David finished his time on Orkney as Warehouse Supervisor for Highland Distillers. Moving to Macallan in 2000, again as Warehouse Supervisor, Davey took the decision in 2017 to return to the hands on nature of whisky production that he first experienced at the beginning of his career.
Ian McMurdo – Distillery Assistant
Ian joined the whisky industry in 2012 as Bottling Team Leader for William Grant and Sons. Over the following 5 years, time was spend at both Strathclyde Business Park and Glenfiddich Distillery overseeing the bottling of a number of their brands. Before joining Ballindalloch, Ian was responsible for overseeing the distilling and bottling at Glen Grant. With a strong engineering background and a desire to be involved in the day to day production of whisky, Ian is now able to apply his skills to a manual production environment.
The idea of building a distillery at Ballindalloch began late in the summer of 2011. The old steading was viewed by Estate owners Clare and Oliver Russell as an embarrassment and certainly not representative of Clare’s ancestral home. After looking at a number of different ideas, they decided that a distillery would be the perfect solution both for the old steading and for the long term benefit to the Estate. A number of conversations took place with some leading industry figures, together with their sons Guy and Edward, with the decision taken a year later to commit to the project. Plans were then put in place to turn their dream into a reality.
Over the next two years, work was carried out to renovate and fit out the old farm steading next to the Estate’s Golf Course from the near derelict state it was in. Working on a building that dates back to the 1820’s required attention from a small group of skilled group of craftsmen. From the stonework to the slates on the roof, the woodwork to the interior decoration, the family were committed to the use of local trades wherever possible.
From the very outset, the production of our whisky was always destined to be “hands on”. With a clear commitment to tradition, the Single Estate nature of our process allows us to control every aspect of whisky making. From the barley we grow at our Home Farm to draff fed back to cattle across the Estate, we craft our whisky in a way that generations past would have recognised.
The result is a distillery that has a look and an attitude more akin to the traditions so rarely seen today.
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To send us a message, please use the contact form below. Alternatively, our postal address can be found at the bottom of this page.
If you want to know how to get to the distillery, please visit the how to find us page.
Tel. 01807 500 331
Ballindalloch distillery is situated on the A95 around 14 miles north east of Grantown on Spey and 24 miles south of Elgin.
From the West and Elgin
Follow the A941 south driving through Rothes and on towards Aberlour. Just after the river Spey, continue on the A95 (stay on the main road, the A941 becomes the A95 a mile outside Aberlour). Continue through Aberlour and on a further 8 miles towards Ballindalloch. The distillery is located on the left hand side around one mile south of the Castle entrance.
From the East and Aberdeen
Take the A96 west towards Elgin. Just after Huntly take the A920 to Dufftown and onto the A941 to Craigellachie. Turn left onto the A95 and head through Aberlour and on a further 8 miles towards Ballindalloch. The distillery is located on the left hand side around one mile south of the Castle entrance.
From the South
Take the A9 north from Perth and turn right onto the A95 just north of Aviemore. Follow the A95 to Grantown on Spey and then onto Ballindalloch.
Fuel is available at a filling station 500 meters to the north of the distillery and also at Grantown on Spey and Aberlour. Opening times vary so it is recommended that you fill up when you can and don’t wait until you have to!
Inverness Airport is adjacent to the A96, a little over forty miles north west from Ballindalloch Distillery with Aberdeen Airport around sixty miles to the east, also just off the A96. Both airports have connections to mainline railway stations. There are more flight options at Aberdeen for both national and international routes, including daily flights to and from London, Bristol, Birmingham and Southampton, as well as international destinations such as Amsterdam, Dublin, Esbjerg, Paris and Stavanger. Many attractive low cost air fares are available from a number of airlines at both airports as well as private plane facilities. Most national car rental companies have depots in Aberdeen and Inverness and a number of them now have outlets in Elgin.
Banffshire is served by the Perth to Inverness mainline currently operated by Scotrail. There are town centre railway stations at Aviemore and Elgin and a rural station at Carrbridge. Connections both north to Inverness and south to the central belt and onward to England can be made at Aviemore station. The Caledonian Sleeper is operated daily into Inverness from London Euston.
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, we are adhering to official advice and the Distillery is now closed to guests until further notice.
Clearly, this is the last thing we wanted to do but it is the right thing for the protection of our staff and the well-being of our guests.
I very much hope that we will be able to open our doors again soon and be able to welcome you back to Ballindalloch and I will keep you updated via social media.
In the meantime we send our best wishes to you and your families in these challenging times.