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Ballindalloch Distillery: Distilling on the estate

Distilling on the Estate

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.

Visiting the Distillery

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, Phillip and Mike 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, Phillip and Mike, 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!

Designated drivers

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.

GalleryClick on the thumbnail to see a full size image


Construction of Ballindalloch Distillery

Creating the Distillery

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.

GalleryClick on the thumbnail to see a full size image


Meet the Team

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

Colin has over 10 years of production experience and was the perfect choice to bring his skills and knowledge to Ballindalloch. Based initially at Auchroisk and later moving to Knockando, Colin was given the freedom to control the mashing and fermentation to build the basis of our character before distillation.

Colin has a natural ability to embrace the science behind whisky making and was responsible for developing the efficiency and quality of the mashing and fermentation process. Working with Charlie from the very start of production has allowed Colin to take on the role of Distillery Manager with direct responsibility for day to day running of the distillery.



Phillip Murray – Distillery Assistant

The latest addition to our team, Phillip has over 30 years experience in a number of roles across the industry. Beginning in 1985, his initial career was laboratory based and following a spell as Assistant Manager at Auchroisk he worked for over 12 years in a technical support role within Diageo.

Phillip played a key role in the project team behind the Roseisle Distillery build and keen to follow the results of his efforts became one of the shift operators there. His experience will enable him to support Colin in maintaining our exceptional spirit character.



Brian Robinson – Distillery Host

With a love of whisky going back more than 20 years, Brian started his career in the whisky industry as a guide at The Glenlivet distillery in 2004. Later that year he took the role of Deputy Supervisor before leaving to become Senior Guide at Glenfiddich in May 2006. By the time he left William Grant and Sons, Brian was responsible for all front of house visitor operations.

Brian joined Ballindalloch in April 2014 and was able to watch as the distillery was brought to life. As Host, Brian is able to share his passion for Ballindalloch together with the industry at large with guests from around the world.



Mike Duncan – Distillery Assistant

Mike started in June of 2015 and the distillery represents a complete change of scenery from the successful private tour business he ran. Working under the practical guidance of Colin and Phillip, together with studying the theoretical side as part of the General Certificate of Distillation, Mike has boundless enthusiasm that is clear to see. 

Mike follows in the footsteps of his grandfather who worked in the whisky industry at Craigellachie, Macallan distilleries and latterly under Ed Dodson at Glen Moray. Indeed, Mike’s Grandmother still resides there to this day.

witer opening ballindalloch distillery

News and Events

  • Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – 28th April to the 2nd May

    25th January 2015

    TFqVOg5AFrom the 28th April to the 2nd May, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place bringing together distilleries from across the most prolific whisky making region in Scotland. We have a number of events across the 5 days with something to suit all levels of knowledge and interest.

    The website, through which all festival bookings must be made, goes live to preview events on Thursday 28th January. Bookings can then be made from 12.00pm on Tuesday 2nd February. To see our list of events, visit and we hope to be able to welcome you to the distillery in person. Places tend to get taken up very quickly during the festival, so do bear that in mind if you are thinking of visiting.

  • We are Whisky Magazine’s Craft Producer of the Year

    8th December 2015

    Last Friday, we were the proud recipients of the Whisky Magazine Craft Producer of the Year. Guy, Brian and Charlie received the award at a lunch at the Surgeons Hall in Edinburgh attended by 120 members of the whisky industry. To receive an award such as this after just 15 months production stands testament to the commitment to tradition that we have set out to achieve.

    Our thanks go to the team at Whisky Magazine and to those who voted for us.

    Icons of Whisky – Hall of Fame

    Together with the distillery award, Charlie was recognised for a lifetime of commitment to the whisky industry when he was inducted to the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame. Following a career spanning 40 years, Charlie’s drive and motivation remains undiminished and this award is a fitting tribute to his ongoing enthusiasm.

    GalleryClick on the thumbnail to see a full size image


  • Visit of HRH The Duke of Kent

    27 October 2015

    Late October saw our second royal visit of the year when HRH The Duke of Kent visited the distillery. Mr and Mrs Russell had accompanied the His Royal Highness on a number of official engagements across the county the previous day. This meant that the Duke’s time with us was a little less formal with the chance for the whole team to meet with him and talk about the various elements of our process.

    GalleryClick on the thumbnail to see a full size image


  • Winter Opening Times

    22 October 2015

    We are open for visits year round with tours available by appointment Monday to Friday, but we do allow ourselves a little break at Christmas! The last day for tours this year will be Thursday 17th December and we will reopen again on Tuesday 5th January 2016.

  • A Royal Opening

    16th April 2015

    We were honoured to be joined by the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay who officially opened our distillery on the 16th April 2015.

    Hosted by Mrs Russell in her role as Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Their Royal Highnesses spent over an hour talking to 120 guests, many of whom had played an integral part in the building of the distillery. The guard of honour for the day was provided by the Buckie Boys Brigade.

    Following their tour of the renovated steading, His Royal Highness said of the building:

    “Ladies and gentleman, just before I unveil the plaque, which I’m getting a certain amount of practice for today already having come from Walkers of Aberlour just down the road and having tasted one of their very special Ecclefechan tarts – I was very much hoping to wash it down with a tiny bit of Ballindalloch whisky. Regrettably, I have to wait for another 10 years and I shall be 76 and probably on a Zimmer frame, but there you go!

    But nothing could give us greater pleasure than to come and assist at the opening of this wonderful new distillery. You’re right, I can remember seeing these steadings with the roofs falling in, so it is wonderful to see them being brought back to life, if I may say so, by such marvellously skilled craftsmen who we were lucky enough to meet earlier. It is a great tribute, I think, to their craft of stonemasonry and joinery and slating, everything. And I can’t help feeling it will provide the most wonderful new and special facility here in Speyside, which has such a great tradition of distilleries.

    So ladies and gentlemen nothing could give us greater pleasure than to unveil a plaque and declare this splendid new distillery open.”

    GalleryClick on the thumbnail to see a full size image


How to find Ballindalloch DIstillery

How to find us

By Car
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!

By Air
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.

By Train
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.