The Legacy Of Aberlour 02.10.2022

The first Aberlour distillery was built on the site of the current Aberlour House by James Gordon and Peter Weir. Completed in 1826, Peter Weir walked away from the project within the first year and the lease was handed to the famous Grant brothers, James & John.

Knowing their lease expired in the year 1840, the Grant Brothers decided to leave the original Aberlour earl, in order to set up their own distillery, Glen Grant in 1838. Aberlour was left unoperational after the brothers left and was sadly destroyed by a fire in 1878.

In December of 1880, local bank agent and well-known benefactor to the town, James Fleming, decided to rebuild a new Aberlour Distillery further down the river Spey. The most modern distillery of the time, Aberlour was built on land beside the St. Drostan’s Well, named in honour of an early Columban monk.

A popular figure within the town, Fleming held many public roles including elder of the local parish church, chairman of the school board and county councillor. Investing heavily into the local community, James Fleming used his wealth to establish the town's first public meeting place, Fleming Hall in 1889. This was followed by the Fleming Cottage Hospital, established to offer rooms of isolation after a series of contagious plagues ravaged the local population. 

Just two weeks before his untimely death, Fleming pledged £500 to build the Penny Bridge after a local boy died in the fast flowing River Spey. James Fleming was laid to rest in the town's cemetery, directly opposite the distillery and is honoured by a memorial plaque within the town.

Fleming had sold The Aberlour Distillery to his acting agents, Robert Thorne & Sons in 1892. Sadly, just six years later, the distillery was destroyed by yet another major fire. Thankfully, Robert Thorne and Sons rebuilt the distillery in 1898, using the fire as an opportunity to equip Aberlour with the most advanced equipment available.

In 1921, the distillery was sold to W.H. Holt & Sons, a brewing family based just outside Manchester, England. Operating the distillery without major incident for 24 years, Aberlour was then sold to S.Campbell and Sons in 1945.

Investing heavily in Aberlour, the new owners re-equipped the distillery with four new copper stills in order to keep up with the demand from the popular Dewars label. With a total output of 3,500,000 litres per anum, Aberlour is one of Scotland's larger distilleries.

Double distilling its new make spirit, Aberlour matures its Whisky almost exclusively in ex red wine and sherry casks. Known for its slow distillation process, this incredibly smooth Whisky is a firm favourite with those who prefer a sweeter dram. Using local barley sourced just a few miles from the distillery, Aberlour doesn’t currently produce a peated Whisky. Preferring to focus on a sweeter Whisky, with dark fruit and nutty flavour profiles.

When S.Campbells and Sons was acquired by Pernod Ricard in 1974, Aberlour joined the group's larger distillery portfolio of fourteen Scotch Whisky Distilleries. Now part of Chivas Brothers group, Aberlour unveiled a new visitors centre in 2002 and recently announced plans for expansion, with building permits granted in 2020 for a new Still House, Tun Room and Mash Room.