Aberfeldy distillery information

Construction of the Aberfeldy distillery, based in the middle of the Highlands on the southern banks of the River Tay (just east of the village of Aberfeldy from which the distillery takes its name), started in 1896 and lasted until 1898. Owners were Perth-based blenders John Dewar’s & Sons Ltd., who needed to ensure a steady stream of whisky to be used in the Dewar blend, purchased the land  from the Marquis of Breadalbane.The site was earlier home to the Pitilie Brewery and Distillery, which was closed in 1867. The distillery was not the first one to use the Aberfeldy name, though. There was an earlier distillery operating between 1830 and 1849 in Perthshire using the same name. When the distillery was built, it was located next to a railway,thus ensuring it would not be hard getting the barley and coal in, as well as easy access to transportation to carry the spirits to the Dewar blending and bottling plant in Perth.

Production started in 1898, and apart from some silent periods during the world wars (1917-1919, and 1942-1944, both times due the government restricting the amount of barley available for distillation purposes, as well as a brief period around the early 1930s), has been producing since. In 1923, Dewar secured more whisky by purchasing the Aultmore, Glen Ord, Parkmore and Old Pulteney distilleries. Distillers Company Limited (DCL) purchases John Dewar & Sons Ltd in 1925. In 1927, the first ever documentary about producing and blending Scotsh whisky was filmed in part at the Aberfeldy distillery. In 1930, the distillery is transfered to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD).

Queen Elizabeth II granted Dewar’s her Royal Warrant in 1955. In the 1960s, the stills were replaced with the new stills heated by coal, and the railway was closed on government order. Between 1972 and 1973, the distillery is expanded, doubling the amount of washbacks from four to eight, and the amount of stills from two to four, now using steam heating. The still house and tun-room were rebuilt around the same time, using the original stone. Around the same time, the malting floor was closed.

In 1986, DCL and Guinness merged to form United Distillers & Vintners (UDV), later renamed to Diageo. In 1998, John Dewar’s & Sons Ltd was sold by Diageo to Bacardi; a move it was forced to make by the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) citing competition concerns. In the spring of the year 2000, a visitor centre, “Dewar’s World of Whisky” is opened in the old malting hall.

Aberfeldy whisky

Most of the whisky distilled at Aberfeldy is used in the Dewar’s blends. However, a few official bottlings have been released:

  • Flora and Fauna (1991)
  • 12 Year Old (released in 1999)
  • 25 Year Old (Released in 2000 to mark the opening of the visitor centre)
  • 12 Year Old
  • 21 Year Old

Distillery info:

Water sourcePittie Burn
Owned byJohn Dewar's & Sons (Bacardi)

Dewar's World of Whisky
PH15 2EB
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 1887 822010

Visitor centreYes

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun6.3 tonnes1 (Stainless steel, Full-Lauter)
Washback33,000 litres10 (8 Siberian Larch, 2 stainless steel)
Wash still16,500 litres2
Spirit Still15,000 litres2
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)2,800,000