Fettercairn distillery information

Fettercairn distillery (also having used the name Nethermill at some point) was established in the Highland town of the same name in 1824, by Sir Alexander Ramsey, who owned Fasque estate on which the distillery was built. The building used for the distillery had previously been in use as a corn mill. The distillery was initially managed by James Durie, but the license was made out to James Stewart & Co. In 1830, Sir Alexander Ramsey sells Fasque estate, including the distillery to Sir John Gladstone. The distillery is run by Gibb, Durie & Co. between 1837 until 1852, when James obtained sole ownership. He did not get to enjoy it too long, though as he died in 1854, leaving the distillery in the hands of his son David, who ran it until a fire destroyed most of the distillery in 1887.

Fettercairn was rebuilt, and in 1890, a joint stock company called Fettercairn Distillery Co., led by Sir John Gladstone, was established to handle the business. Sir John Gladstone passed away in 1890, with his relatives taking over. It remained in the Gladstone family until 1923, when it is sold to Holders and Ross & Coulter. It went silent a few years later, in 1926, and remained closed until 1939, when it was snagged up by Associated Scottish Distilleries Ltd. (part of Train & McIntyre Ltd. who in turn were owned by National Distillers of America).

The 1960s was a period with all kind of changes for Fettercairn. In 1960, the malting floors at the distillery were closed. In 1966, two additional stills were fitted, doubling the amount form two to four, and in 1967, the stills switched to steam heating. In 1971, the distillery was bought by Tomintoul-Glenlivet Distillery Co. Ltd. (W. & S. Strong & Co. and Hay & MacLeod & Co.), who earlier established the Tomintoul distillery in the Speyside region. Two years later, Tonimtoul-Glenlivet is bought by Scottish & Universal Investment Trust, who purchase Whyte & Mackay in the same year, and continue operating Fettercairn under the name of Whyte & Mackay Distillers Ltd.

They are bought by Lornho in 1974, who sell the company on to Brent Walker Group Plc in 1988. In 1989, a visitor center is added to the distillery, and in 1990, American Brands buys Whyte & Mackay Distillers Ltd. In 1996, Jim Beam Brands merges with Whyte & Mackay Distillers Ltd to form Jim Beam Brands Worldwide. In 2001, Kyndal International Ltd. (formed by managers at Whyte & Mackay) buys Whyte & Mackay Distillers Ltd, and continue operation under the name Whyte & Mackay Ltd.

The spirit undergoes a re-branding operation, establishing itself using the name Fettercairn 1824 (replacing “Old Fettercairn”). In 2007, United Spirits (an Indian company, run by mogul Vijay Mallya) buys Whyte and Mackay, and continues operating it until present day.

Fettercairn whisky

What’s unique about the distillation process in Fettercairn is that water is directly running down the necks of its stills in order to ensure only the most volatile spirits make it down the lyne arms. The rest simply condences and falls back into the still.

95% of the whisky distilled at Fettercairn is used in blending (primarily Whyte & Mackay). Official bottlings included:

  • 1824 (12 years old, replaced in 2010)
  • Fior
  • Fasque
  • 24 Years Old
  • 30 Years Old
  • 40 Years Old

Distillery info:

Water sourceSprings on Grampian Hills
Owned byUnited Spirits

Fettercairn Distillery
Distillery Rd
Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire
AB30 1YB
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 1561 340244

Visitor centreYes

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun5 tonnes1 (cast iron)
Washback? litres8 (Oregon pine)
Wash still17,272 litres2
Spirit Still13,638 litres2
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)1,600,000