Glen Ord distillery information

Originally established as the Ord Distillery Company, the Glen Ord distillery was founded in 1838 by Thomas Mackenzie, using the name Ord Distillery Co. and licensed to Robert Johnstone and Donald McLennan. It is located just outside the town Muir of Ord, slightly north-west of Inverness, on “The Black Isle”, an area that takes its name from the dark fertile earth. The site used to be the spot of an illicit distillery, one of many in the area. Johnstone went backrupt in 1847, followed shorly after by McLennan. The distillery was put up for sale , and finally passed on to Alexander McLennan and Thomas MacGregor in 1855. McLennan left the distillery to his wife when he passed away in 1870.

The widow McLennan wasted little time, and in 1877, seven years after McLennan’s death, she married Alex MacKenzie, a banker who switched careers and took over management of the distillery. In 1878 a new still-house was constructed, but it burnt down shortly after, so work started over. In 1896, Mackenzie died, and the distillery was subsequently sold to James Watson & Company, whisky blenders from Dundee. Watson himself died in 1923, without heirs, leading to the distillery to be put up for sale. John Dewar & Sons ended up buying it in the same year, and in 1925, merged with Distillers Company Limited (DCL). DCL in 1930 transferred all their distilleries, including Glen Ord to Scottish Mlt Disttillers (SMD). Until 1949, the distillery used paraffin lamps for lighting, but at this year a water turbine was installed.

In 1958, two of the stills were switched from direct firing to direct oil firing. In 1961, the malting floor was closed, and instead the distillery was outfitted with Saladin boxes. Thge next year, the two other stills were switched to steam heating, thus allowing SMD to experiment with how the manner of firing the stills affected the end produce.  The distillery was rebuilt in 1966, according to the Waterloo design (also used at Caol Ila and Glendullan, among others), and gained two extra set of stills in the process, bringing the total amount to six. In 1968, drum maltings were installed to further increase the malted barley output, and a dark-grains plant was added to convert waste from the distillation process to cattle feed. The Saladin boxes were taken out of production in 1983, but the drum maltings are able to produce sufficient amounts of malt for both Glen Ord as well as other northern-Highlands distilleries owned by Diageo.

In 1988, a visitor center was opened. DCL was eventually absorbed by United Distillers Plc (UD), which in turn became part of the Diageo stables. In 2012, Diageo started expanding the distillery, doubling the amount of washbacks from ten to twenty, and the amount of stills from six to twelve.

Glen Ord whisky

A significant part of the whisky distilled at Glen Ord was used for blending, with only limited amounts being released as official bottlings. However, that recently changed, when Diageo decided to make Glen Ord part of their Singleton brand releases. In Europe, The Singletown of Dufftown is sold. The Americas buy Singleton of Glendullan, and Asia gets Singletown of Glen Ord. The Singleton name was used earlier to indicate whisky from Auchroisk, but that ceased in 2001.

Whisky produced at Glen Ord has used several names during the years. Originally, it went by the name of Glenoran (or Glen Oran). Glen Ordie is another variant that has been seen, as has Ord, Muir of Ord and Glen Ord.

Official bottlings include:

  • 12 Year Old (round bottle, 1993 until 2004)
  • 28 Year Old (released in 2003)
  • 12 Year Old (square bottle, from 2004)
  • 25 Year Old (released in 2004)
  • 30 Year Old Special Release; limited edition. 6,000 bottles (released in 2005)
  • Singletown of Glen Ord 12 Year Old (released in 2006)
  • Singletown of Glen Ord 18 Year Old (released in 2006)
  • Singletown of Glen Ord 15 Year Old (released in 2013, only available at the distillery)
  • Singletown of Glen Ord 18 Year Old (released in 2013, only available at the distillery)

Distillery info:

NameGlen Ord
Water sourceAllt Fionnaidh
Owned byDiageo

Glen Ord Distillery
Muir of Ord, Ross-shire
United Kingdom

Visitor centreYes
CommunityFriends of the Classic Malts

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun12.5 tonnes1
Washback59,000 litres20 (Oregon pine)
Wash still18,000 litres6
Spirit Still16,000 litres6
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)10,000,000