Royal Brackla distillery information

The Brackla distillery was founded in 1812 by Captain William Fraser of Brackla House on the estate of Cawdor Castle (if you are into Shakespeare, you might recognize the name from “Macbeth”) in the town of Nairn in the Highlands of Scotland. Historic maps dating back to 1773 actually show a malt brewery used to be on the same site. The Captain has several run-ins with the law, getting fined repeatedly by the Customs and Excise officials. Yet, in 1833 (or 1835), it was the first distillery ever to be granted a Royal Warrant, by order of King William IV, who apparently greatly appreciated the whisky. The distillery promptly changed its name to Royal Brackla. It shares this honor with only two other distilleries; Royal Lochnagar and Glenury Roral (now closed).

The distillery passed to William Fraser & Co, who in turn passed it on t to Thomas Fraser around 1852, and Brackla remained in the Fraser family until 1898, when it was sold to John Michell & James Leict from Aberdeen, who rebuilt the distillery. In 1926, the lease for the distillery was taken over by John Bisset & Company Ltd. blenders from Aberdeen, who use the spirit in their blend Bisset’s Finest Old and Gold Label. The distillery was sold to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD) in 1943. Between 1965 and 1866, the distillery was renovated, and the stills switched to steam heating. New malting floors are added.

In 1970, an extra pair of stills is added, bringing the total to four. The distillery closes in 1985, but was reopened fby then-owners United Distillers in 1991. Further refurbishing took place in 1997. Brackla eventually was sold to John Dewar’s & Sons (owned by Bacardi) in 1998, when the FTC forced Diageo to sell off part of its assets.

Royal Brackla whisky

Most of Brackla’s whisky ends up in blends like Dewar’s, Johnnie Walker Gold Label and Bisset’s Finest Old. In fact, Brackla most likely was the location where some of the first blending took place when Andrew Usher from Edinburgh joined the distillery around the 1860s and started experimenting with blending whisky.

However, there have been some official bottlings:

  • 60 Years Old; released in 1991 to celebrate the reopening of the distillery.
  • Flora and Fauna; 10 Years Old (released in 1993)
  • Rare Malts; 20 Years Old (released in 1998)
  • No Age Statement release in 1999
  • 25 Years Old; Limited Edition (released in 2003)
  • 10 Years Old; released in 2004

Distillery info:

NameRoyal Brackla
Water sourceCawdor Burn
Owned byJohn Dewar & Sons Ltd/Bacardi

John Dewar & Son Ltd
Royal Brackla Distillery
Nairn IV12 5QY
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 1667 402002

Visitor centreNo

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun12.5 tonnesSemi-Lauter
Washback60,000 litres8 (6 Oregon Pine, 2 Stainless Steel)
Wash still20,500 litres2
Spirit Still23,000 litres2
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)4,000,000