Aberlour distillery information

The Aberlour distillery is located in the village of Aberlour in the heart of the Speyside whisky region. The name Aberlour is Gaelic for “The mouth of the chattering burn” (the latter being the Lour stream making its way down from the mountains to the river Spey). The original distillery carrying the name was started in 1826, by Peter Weir and James Gordon, several miles from the location of the current distillery. However, a fire in 1879 laid waste to that distillery.

The Aberlour Distillery

The Aberlour Distillery

The current distillery was founded in the same year by James Fleming, son of a local farmer, who himself made a living as a supplier of grain to distilleries (some say as a banker). This allowed him to get by fine, but his real dream was to establish a distillery of his own, using the pure local waters to create “the finest dram of all”. He personally oversaw the design and creation of the distillery, which was exceptionally modern for its time, though rather than steam, it used a waterwheel powered by the Lour. Fleming was convinced that the quality of his whisky would improve by ensuring his craftsmen would do well, and he invested heavily in the local community. Modest as he was, though, he lived by his family’s motto “Let the deed show”.

In 1892, the distillery was sold off to Robert Thorne & Sons Ltd, who expanded its capacity. In 1897, the distillery is once again hit by a fire that largely destroys it. An architect is called in to help design the new facilities. The distillery was sold to W. H. Holt & Sons, brewers from Manchester, in 1921. In 1945, it again changed hands. This time the new owners were S. Campbell & Sonds. A renovation was undertaken in 1973, and the amount of stills is doubled from 2 to 4.

The stills at the Speyside Aberlour distillery

The stills at the Speyside Aberlour distillery

In 1975, Pernod Ricard acquired Campbell Distilleries, and they continue running the distillery today. 1975 was also the year in which, when new stills were being installed, a time capsule was discovered containing a bottle of Aberlour that was distilled in 1898. The spirit in it was recreated with modern methods, and is now sold as “Aberlour A’bunadh” (Gaelic for “The original”).

Aberlour whisky

Aberlour whisky is typically double cask matured in a combination of Oloroso Sherry butts and 1st Fill Bourbon casks. The core range consists of:

  • 12 Years Old
  • 12 Years Old, Sherry Cask matured. Travel retail only
  • 15 Years Old. Double matured, and then finished in a Sherry cask. Travel retail only
  • 16 Years Old
  • 18 Years Old
  • A’Bunadh, matured in Oloroso Sherry butts, and bottled at Cask Strength. Released in limited batch runs

Distillery info:

Water sourceSprings from Ben Rinnes
Owned byPernod Ricard

Aberlour Distillery
AB38 9PJ, UK
+44 (0) 1340 881249

Visitor centreYes

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun12.12 tonnes1 (Stainless Steel, Semi-Lauter)
Washback70,000 litres6 (Stainless Steel)
Wash still21,300 litres2
Spirit Still15,000 / 20,000 litres2
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)3,500,000

Images courtesy of Chivas Brothers / Pernod Ricard