Glen Elgin distillery information

The Glen Elgin distillery was built between 1898 and 1900 in Elgin. It was a result of an undertaking by a partnership of William Simpson (formerly manager at Glenfarclas) and James Carle (an agent of the Scotland Bank). While it was being constructed, the Pattison crash shook up the whisky world. This in turn led to a great amount of distilleries having to close or cut production. Ironically, distillery architect Charles Doig had predicted that Glen Elgin would be the last distillery to be built in the Speyside region for the next 50 years. He turned out to be right, as the next distillery would be Tullibardine in 1949.

Due to the crisis, the original plan for was abandoned, and the distillery ended up smaller than originally intended. Further setbacks suffered by the founders was the water source.  They had hoped it would yield high quality water turned out not to be reliable after all. To make things worse, they also counted on being able to obtain access to the railway, but the permission for extending the railway to the distillery was denied by the Board of Trade.

New owners

Within 6 months after starting production on May 1st 1900, the distillery closed and was subsequently sold to Glen Elgin-Glenlivet Distillery Co. Ltd. for 4,000 GBP in 1901. It was quickly sold on again in 1907 to a wine and spirit company from Glasgow; John J. Blanche & Company. Blanche died in 1929, leading to the distillery to be sold to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD), who licensed the distillery to White Horse Distillers (Glen Elgin had been a key component of their White Horse Blends for years).

In 1950 the distillery was plugged in to the electricity grid, having relied on Paraffin lamps and a steam engine until then. In 1964, the distillery underwent an extensive reconstruction, during which the number of stills was increased from two to six. In the same year, the floor maltings were closed. In 1970, the stills were converted to use steam heating. Between 1992 and 1995, the stills were replaced, and the distillery once again refurbished. In 2000, the old traditional rake-and-plough mash tun was replaced with a new Full-Lauter version.

The distillery is currently owned by Diageo (since 2004), who are the successor of United Distillers & Vintners (who obtained the distillery in 1999, following a merger). Glen Elgin was added to Diageo’s Classic Malts in 2005, together with Caol Ila, Cardhu, Clynelish, Dufftown, Knockando and Royal Lochagnar.

Glen Elgin whisky

Glen Elgin is highly sought after by blenders, and most of the whisky produced will find its way into blends; mainly White Horse.

There have been a few official releases as well:

  • 16 Years Old (released in 1991)
  • Manager’s Choice (released in 1998)
  • Flora and Fauna (released in 2001)
  • 12 Years Old, Hidden Malt (released in 2002)
  • Special Edition; 32 Years Old (released ion 2003)

Distillery info:

NameGlen Elgin
Water sourceSprings near Millbuies Loch
Owned byDiageo

Glen Elgin Distillery
Morayshire IV30 8SL
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 1343 862100

Visitor centreNo
CommunityFriends of Classic Malts

Distillery Setup:

Mash tun8.2 tonnes11 (Full lauter)
Washback40,600 litres6 (Larch)
Wash still6,800 litres3
Spirit Still8,100 litres3
Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)1,800,000