Latest update: January 26th 2014
BALVENIE DISTILLERY PICTURES
Balvenie distillery has its name from the adjacent Balvenie Castle. As a replacement dwelling for Balvenie Castle, the Balvenie New House was erected, as this was much easier to heat and maintain. After several decades the house stood empty. This was an opportunity for William Grant to built his second distillery just next to his Glenfiddich distillery. Distilling started in 1893 at Balvenie. The basement of the house was used as warehouse, the first storey was the malt floor and the loft was used as barley storage. The stills were taken over from Lagavulin and Glen Albyn.
In the 1920s the malting were taken into a new building next to the original buildings. Otherwise little has changed during the years, the distillery now has 8 stills, and is still owned by William Grant & Sons.
My arrival at Balvenie was a special one. In the morning I was visiting Glenfiddich and I had the honour to have lunch with master distiller David Stewart. David has been working for William Grant & Sons for over 40 years, and is currently still involved with the Balvenie malt whiskies. After a nice lunch with him and Dufftown plant operations manager, Ewen Cameron, David took me up to the Balvenie distillery. The other visitors for the tour were very pleased to see the man behind the malt.
Another person that is very much involved with Balvenie, is brand ambassador David Mair.
He has been touring the world for years to promote the brand. Visitor tour are
still fairly new to Balvenie, they started them about
5 years ago. Rob MacPherson was the with years of experience in the industry a
great host, but when he retired they needed someone to replace him. As David Mair didn’t want to travel as much, he was offered the job
at the distillery. A tour at Balvenie contains, the
distillery’s own malting and also the Glenfiddich
cooperage is part of the tour. This makes Balvenie a
special experience, which is certainly worth to visit. Not only the tour, but
also the whiskies that you are presented with at the end of the tour.
The pictures in the slide show at the left, were taken by Frans Brouwer – The Whisky Friend. The pictures are used with kind permission from him.
BALVENIE DISTILLERY VISIT 2006
A few months ago, Balvenie Distillery decided to open their doors for visitors. Although you have to make sure that you book, as they do max 2 tours a day. You go to the Glenfiddich visitor centre and from there your tour to Balvenie will start. Guide Rob McPherson has loads of experience in the distillery world, which surely shows during the tour.
You are taken to the former offices, which is set up as a small visitor centre. After a cop of coffee, the visit starts off.
As Balvenie still has a floor malting, this is a part of the tour that is especially nice to see. Although only about 10 % of the total malt is produced at their own maltings, it is certainly good to see a distillery keeping this working. Only the maltings are worth the visit already.
An extra at the Balvenie tour is that you will be taken out to the Glenfiddich cooperage which is also interesting to see.
Back to Balvenie, you get a look of the rest of the process and a visit to a warehouse. If this is not enough the visit ends with a nice tasting in which 5 whiskies and the new spirit are presented. Although this tour is a paid one, it is surely worth the visit.
THE BALVENIE DISTILLERY
Dufftown AB55 4BB
Tel.: 0044 – (0)1340 820 373