Distillery in Focus: Balmenach
Name: Balmenach Distillery. Former names: Balminoch and Cromdale.
Address: Cromdale, Granton on Spey, PH26 3PF
Visitor centre: No.
Owner: Inver House Distillers
Established in 1824.
Stills: 3 Wash and 3 Spirit stills.
Percentage of single malts: 0%
Casks used for maturation: Bourbon and sherry.
Contribute(d) to the following blends: Peter Dawson and Johnnie Walker.
No regular bottlings are produced. The previous owner has been releasing a 10 YO Balmenach as part as their Fauna & Flora collection. Under the new ownership, the Balmenach 25 YO for the Queen's golden jubilee in 2002 was the only official bottling.
|The Balmenach 10 YO Fauna & Flora from the previous owner and the only official released by its current owner, Inverhouse, the Balmenach 25 YO Golden Jubilee.|
History of Balmenach Distillery
James McGregor founded the distillery in 1824. Previously, during a few years, he had operated a small farm distillery by the name Balminoch. In 1824, records show that the whisky was sold for 9s. a gallon. James remained in charge of the distillery until 1867. His son John was summoned by his mother in 1878 to return from New Zealand and to take over the distillery. In December 1879, the distillery was seriously damaged by a storm. After the death of John in 1888, his wife took over the business. When Alfred Barnard visited the distillery in the 1880s, it was described as one of the most primitive distilleries. In 1897, the distillery turned into a limited liability company under the name “Blamenach-Glenlivet distillery“ and the ordinary shares remained within the family. Jim McGregor was running the distillery. During World War I, the distillery was silent. In 1922, the company was reconstructed under the supervision of Sir James Calder and was under the ownership of a group of blenders, Macdonald Green, Peter Dawson and James Watson. In 1923-4, the distillery operated under the name Peter Dawson Ltd. In 1925, the Distiller Company Limited (DCL) bought the remaining shares of the company and transferred the distillery to its subsidiary Scottish Malting Distillers Ltd (SMD) in 1930. The distillery was silent during World War II and remained under the management of SMD until 1987 when SMD was integrated into United Distillers Ltd, following the acquisition of the DCL by Guiness. In 1962, the number of stills was increased from 4 to 6 and the mash house was renovated in 1968. In 1964, the floor maltings were replaced by saladin boxes. In 1992, the distillery moved in under the control of United Distillers Ltd, who closed the distillery the year after, in June 1993. In December 1997, Inver House bought Balmenach and resumed the operations. When Inver House took over the distillery, all the casks were removed by United distillers. At a few exceptions (e.g., Balmenach 25 YO Queen’s Golden Jubilee Decanter), no Balmenach have been as single malt whiskies by his recent owner. In 2006, the company was transferred to Inver House Interbrev, when the holding (International Beverage Holdings) changed its structure.
|The mash tun||The wash backs|
|And the 3 wash stills|
Source: Distillery visit,The Scotch Whisky Book by Tom Bruce-Gardyne, The Making of Scotch whisky by John R. Hume & Michael S. M oss, and The Scotch Whisky Distilleries by Misako Udo.
|Official/original bottlings (OB)|
|Balmenach 25 YO Golden Jubilee Decanter, 58%. B:2002.||Rating: 15/20|
|No Age Specified (NAS)|
|Independent bottlings (IB) and undisclosed "Balmenach"|
|Balmenach 1984 Sherry, 21 YO, The Bottlers, 57.8% B: 2005, c. 3056||Rating: 17/20|
|Balmenach 1979, 32 YO, The Maltbarn, 53.1%, B: 2012, 209 b.||Rating: 15/20|
|Balmenach 1979 for Magnin vins, 33 YO, The Perfect Dram, 52.8%, B:2012, 202 b.||Rating: 12/20|
|Balmenach 1988 For The Whisky Exchange, 25 YO, Signatory, 55.6%, B:2013, c.1132, 187 b.||Rating: 15/20|
|Balmenach 1988 The Helvetian Collection, Signatory, 49.6%, B:2016, 206 bottles||Rating: 17/20|