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  • Writer's picturemichael milloy

A brief history of The Glenturret

13 key dates in the history of The Glenturret Distillery, Crieff, Perthshire

Proudly and confidently claiming to be the oldest working distillery in Scotland. The Glenturret has a solid history of whisky production on its current site since 1763. It is a beautiful distillery set in a most beautiful part of Scotland, yet only 62 miles from the centre of Scotland s capital city of Edinburgh. There is a lot of history here, and it has seen many chapters through the years. Below is a timeline of key dates in the history of the distillery as it is about to embark on the next major transformation.


Thurot, the earliest known name for Glenturret, can trace rental documents back to 1763, which would mean that this distillery is indeed the oldest distillery still in operation in Scotland. The search continues for older documents and evidence which could date it even earlier than this.


The distillery was sold to new owners who changed the name to the Hosh and this name stood for 59 years until 1873. At this point the name we know today, Glenturret was instilled and has remained ever since. The new owner Thomas McInnes teamed up with his uncle Thomas McComish and opened a second distillery in a nearby mill. This collaboration and their expertise in distillation guaranteed the success of this venture.


At this time, through the Ochtertyre agreement signed with local distillers and grain merchants the Drummond brothers, the distillery secured explicit permission to use the water and the peat from the banks of nearby Loch Turret. This is the foundation of the standard of whisky that is produced at the distillery to this day.


Glenturret is introduced to the London establishment through newspaper advertising launching the brand into new territory for the first time. Still of course, called Hosh at this point in time, but a huge development in raising the profile of the whisky, the craft and the distillery.


Alfred Turner, a social influencer of his time visited the distillery and published an article, which even at that time showed that the distillery was passionate about holding onto traditions and their artisan craft. This is still evident today where the current distillation still use traditional methods of production. Alfred wrote “Here are no new fads, appliances or patents, but like the buildings, the vessels are all of the ancient pattern”


Two new owners take charge at the distillery, the Mitchell brothers, David and William. They owned the largest distillery in the UK, Connswater in Belfast and adding The Glenturret to their portfolio gave the scotch a springboard for international exports and the spirit at this point is now exporting healthily to Australia, the USA and South Africa.


Production stops at the distillery. Huge pressure on whisky sales due to prohibition in the USA and the temperance movement in general, meant that the business became unviable and the sons of the Mitchells decided to close down production. There were of course still stocks of maturing whisky in the warehouse which was watched over by a dedicated team in the meantime.


The distillery is purchased by James Fairlie, who has a vision to reinstate the original distillation equipment as well as the artisan craft and begin distillation once again. He remained as master distiller for 20 years.


The Glenturret opens one of the first scotch whisky distillery visitor centres, now sharing the craft with tourists and whisky enthusiasts alike.


Now owned by Highland Distillers Ltd, the visitor centre welcomes it 1 millionth visitor, demonstrating its place in Scotch Whisky industry.


The distillery welcomes the Earl and Countess of Strathearn, Prince William and his wife Kate. They hand filled and signed a bottle which is held at the distillery awaiting the right moment to put this up for auction.


The distillery is taken over by the Lalique Group, a French lifestyle company, the beginning of a new era for the 21st century for The Glenturret.


This is a very exciting time for the distillery as the new era begins. The brand has launched a completely new and outstanding range under the watchful eye of the whisky maker Bob Dalgarno. The bottle and packaging have undergone a major redesign across the range and a £4m investment in the visitor centre and restaurant has recently been completed making this distillery a fantastic place to visit and experience their craft first hand. Distillery tours, casual dining or world class cuisine. It’s all here at The Glenturret. There is also a wine cellar that the world’s best sommelier would be proud of and a boutique where the Lalique range of crystalware can be purchased. It really is a magnificent transformation that has to be seen to be believed.

Look out for an interview with John Laurie, the managing director of the distillery coming soon.

Whisky Prestige is ready to take you there whenever you are next planning a trip. Please contact me directly through the website contact form, phone or email and I would be happy to make it happen for you.

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