Which Is Scotland’s Oldest Distillery?

When it comes to the most distinguished whiskies in the world, most people will think of the famous Scottish distilleries. As those who dabble in whisky investment will know, the most valuable caskets tend to come from this region. But which distilleries are the oldest of all?

According to the Glasgow Times, Glenturret in Perthshire is the oldest working distillery in Scotland. It was built just outside Crieff in 1763, and still produces fine hand-crafted malts. It was established by the Murrays of Ochtertyre, a Baronial family who owned extensive lands in the area.

Glenturret Distillery is built on the banks of the Turret River, in a secluded and picturesque glen, which helps to make it a popular tourist attraction. Originally, the high hillsides of the glen were a good cover for smugglers in the days when the whisky trade was illicit! Until it was taken over in 1845, the distillery was known as Hosh.

The establishment was closed during the First World War, and briefly reopened before being forced to close again in 1921, because of the great depression and prohibition in America. James Fairlie acquired the business in 1957, and he can perhaps be credited with preserving the traditional craft of distilling, which is still maintained today.

Glenturret is not just famous for its single malts, however. It also boasts a bronze statue of their record-breaking cat in the visitor centre! Towser, a female tortoiseshell cat, was kept at the distillery between 1963 and 1987, and has an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for catching an impressive 28,899 mice during her long career.

In contrast, Scotland’s newest distillery is 8 Doors, near John O’Groats, the most northerly tip of the mainland. It opened in 2021, and boasts state of the art facilities with panoramic views across the sea. It’s open for tours and tastings, so that’s definitely one to bring the visitors in.

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