By Graeme Cruickshank, Operations Manager discussing Strathisla Distillery
Having grown up living in the Keith area all of my life I have always known about Strathisla and its history.
I started my career in the whisky industry working at Strathisla in the warehouses, so needless to say, I have had experience exploring the history of Strathisla throughout my time there.
Strathisla is considered to be the oldest operating distillery in Scotland established in 1786. Local Keith benefactor, William Longmorn, eventually purchased the distillery and through the later 1800’s developed the distillery to incorporate more modern technology, much of which is still left in the distillery today. The distillery was later purchased to be part of the Chivas corporation and subsequently developed the Strathisla single malt further and eventually included the single malt into the Chivas Regal blend.
Now considered to be the ‘Heart and Soul’ of Chivas Regal, the flavour characteristics of the Strathisla single malt are what create the foundation of Chivas Regal. The distillation process at Strathisla has been consistent over the years with the small copper pot stills creating a heavier, fruity spirit that maintains the heart of Chivas Regal. Having been designed to suit the building structure of Strathisla, the stills are one of the distilleries more unique features.
For anyone visiting the Strathisla distillery, exploring Strathisla’s main water source, the Broomhill Spring, won’t go amiss. As some of the best tasting water around, this water is certainly a large part of what makes Strathisla’s whisky what it is. Similarly, having a look inside the warehouses will give you a glance at some great ‘old casks’ that have been in the warehouses for years and a variety of other whisky casks that are used within the Chivas Regal blend as well.
One of the best parts about visiting the Strathisla distillery is meeting the people behind the scenes. You are always sure to receive a lovely local Keith welcome upon your visit. Likewise, the atmosphere within the Visitors Centre is quite special. Sitting on the old malting floors the rooms include a lovely, relaxing lounge to sit with a coffee and shortbread and a classic seating room for tastings. One part of the visitor experience we were happy to adopt was offering the opportunity to label your own Strathisla bottle within the visitor shop. This is a unique experience that you can bring home to family and friends and to remember your time at Strathisla.
Be sure to visit The Strathisla Distillery on your next visit to The Malt Whisky Trail. Find further information on opening times and tour information here.