Whisky Types: Single Malts & Blended Whiskies
Typical Taste: The Single Malts have a fruity flavour with a smooth finish
Situated near Pitlochry in Perthshire is Blair Athol Distillery. The distillery was opened in 1798 by Robert Robertson. The water used for the whisky production is from the Allt Dour Burn. Even though about 90% of the whisky is sold to Bell’s for the production of Blended Whiskies, the whisky is also sold as a single malt. The single malts available are a 8 years, 12 years or 27 years old whisky. The company produces about 2,000,000 litres of whisky. The whisky has a mellow deep-toned fruity aroma with a smooth finish. It is one of the main whiskies for Bell’s Blend which is a popular brand in the UK, Scandinavia and South Africa. Blair Athol Visitor Centre is open all year round. Opening times vary depending on the season. The tours are available from £5. Tours for large groups can be arranged by appointment. Pitlochry is about 25 miles north of Perth and Blair Athol’s Visitor Center half a mile from Pitlochry town centre. Nowadays the visitor centre attracts about 30,000 visitors a year.
- Blair Athol Single Malt 8 years – Sweet and fruity with hints of smoke
- Blair Athol Single Malt 12 years (Flora & Fauna) – Full bodied, nutty and spicy
- Blair Athol Single Malt 1981 – Soft, red fruit, sweet, hints of smoke
- Bell’s Blended Whisky – Fresh, fruity, spicy, mellow, hints of smoke
Blair Athol Distillery: A Visitors Guide to Scotland’s Hidden Gem
Nestled in the picturesque town of Pitlochry in Perthshire, Blair Athol Distillery serves as the gateway to the Scottish Highlands. Boasting a rich history and tradition, the distillery has become an iconic location for whisky enthusiasts and tourists alike. This Highland distillery, one of the oldest in Scotland, invites visitors to witness the art of whisky-making and savour the unique flavours of its signature blends.
During your visit to Blair Athol Distillery, prepare to be captivated by its stunning architecture and charming surroundings. The distillery offers enlightening guided tours that walk you through the whisky-making process, from the selection of local ingredients to the masterful blending techniques. Engage with knowledgeable guides and witness first-hand the passion and dedication that goes into crafting every bottle of Blair Athol whisky.
An experience at Blair Athol Distillery not only offers insight into the world of Scottish whisky production but also provides a glimpse into the rich culture and history of the region. As you explore the enchanting town of Pitlochry and the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, you’ll quickly understand why this Highland distillery is a must-visit destination for both whisky connoisseurs and curious travellers.
History of Blair Athol Distillery
Founding and Early Years
The Blair Athol distillery was founded in 1798 by John Steward and Robert Robertson, initially named ‘Aldour’, after the Allt Dour burn, which is the source of water for the distillery. The distillery was closed soon after its opening due to undisclosed reasons. In 1825, the distillery reopened under the ownership of John Robertson and was renamed Blair Athol, taking its name from a nearby village.
Blair Athol distillery is situated in Pitlochry, serving as a gateway to other highland areas of Scotland. The Bell’s Blend, one of the most consumed and cherished whisky brands in South Africa, the UK, and Scandinavia, is produced by this distillery. Their single malt whiskey is known for its unique flavour and appealing aroma.
Throughout its history, the ownership of the Blair Athol distillery has changed several times. In 1826, the Duke of Atholl leased the distillery to Alexander Connacher & Co., which later became owned by Elizabeth Connacher in 1860. In 1882, P. MacKenzie & Co. purchased and expanded the distillery, adding two new granaries and malting floors. The capacity of the distillery increased to over 1,500 gallons (6,800 litres) per week by 1886.
Despite these ownership changes, the consistency and quality of the Blair Athol whisky products have remained true over the years. The distillery’s ancient source of water, the Allt Dour, flows through the grounds from the slopes of Ben Vrackie, contributing to the whisky’s mellow quality and smooth finish.
Visiting the Distillery
Blair Athol Distillery is located in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, Perthshire, serving as a gateway to the Scottish Highlands. Established in the foothills of the Grampian mountains, this historic distillery offers a unique visitor experience, allowing guests to learn more about whisky production while enjoying the scenic surroundings.
Tour Options and Prices
At Blair Athol Distillery, visitors can choose from a range of guided tours tailored to suit various interests and levels of whisky knowledge. Some of the popular tour options include:
- Standard Tour: Explore the distillery and learn about its history, followed by a tasting session.
- Connoisseur Tour: A more in-depth tour that delves into the unique aspects of the distillery, along with an extended tasting experience.
Please note that specific tour prices and availability may vary. For up-to-date information, it is advisable to check the official Blair Athol Distillery website or contact the distillery directly.
The highlight of any distillery tour is the opportunity to taste the whisky, and Blair Athol Distillery does not disappoint. Sampling their signature malts allows visitors to appreciate the mellow quality and smooth finish that can be attributed to the distillery’s ancient water source, the Allt Dour. Tasting experiences vary depending on the chosen tour option, but all guests can enjoy the unique flavours offered by Blair Athol Distillery.
Booking and Accessibility
To ensure a smooth visit, it is highly recommended to book your tour in advance. This can be done through the Blair Athol Distillery website or by contacting them via email or phone.
In terms of accessibility, the distillery aims to accommodate varying needs; however, due to the nature of the location and some elements of the tour, it may not be suitable for all. It is best to discuss any specific requirements with the distillery staff before booking, to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Blair Athol Whisky Range
Blair Athol Distillery, located in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, Perthshire, at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands, produces a range of single malt whiskies. The whisky range primarily consists of the core offering as well as limited-edition releases. Explore these below:
Blair Athol’s core range focuses on a flagship expression:
- Blair Athol 12-Year-Old: This official bottling is a part of Diageo’s Flora and Fauna series. It is matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, which gives the whisky its rich, fruity and spicy character. Tasting notes include honey, dried fruit and a hint of smoke. This expression is available at 43% ABV.
Limited Edition Releases
Blair Athol Distillery occasionally releases limited-edition whiskies which celebrate the distillery’s heritage and craftsmanship. Some notable releases include:
Blair Athol 1988 27-Year-Old: This is a limited-edition bottling released as a part of Diageo’s Special Releases in 2015. It is a cask strength whisky at 55.7% ABV, showcasing intense sherry notes and a refined, complex profile with in-depth oak influence.
**Blair Athol 23-Year-Old ‘: A limited-edition whisky which was distilled in 1993 and bottled by independent bottler Signatory Vintage. It is a single cask expression matured in hogshead casks, featuring notes of barley sugar, stewed fruits and a delicate hint of peat smoke, bottled at 55.1% ABV.
Keep in mind that limited-edition releases may not always be available due to their rarity and demand. Visit the distillery or browse through reputable whisky retailers to explore these special whiskies.
Pitlochry and Local Highlights
Blair Athol Distillery is located in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, Perthshire. This gateway to the Scottish Highlands offers a variety of local attractions to ensure a memorable visit. A must-see highlight is the Blair Castle, home to a fascinating history and stunning architecture. The village of Blair Atholl itself provides a charming experience, with lovely shops, cafes, and beautiful views of the River Garry.
The area surrounding Blair Athol Distillery offers a range of outdoor activities that cater to nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Some popular options include:
- Hiking: Explore the nearby Ben Vrackie mountain, which boasts breathtaking views and challenging trails.
- Killiecrankie: Delve into the scenic beauty of the Pass of Killiecrankie, a wooded gorge famous for its rich wildlife and history.
Beyond the distillery and outdoor activities, visitors can take advantage of the picturesque scenery in and around Blair Athol. Some notable areas for sightseeing include:
- River Garry: This beautiful river meanders through the heart of the village and extends to other charming neighbouring villages such as Calvine, Bruar, and Struan.
- Highland Perthshire: A drive through this region unveils an array of stunning landscapes, from the rolling hills to the tranquil lochs.