Aberlour Distillery logo with established date 1879.

Aberlour Distillery

  • Scotland
  • 2016 Distillery of the Year at the International Whisky Competition, 2020 3rd Place for ‘Best Single Malt Scotch 12 Year Old’, 2020 ‘Best Single Malt Scotch 16-17 Year Old’
  • https://www.aberlour.com
Phone Number
  • +441340881249
  • Banffshire, A95, Aberlour AB38 9PJ, United Kingdom

Aberlour Distillery

History of Aberlour Distillery

Early Beginnings

The Aberlour Distillery, nestled in Speyside, Scotland, traces its origins back to 1825. This initial establishment, however, ceased operations in 1833 when its co-lessees, James and John Grant, departed to create the Glen Grant Distillery in Rothes. The foundations of the current Aberlour Distillery were laid by James Fleming in 1879, with St. Drostan’s Well, named after a Columban monk, serving as its water source.

Rebuilding and Expansion

The distillery faced several challenges, including fires in 1879 and 1892, which led to significant rebuilds. In 1892, the distillery was sold to Robert Thorne & Sons. Despite these setbacks, the distillery made strides in increasing production efficiency. James Fleming, a notable figure in the distillery’s history, remained an active community member, contributing to local infrastructure like a community hall, a hospital, and a bridge.

The 20th Century and Modernization

The World Wars brought difficulties, often halting production. However, post-war expansion and modernization followed. The distillery was acquired by Campbell Distillers Ltd in 1945, marking a period of growth, with exports expanding to Europe and the USA. In the 1970s, the distillery underwent substantial renovations, including installing additional stills, which doubled its production capacity. In 1974, Pernod Ricard acquired Campbell Distillers Ltd and with it, Aberlour Distillery.

Current Status

Today, Aberlour is a part of Pernod’s whisky division, Chivas Brothers, and continues to thrive. It maintains a strong following, particularly in France, owing to its long association with Pernod Ricard. The distillery’s production process utilizes water from the St Drostan’s Well, contributing to the unique character of its whisky. Aberlour’s annual output stands at 3 million litres, testament to its enduring popularity and commitment to quality whisky production.

These insights into Aberlour Distillery’s history showcase its resilience and innovation, positioning it as a distinguished name in the whisky world.

Awards Won by Aberlour Distillery

  • Distillery of the Year: Aberlour was named “Distillery of the Year” in 2016 at the International Whisky Competition.
  • Aberlour A’Bunadh:
    • In 2018, it won “Whisky of the Year” at the International Whisky Competition.
    • It also achieved 1st Place in categories like “Best Single Malt Whisky”, “Best Single Malt NAS”, “Best Speyside Single Malt”, and “Best Cask Strength” in the same year.
    • Over the years from 2016 to 2020, this whisky consistently won awards, often placing in the top three for “Best Speyside Single Malt” and “Best Cask Strength Scotch”.
  • Aberlour 12 Year Old:
    • In 2020, it secured 3rd Place for “Best Single Malt Scotch 12 Year Old”.
    • The previous years saw it consistently winning or placing highly in the same category.
  • Aberlour 16 Year Old:
    • It was recognised as the “Best Single Malt Scotch 16-17 Year Old” in 2020.
    • In previous years, it frequently placed in the top three in the 13-17 year old category.
  • Aberlour 18 Year Old:
    • In 2019, it was awarded 1st Place for “Best Single Malt Scotch 18 Year Old” and “Best Speyside Malt Scotch 18 Year Old”.
    • The whisky consistently received high scores and awards in the preceding years as well.

Aberlour Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Tasting Sessions

Due to ongoing construction, there are currently no tours of the production areas at Aberlour Distillery. However, the distillery provides engaging tasting sessions which must be pre-booked. These sessions are available at 10 am and 2 pm and offer a deep dive into Aberlour’s whisky range.

The Best of Aberlour

This is a tutored tasting experience where visitors can try five different expressions of Aberlour malt. The selection includes classic age-statement whiskies as well as exclusive distillery-only offerings. This experience offers a lively exploration of Aberlour’s most beloved whiskies, each specially selected by the host.

The Single Cask Experience

For those interested in exploring the nuances of whisky maturation, this session involves sampling four single-cask, cask-strength whiskies from Aberlour’s Distillery Reserve Collection. This experience is a journey through different oak casks’ influence on the whisky.

Visitor Information

The distillery shop is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5:30 pm. Due to construction activity, visitors are asked to park in Aberlour village and walk to the visitor centre. There are facilities for disability access, but it’s recommended to call ahead for arrangements.

Location and Accessibility

Aberlour Distillery is set in a wooded hollow near the River Lour’s confluence with the River Spey. The distillery’s location and traditional appearance contrast with its modern equipment. However, it’s important to note that the current setup is unsuitable for wheelchair users.

Special Note

Due to the ongoing construction, full tours of the production areas will not be available until 2026.

Flask & Barrel Review of Aberlour Distillery

I recently visited the Aberlour Distillery, and I must say, it was quite an experience. As someone who’s toured many distilleries and has a passion for whisky, I was impressed. I’d give it a solid 4.7 out of 5.

The distillery, with its picturesque setting along the River Spey, really captures the essence of Speyside. Although the full tour of production areas wasn’t available due to construction, the tasting sessions more than made up for it. These sessions, especially the ‘Best of Aberlour’ experience, were a highlight. Tasting five different expressions of Aberlour malt, each with its unique profile, was a treat. The rich complexity of each dram spoke volumes about their craftsmanship.

I appreciated the depth of information provided during the tasting. It was educational yet accessible, perfect for both beginners and seasoned whisky enthusiasts. The Single Cask Experience, which included sampling four distinct cask strength whiskies, was particularly fascinating. It’s not every day you get to explore such nuances in whisky maturation.

The visitor center, temporarily set in the Gatehouse, had a welcoming atmosphere. The staff were knowledgeable and passionate, which always makes a difference. However, I did miss exploring the production side of things, but I understand that’s temporary.

The small group size (limited to around 16 people) made the experience more intimate and personal. It’s a nice change from some of the more extensive, more commercial tours I’ve been on. Pre-booking is a must, given the limited space.

Accessibility was a bit of a concern due to the ongoing construction, and I hope that improves. While the lack of an on-site café or restaurant is a minor downside, the charming town of Aberlour offers good dining options nearby.

What To Do Nearby Aberlour Distillery

Walkers Shortbread Factory Shop (0.2 miles): Just a stone’s throw from the distillery, this shop is perfect for picking up some of Scotland’s famous shortbread as a delicious souvenir.

The Spey Larder (0.2 miles): Also very close to the distillery, this is a great spot for food enthusiasts looking to explore local Scottish produce and delicacies.

The GlenAllachie Distillery (0.9 miles): A short distance away, this distillery offers another perspective on whisky making in the Speyside region.

The Linn Falls (0.4 miles): For nature lovers, a visit to these picturesque falls offers a serene and scenic break. It’s a gentle walk, perfect for unwinding after a whisky tasting.

Speyside Way Long Distance Route (0.4 miles): Ideal for those who enjoy long walks, this route provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the Speyside area.

Speyside Cooperage (2.2 miles): A bit further out, this unique attraction offers insights into the art of cooperage, crucial in the whisky-making process.

Speyside Tours (4.2 miles): For a more guided experience of the region, Speyside Tours offer various options to explore local distilleries and landscapes.

Cardhu Distillery (4.4 miles): Another renowned distillery in the area, Cardhu offers a different perspective on whisky production in Speyside.

Glenfarclas Distillery (4.3 miles): This family-run distillery adds to the variety of whisky experiences available in the region.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Aberlour Distillery?

The Mash Tun: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1340 881771. Their address is Broomfield Sq, Aberlour AB38 9QP, United Kingdom.

The Gather’n Café: This café has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. You can contact them at +44 1340 881749. The address is The Gather’n Cafe, 89 High St, Aberlour AB38 9QB, United Kingdom.

Plum Garden: This Chinese takeaway has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. Their contact number is +44 1340 871617, and they are located at The Square, Aberlour AB38 9PX, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Aberlour Distillery?

The Craigellachie Hotel: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +44 1340 881204. Their address is Victoria St, Speyside Way, Craigellachie, Aberlour AB38 9SR, United Kingdom.

Dowans Hotel & Restaurant: This hotel has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. You can contact them at +44 1340 871488. The address is Dowans Rd, Aberlour AB38 9LS, United Kingdom.

The Station Hotel: This hotel has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. Their contact number is +44 1340 832200, and they are located at 51 New St, Rothes, Aberlour AB38 7BJ, United Kingdom.