Glenglassaugh distillery logo with coastal malt emblem.

Glenglassaugh Distillery

  • Scotland
  • 2009 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC), Whisky Advocate’s Top 20 Whiskies of the Year (2023), International Wine and Spirits Competition 2019
Phone Number
  • Glenglassaugh, Portsoy, Banff AB45 2SQ, United Kingdom

Glenglassaugh Distillery Visitor Centre building exterior.

About Glenglassaugh Distillery


The Glenglassaugh Distillery, with a rich history dating back to 1875, is a notable single malt Scotch whisky distillery located near Portsoy, Banffshire, in Northeast Scotland.

Founded by James Moir and his nephews, Alexander and William Morrison, the distillery was established to meet the growing demand for high-quality whisky.

The choice of location was influenced by the availability of pure water from Glassaugh Springs and proximity to local barley fields.

Early History and Operations

  • Founding Year: 1875
  • Founder: James Moir, Alexander and William Morrison
  • Location: Near Portsoy, Banffshire
  • Initial Purpose: To produce high-quality whisky for James Moir’s expanding grocery business

The distillery’s early years were marked by the founders’ commitment to quality, leveraging the site’s historical significance as a former location for illicit distilleries known for excellent whisky.

However, following the deaths of James Moir and William Morrison, Alexander Morrison sold the distillery in 1892 to Highland Distillers, a subsidiary of The Edrington Group.

Modern Developments and Ownership Changes

  • Reconstruction: In 1960, the distillery was rebuilt and upgraded to double its production capacity.
  • Mothballing: The distillery was mothballed in 1986 due to economic factors and later sold to the Edrington Group.
  • Revival: Acquired by the Scaent Group in 2008, Glenglassaugh was refurbished and reopened, marking a new era in its history.

Recent Achievements and Portfolio Expansion

  • Awards: In 2009, Glenglassaugh’s 30 Year Old and 40 Year Old expressions won prestigious awards at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.
  • Innovative Products: The distillery introduced two new products in 2009, including “The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name” and “The Spirit Drink that blushes to speak its name,” both unique takes on traditional whisky-making processes.
  • Current Ownership: As of June 2016, the distillery is owned by Brown-Forman Corporation, following their acquisition of the BenRiach Distillery Company.

Recent Launches and Future Direction

  • New Portfolio: In June 2023, Glenglassaugh released a new portfolio, including a flagship 12 Year Old Single Malt, showcasing its coastal style.
  • Design Inspiration: The new design draws inspiration from the Sandend Bay, reflecting the distillery’s connection to the land and sea.

Awards Won by Glenglassaugh Distillery

  • 2009 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC):
    • 30 Year Old Expression: Gold Medal (Best in Class) and Trophy for Best Cask Strength Scotch Whisky.
    • 40 Year Old Expression: Gold Medal (Best in Class) and Trophy for Best 40 Year Old Scotch Whisky​​.
  • Whisky Advocate’s Top 20 Whiskies of the Year (2023):
    • Glenglassaugh Sandend: Named ‘Whisky of the Year 2023’, chosen in a nearly unanimous vote​​.
  • International Wine and Spirits Competition 2019:
    • Glenglassaugh Aged 40 Years: Gold Medal.
    • Glenglassaugh Evolution: Gold Medal.
    • Glenglassaugh Revival: Silver Medal.
    • Glenglassaugh Torfa: Bronze Medal​​.

Glenglassaugh Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Location and Scenery

Situated on the banks of the Glassaugh burn, at the east end of the beautiful Sandend Bay, the distillery offers stunning views over the bay.

Founded in 1875 by James Moir, it has a rich history and sat silent for over 20 years until production was restarted in 2008​​.

Tour Experience

The tours at Glenglassaugh are more than just your average distillery tour. They offer an opportunity to learn about the distillery’s history and see first-hand the traditional distilling methods still in use.

The tours also provide a chance to enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery and even hand-fill your own bottle of Glenglassaugh from one of their octaves​​.

Tour Types

Visitors can experience a Revival or Behind the Scenes Tour, each offering a unique perspective on the distillery’s operations and products.

The tours typically last between 1-2 hours, making them a perfect way to spend part of your day exploring Scottish whisky heritage​​.

Accessibility and Facilities

The distillery is open all year, with different operating hours based on the season. From October to April, it’s open Monday to Friday, and from May to September, it’s open every day of the week.

The facility includes accessible toilets and level access, ensuring a comfortable visit for all guests. Parking is available, and the distillery is also on a public transport route​​​​.

Catering and Payment Options

While there’s a shop on site, it’s not clear if there are any dining facilities. Payment options include cash, debit card, and credit card, making it convenient for all visitors​​.


Glenglassaugh’s rural and coastal location adds to its charm and appeal. Being close to the sea, the environment plays a significant role in the character of its whiskies​​.

Flask & Barrel Review of Glenglassaugh Distillery

Recently, I checked out Glenglassaugh Distillery, and let me tell you, it was nearly perfect. As a whiskey collector who’s seen plenty of distilleries, this place stands out.

First off, the setting is unreal – right by Sandend Bay, offering amazing views. The history here is rich; it’s been around since 1875 but had a long pause before firing up again in 2008.

The tour itself was top-notch. Getting to see their traditional methods up close was a treat, and the option to hand-fill my own bottle was a cool touch. The whisky? Absolutely top-tier, with a unique flavor that’s hard to beat.

The distillery has great accessibility, which is a big plus. My only minor gripe? I wish there were more dining options on-site. But really, that’s just me being picky. Overall, I’d give Glenglassaugh a solid 4.7 out of 5. It’s a must-visit for any serious whisky fan.

What To Do Nearby Glenglassaugh Distillery

  • Suds Surf School: Just 981m away, perfect for some surfing fun. Open from 10:00 to 17:00, it’s a great way to enjoy the local waters​​.
  • Duff House: A historical site 13.06km away, open from 9:30 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 17:00. Spend 1-2 hours exploring this charming spot​​.
  • Gardenstown Harbour: At 23.74km distance, it’s a bit of a drive but offers a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll​​.
  • Deveronvale Football Club: For sports fans, this club is 13.07km away and open from 9:00 to 21:30​​.
  • Beggars Belief: A cozy café 2.81km from the distillery, offering a great spot for a quick bite or a warm drink​​.
  • Station Hotel Restaurant: 3.36km away, it’s a nice place for a more substantial meal after a day of exploring​​.
  • Portsoy Coffee Shop: Only 3.25km away, ideal for a coffee break in a quaint setting​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Glenglassaugh Distillery?

  • Aspire Restaurant: It has a rating of 4.8 stars on Google Maps. Their address is Aspire Restaurant, Seafield Terrace, Portsoy, Banff AB45 2QB, United Kingdom.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441261842983. 
  • Bengal Brasserie Buckie: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. Their address is 5a Cluny Square, Buckie AB56 1AH, United Kingdom.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441542835856. 
  • The Harbour Galley: It has a rating of 4.0 stars on Google Maps. Their address is Harbour Pl, Whitehills, Banff AB45 2NQ, United Kingdom.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441224083593.

What hotels are near Glenglassaugh Distillery?

  • The Seafield Arms Hotel: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. Their address is 17-19 Seafield St, Cullen, Buckie AB56 4SH, United Kingdom.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441542841604. 
  • Station Hotel, Portsoy: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. Their address is 22 Seafield St, Portsoy, Banff AB45 2QT, United Kingdom.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441261842327. 
  • Durn House: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. Their address is Durn House, Durn Rd, Portsoy, Banff AB45 2XT, United Kingdom.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441261843424.