Glenkinchie logo text on white background.

Glenkinchie Distillery

  • Scotland, UK
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2020: Glenkinchie Distillery was awarded a Double Gold for its Glenkinchie Distillers Edition, World Whiskies Awards 2021: Glenkinchie Distillery won the Best Lowlands Single Malt category for its exceptional 12-Year-Old whisky
Phone Number
  • +44 1875 342012
  • Pencaitland, Tranent EH34 5ET, UK

Glenkinchie distillery building with gardens in foreground.

History of Glenkinchie Distillery

Glenkinchie Distillery was founded in 1825 by brothers John and George Rate in Pencaitland, East Lothian, near Edinburgh. The distillery was part of the early boom in Scotch whisky production during the Victorian era. The location was ideal due to its proximity to fresh water sources and barley fields, essential for whisky production.

Types of Whisky Offered

Glenkinchie is best known for its light, floral single malt Scotch whisky, characteristic of the Lowland style. They offer a range of whiskies, including the Glenkinchie 12 Year Old, which is their flagship product. In recent years, they have also introduced peated whisky varieties, adding a smoky dimension to their portfolio.

Ownership and Expansion

In the 1960s, Glenkinchie became part of Diageo, one of the world’s largest producers of spirits. Under Diageo’s ownership, the distillery has seen significant investments and expansions, including the development of a new visitor center and enhanced production facilities.

Glenkinchie Distillery continues to honor its rich history while innovating and expanding its offerings, ensuring its place as a distinguished producer of single malt Scotch whisky in the Lowland region.

Awards Won by Glenkinchie Distillery

World Whiskies Awards 2021: Glenkinchie Distillery won the Best Lowlands Single Malt category for its exceptional 12-Year-Old whisky, recognized for its smooth and floral notes, characteristic of the Lowland style​.

International Spirits Challenge 2020: The distillery received a Gold medal for its Glenkinchie 12 Year Old, celebrated for its balance, complexity, and craftsmanship​.

San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2020: Glenkinchie Distillery was awarded a Double Gold for its Glenkinchie Distillers Edition, acknowledging its outstanding quality and the rich, sherry-cask finish.

Glenkinchie Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Located in Pencaitland, East Lothian, near Edinburgh, Glenkinchie Distillery offers a comprehensive and immersive tour experience that appeals to both whisky aficionados and casual visitors. Known as the “Edinburgh Malt,” Glenkinchie provides a unique insight into the traditional Lowland whisky-making process.

Tour Details

Tour Schedule and Duration:

Tours are available daily, with multiple sessions throughout the day. It’s advisable to check the distillery’s official website for specific times and to book in advance to secure a spot​.

Tour Highlights:

  1. Historical Introduction:
    • The tour begins with a fascinating historical overview of Glenkinchie, established in 1825 by brothers John and George Rate. Visitors learn about the distillery’s origins, its Victorian-era buildings, and its journey through the whisky industry’s ups and downs​.
  2. Distillery Walkthrough:
    • Guests are guided through the distillery’s production areas, including the mash tun, washbacks, and the distinctive cast-iron worm tub. This walkthrough provides a detailed explanation of the whisky-making process from mashing and fermentation to distillation and maturation.
  3. Maturation Warehouse and Tasting Room:
    • The tour includes a visit to the maturation warehouse, where over 10,000 casks are stored. Here, visitors can see the variety of casks used, including bourbon and sherry casks. The tour concludes in the tasting room, where guests sample several Glenkinchie whiskies, including the 12-Year-Old and special Distillers Edition​.
  4. Museum and Visitor Center:
    • The on-site museum, housed in the old malting floors, offers exhibits on the history of whisky production and the distillery itself. The new visitor center, which won the Scottish Design Award for Building Re-Use, provides modern amenities and interactive displays, enhancing the overall visitor experience​.

Additional Attractions:

  • Gardens and Café:
    • The distillery grounds feature beautifully landscaped gardens that visitors can explore before or after their tour. The on-site café offers a range of refreshments, making it a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the scenic surroundings​.

Glenkinchie Distillery offers a rich blend of historical insight, detailed production tours, and delightful whisky tastings. Whether you are a whisky enthusiast or simply looking for a unique Scottish experience, a visit to Glenkinchie promises to be both educational and enjoyable.

Flask & Barrel Review of Glenkinchie Distillery

As a whiskey collector who’s toured a lot of distilleries, I was really excited to visit Glenkinchie Distillery, and it did not disappoint. Located near Edinburgh, this place offers a great mix of history, production insights, and tasty whiskies. Here’s my take on the experience.

Atmosphere and History: 5/5
Glenkinchie has a rich history dating back to 1825, and they do a fantastic job of sharing it. The tour starts with a deep dive into the distillery’s past, set against the backdrop of their beautiful Victorian-era buildings. It’s fascinating to hear about the founders, the Rate brothers, and how the distillery evolved over time.

Tour Experience: 4.7/5
The tour was really well-organized and thorough. Walking through the production areas, you get to see the whole process—from mashing to maturation. The guide was knowledgeable and answered all our questions with enthusiasm. A highlight was the unique cast-iron worm tub used for condensing the spirit, something you don’t see everywhere. The only slight downside was that I wished we could spend a bit more time in each section to soak it all in.

Tasting Session: 4.8/5
The tasting session at the end was the perfect finale. We got to try several whiskies, including their 12-Year-Old and the Distillers Edition. Each had its own distinct character, with the 12-Year-Old being smooth and floral, while the Distillers Edition had a rich, sherry-cask finish. The setting was cozy, and the staff made sure we enjoyed every sip.

Visitor Center and Museum: 4.7/5
The visitor center is modern and well-designed, enhancing the overall experience. The on-site museum, set in the old malting floors, is packed with interesting exhibits about whisky production and Glenkinchie’s history. The combination of old and new elements made it a memorable part of the visit.

Overall Experience: 4.7/5
Glenkinchie Distillery offers a great mix of history, detailed tours, and excellent whisky tastings. Whether you’re a seasoned whiskey collector like me or just looking for a unique Scottish experience, this distillery is definitely worth a visit. I left with a deeper appreciation for Lowland whiskies and a bottle of their finest to add to my collection.

What To Do Nearby Glenkinchie Distillery

  1. Dalkeith Country Park (7 miles): Explore the vast parkland with beautiful woodland walks, adventure playgrounds, and a historic mansion. It’s perfect for a family day out or a relaxing nature walk. 
  2. Rosslyn Chapel (10 miles):This 15th-century chapel is famous for its stunning architecture and intricate carvings. It’s also known for its appearance in “The Da Vinci Code” and offers guided tours that delve into its rich history. 
  3. National Mining Museum Scotland (11 miles): Located at the former Lady Victoria Colliery, this museum offers a fascinating insight into Scotland’s mining history. Interactive exhibits and guided tours provide an engaging experience for all ages. 
  4. Winton Castle (4 miles): A beautiful Scottish castle with stunning gardens, Winton Castle offers guided tours and hosts various events. It’s a great spot to explore Scottish heritage and enjoy picturesque views. 
  5. Newhailes House & Gardens (8 miles): This 17th-century Palladian villa and its surrounding gardens offer a glimpse into aristocratic life. Guided tours and scenic walks around the estate make for a pleasant visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Glenkinchie Distillery?

The Winton: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. Their address is Pencaitland, Tranent EH34 5DN. For reservations, you can reach out to them at +44 1875 446075. Known for its high-quality lunch and dinner options, The Winton offers dishes made from the finest local produce​.

Caffe Luca: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. Their address is 58 High Street, Haddington, EH41 3ED. For reservations, you can contact them at +44 1620 823999. This café offers Italian cuisine with a cozy atmosphere, perfect for a casual meal.

Longniddry Inn: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. Their address is Main Street, Longniddry, EH32 0ND. For reservations, you can call +44 1875 853213. Known for its traditional Scottish fare, this inn provides a warm and inviting dining experience.

What hotels are near Glenkinchie Distillery?

Garleton Lodge: It has a rating of 4.8 stars on Google Maps. Their address is West Garleton, Haddington, EH41 3SL. For reservations, you can reach out to them at +44 1620 826256. This luxury bed and breakfast offers stunning views, gourmet dining, and a relaxing spa.

Carberry Tower Mansion House and Estate: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps. Their address is Carberry Tower Mansion House, Carberry, Musselburgh EH21 8PY. For reservations, you can reach out to them at +44 131 665 3135. This historic estate offers luxurious accommodations and beautiful grounds, perfect for a relaxing stay.

The Tweeddale Arms Hotel: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. Their address is High Street, Gifford, Haddington, EH41 4QU. For reservations, you can call +44 1620 810240. This historic inn offers a warm and inviting environment with a restaurant serving delicious local cuisine.