The GlenDronach distillery
The GlenDronach pot stills
The GlenDronach warehouse
8.1 (645)
Year opened:
Aberdeenshire, AB5 4DB
The GlenDronach Distillery website
The BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd

The story of The GlenDronach Distillery


In a secluded spot in Aberdeenshire, nestled in the rolling East Highland hills, you’ll find the GlenDronach Distillery. Established in 1826, Glendronach is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, and is officially classified as a Highland Malt.Situated in the valley of Forgue, by Huntly, GlenDronach (meaning ‘valley of the brambles’) is surrounded by some of the finest scenery in Scotland. Ancient stone buildings and a cobbled courtyard straddle the meandering Dronac Burn, whilst the surrounding hills and woods create a stunning backdrop.Arguably one of the most unspoilt distilleries in Scotland, we are proud to use the same production processes today as in 1826. Many of the distillery’s unique attributes offer a distinctive character that you will not find anywhere else, and we are still producing the original richly sherried style of single malt Scotch whisky associated with distillery in its early days.GlenDronach is a veteran of the Scotch whisky world, with a chequered history spanning almost 200 years.Many colourful characters and stories have brought the distillery to life since it was first founded in 1826, including the extraordinary sales tactics employed by the resourceful James Allardice.

The legend

Founded in 1826 by the legendary James Allardice, GlenDronach was one of the very first licensed distilleries in Scotland (the Excise Act was passed in 1823, just 3 years earlier). Allardice was an interesting and individual chap whose sales tactics raised a few eyebrows. However, he went on to create one of Scotch whisky’s most treasured brands. Over the years, GlenDronach has seen many new faces, including Walter Scott (not Sir Walter Scott) for a number of years in the nineteenth century, Captain Charles Grant (son of William Grant of Glenfiddich fame) in the 1920s and William Teacher & Sons in the 1960s.Each owner had one thing in mind, and this was to produce an iconic richly sherried single malt whisky. And, to this day, this is what GlenDronach is famous for. Interestingly, John Duff (1842), who built BenRiach and Longmorn distilleries, actually worked at GlenDronach before that, so there is a connection between the 2 distilleries. He actually left Scotland after working at GlenDronach and tried to establish distilleries in both South Africa and the US, but was unsuccessful in his attempts, and returned to Scotland to pursue his vision.

Distillery features

  • 4 stills; 2 wash, 2 spirit
  • Coal-fired stills until 2005
  • Traditional dunnage warehousing (3 warehouses) and modern racking warehousing (3 warehouses)
  • Wooden wash-backs (Oregon pine)
  • Visitor centre
  • On-site floor maltings – non-operational
  • Maximum capacity ~ 1.4 million litres per annum
  • There are actually 3 houses on-site; Dronach House, the Brewer’s House and Glen House, the latter of which pre-dates the distillery (1771)
  • Gordon Highlanders’ Memorial Garden on-site
  • Water source local springs


  • 1771 Glen House is built
  • 1826 Distillery founded by James Allardice on the Boynsmill Estate
  • 1837 GlenDronach destroyed by fire
  • 1842 Allardice is declared bankrupt, and Walter Scott becomes the principal shareholder in GlenDronach, along with George Smith
  • 1920 Captain Charles Grant (son of William Grant, the founder of Glenfiddich Distillery) bought over the distillery
  • 1960 Distillery bought over by William Teacher & Sons
  • 1966 Increased from 2 stills to 4
  • 1976 Wm Teachers joins Allied Brewers (which later becomes Allied Distillers and eventually Allied Domecq)
  • 1996 Distillery mothballed / floor maltings ceased
  • 2002 Distillery re-opened
  • 2005 GlenDronach converts to steam heating – the last to heat the stills by coal fire. Allied taken over by Pernod Ricard & Fortune Brands, the brand portfolio is split and Glendronach goes to Pernod Ricard / Chivas Brothers
  • 2008 August 2008 The BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd completes the acquisition of Glendronach Distillery from Pernod Ricard for an undisclosed fee
  • 2009 3 new expressions are released by the new owners – a revamped 12YO (43%), and the new 15YO (Revival) and 18YO (Allardice) .The 1st distillery release single casks in the history of the distillery are launched – 5 casks – 1971, 1972, 1992, 1993 and 1996
  • 2010 The BenRiach Distillery Co acquires The Newbridge Bottling Plant from Pernod Ricard, creating a fully integrated Scotch whisky company. The company relocates its head office to the Newbridge Bond, just outside Edinburgh.