Blair Athol Distillery is one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. After enjoying a leisurely conducted tour, you can mull over the distinctive character of the finished article as you sip your dram of Blair Athol 12 Year Old.
The History of Blair Athol Distillery
Blair Athol Distillery stands at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands in the picturesque town of Pitlochry. The Distillery produces a 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, with a mellow deep-toned aroma, a strong fruity flavour and a smooth finish. Blair Athol wins hearts through its contribution to the Bell's Blend, the most popular blended whisky in the U.K. and a leading brand in South Africa and Scandinavia.
The first documented evidence of a distillery on the present site dates from 1798 when John Stewart and Robert Robertson founded a distillery which they named "Aldour" - after the Allt Dour - the "burn of the otter" - which flows through the grounds from the slopes of Ben y vrackie. Their venture, however, was not a success, probably due to the heavy excise duties on malt whisky levied by the government and the distillery shut.
In 1826 Blair Athol was revived and by 1827 was being run by Alexander Connacher. The distillery was taken over by Peter Mackenzie & Co in the middle of the 19th century and was enlarged and improved so that by 1886 Blair Athol was capable of producing over 1,500 gallons (6,800 litres) per week. This has increased to 38,000 litres per week in 2003.
In 1933 Blair Athol was acquired by Arthur Bell & Sons, now a subsidiary of Diageo. The distillery had been closed in 1932 and remained shut throughout the years of depression and the Second World War. In 1949 it was extensively rebuilt and has been in production ever since. In 1970 an additional two stills were added.
A visitor centre was built in 1987, which today attracts around 80,000 visitors a year. You can see the distillers utilising the most valuable of local resources, the crystal clear waters of the Allt Dour. After absorbing a few secrets of the distillers' art on a leisurely conducted tour, you can mull over the distinctive character of the finished article as you sip your complimentary dram.
You'll find the doors of this Perthshire distillery open to visitors all year round although closed over Christmas and New Year - please see our website for details.
Children under 8 years are welcome but are not admitted to the production areas.
Getting there by Road
Leave the A9 dual carriageway (Perth-Inverness road) at the junction sign-posted for Pitlochry. Exit the dual carriageway to the left and follow the slip road down under the fly over and continue on the A924 towards Pitlochry. The distillery sits approximately 1 mile from the dual carriageway exit, on the right hand side of the road, opposite the BP filling station.
Getting there by railway:- From Pitlochry Station turn left, follow road up to Atholl Road, turn right along Atholl Road, keep going south after you pass under railway bridge. You can see the distillery on your left just after Little Church. Entrance is 250 yards further on.
Getting there by aeroplane:- From Glasgow or Edinburgh Airports head north for Inverness. Pitlochry is approximately 1.5 hours travel time from all 3 cities.