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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Balblair Scotch Whisky Distillery History

Founded in 1790, Balblair is the second oldest working distillery in Scotland. It is situated on the Dornoch firth, one of the most stunning scenic areas of Scotland. The area is known as the 'parish of the peats' whilst the name Balblair means battlefield or town of the plain.


John Ross founded the distillery and ran it as a thriving business until in 1817 he was sequestrated however this did not stop him and in 1824 was joined by his son Andrew in the family business.


The distillery stayed in the Ross family until in 1894 when the tenancy was taken over by Alexander Cowan. In 1948 the freehold was bought by Mr. Robert Cumming who promptly expanded the distillery and increased production. Mr Cumming ran the distillery until 1970 when he sold it to what became Allied distillers, for the first time in its history Balblair was not owned by local businessmen.


In 1996 Balblair was purchased  by Inverhouse Distillers.


The distillery itself is a two pot still capable of producing approximately 1.4 million litres of whisky a year. The water is drawn from the Ault Dearg burn which originates in the Struie hill.


Today the Ross legacy of the area lives on as four out of the seven current employees share the surname Ross


Balblair Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottlings

The Balblair range of single malts are now marketed as a vintage range

Every year the Distillery Manager, John MacDonald, selects the finest examples of Balblair from the maturing whiskies which he believes best exemplify Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky: rich spices; fruits and a pleasant leathery note. Of the thousands of barrels sampled each year, only a limited number are bottled as Balblair Vintage Single Malt capturing the very essence of Balblair.


Balblair Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottlings

Balblair Vintage, 2004, 2003,  1999,  1983, 1969,


Finished Balblair Vintage

Balblair Vintage  2002,  2001, 2000, 1989, 1997, 1996, 1995,1993, 1991,1990, 1989,  1979, 1975, 1978,  1966, 1965


Balblair Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Older Distillery Bottlings

Balblair Elements

10 year old

16 Year Old

24 Year Old

33 Year Old

38 Year Old

1989 Limited Edition

Peaty 1992


Balblair Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Independent Bottlings

A D Rattery

Bladnoch Forum


Creative Whisky Company

Dewar Rattery

Private Collection (Gordon & MacPhail),

Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Un Chill Filtered  (Signatory).

Balblair Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Highland Distillery Information

Balblair Distillery, Edderton, Tain, Ross-shire

IV19 1LB

Tel: +44 (0)1862 821273


Visitors by appointment.

Balblair Scotch Whisky Logo Balblair 1979 Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Balblair Scotch Whisky

Distillery Style Tasting Notes


Nose: Soft and delicate dried and citric fruit aromas, honey and vanilla.


Palate: Full bodied. Toffee, vanilla, intricate fruit, touch of spice.


Finish: Long, complex, rich and very smooth.

Balblair Vintage Taste Notes Older Balblair Notes Older Balblair Taste Notes Balblair Vintage Notes BUY WHISKY NOW

Founded in 1790 by John Ross

Location Highlands Northern Region

Water source The Allt Dearg


Balblair Distilling Equipment

Pair of pot stills.