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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Cambus Grain Whisky Distillery 1806-1993

Cambus Distillery Tullibody Clackmanshire.

Last Owners UDV

Location Lowlands

Water source unknown


Cambus Distillery History  

John Mowbray (MourBray) converted a derelict mill in 1806, located next to the River Devron just before it entered the Forth estuary, into a distillery. He registered the business in 1813 gaining land title in 1823; during the same year he started producing grain whisky on possibly an early coffey still or similar.


At a un-recorded point the business passed to his son James who expanded the distillery further. However in 1843 he was sequestrated and the business passed to his son Robert.


He further expanded the distillery adding a larger continuous still in 1851 making Cambus one of the largest grain distilleries.


Under Robert Mowbray control Cambus was one of the five lowland distilleries that formed DCL in 1877.


The Cambus Brewery was purchased in 1882 to increase the distillery’s malting facilities.


Alfred Bernard Visit 1886

On Alfred Bernard’s visit he recorded “rail sidings ran to all the principal warehouses” – 17,000 casks containing 1.4 million gallons – Total Warehouse Capacity 25,000 casks in six huge warehouses on an 8 acre site


Two Coffey stills with a third still house in the process of construction.


Output at the time was close to 1 million gallons of grain spirit a year


In 1906 the distillery introduced the 7-year-old Cambus Patent Still Scotch Grain Whisky.


Cambus enjoyed the strength and protection, given by the forming of DCL that helped it to survive the downturns of the 1900-1914 period.


However on, a stormy night, the 24th of September 1914 a major fire broke out in the maltings that eventually engulfed most of the distillery.


Luckily the bonded warehouses and their contents escaped the fire. The distillery remained closed until 1938 when an up surge in demand saw the Old distillery buildings demolished and rebuilt at a cost of £275,000. The distillery went back inti production during January 1938.


Over the next fifty years the distillery received further investment

1952 Instillation of a rectifier.


1953 Carbon Dioxide processing plant.


Over a two year period 1955 –1957 a further 18 warehouses added



1964 Cattle feed plant and then a dark grains plant in1982.


In 1966 operation was moved to Scottish Grain Distillers Ltd

However this investment was not enough to keep the distillery open and in 1993 United Distillers closed the distillery down.  


Cambus Grain Whisky Distillery Bottlings 

No official bottlings


Cambus Grain Whisky Distillery Independent Bottlings  


Clan Denny (Douglas Laing)



Cambus Single Grain Scotch Whisky

45 year old, 1965 distilled 45.9% 70cl

from the Cambus distillery.


Vintage 1965 aged 45 years


Taken from a single cask bottled by The Clan Denny.


Bottled at natural cask strength.


This cask reference HH5638 refers to a refill bourbon barrel.


Opens with a spicy, toffee'd fruit character on the nose reminiscent of caramelised bananas and melted chocolate.


The palate is mellifluous and smooth  carrying a sweet & spicy quality . Christmas pudding with butterscotch sauce.


The finish remains pleasantly sweet throughout, still spicy, plus a delicate orange tang (J)