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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Fettercairn Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Highland Distillery Information

Fettercairn Distillery History

The Fettercairn malt whisky distillery is situated in the fertile Howe of Mearns at the foot of the Grampian Mountains. An area popular with illicit distillers and smugglers as the locality provided them with the barley and the water for distilling and the mountains gave excellent hiding places to evade the Excise Officers. The Local Landowners turned a blind eye to the illegal distilling as the practice provided an outlet for the barley grown on their estates and so in turn paid their rent.


When the 1823 Excise Act was passed, Fettercairn became the second distillery to be licensed by Sir Alexander Ramsey the owner of the Fasque estate. He converted a corn mill on his land into the distillery and was in production by 1825.


During 1830 Sir Ramsey was in financial trouble and forced to sell the estate for a reported £80,000 to a John Gladstone. When he died in 1851, his eldest son, Thomas, Gladstone (Brother to 3 times Prime Minister William Gladstone) succeeded to the Fasque Estate. Prime Minister William Gladstone was influential in passing legislation to alleviate taxes on the 'angel's share'.


In 1887 the sitting tenant, David Durie, surrendered the lease shortly afterwards part of the distillery was destroyed by fire. For two years the distillery lay silent until Sir John Robert Gladstone became laird. He was prepared to assist a new tenant by investing a considerable sum on rebuilding. However, it was decided that the formation of a company to take over the running of the distillery would be best.


In 1890, Fettercairn Distillery Co. was formed by a combination of local farmers and London merchants. The rebuilding was completed and Fettercairn was back in production. The distillery prospered as the whisky produced was ideal for blending.


However licence and duty increases in the 1909 budget hit the distilleries hard and in 1912 the company was placed into liquidation. John Gladstone bought the distillery and by the end of the year a new company was formed. At the start of the 1920s prohibition and temperance was severely affecting whisky sales both home and abroad and by 1923 the Fettercairn Distillery Company was in liquidation. Although the distillery was leased again in 1924, production was very limited and the company folded closing the distillery by 1927.


On the death John Gladstone, James Mann became estate factor and canvassed several possible purchasers – including Arthur Bell & Sons and Scottish Malt Distillers, to no avail. So the decision was taken to dismantle the distillery. On hearing this James Mann was approached by Joseph Hobbs, working for Train & McIntyre, he had purchased Glenury Royal distillery at Stonehaven and was looking to buy several more. Initially deterred by the high asking price, he did finally purchased the distillery for £5,000 in January 1938.


Train & McIntyre was incorporated into Distillers Company Limited in 1953and in1966 the numbers of stills were increased from 2 to 4. During 1971 the distillery was acquired by the Tomintoul-Glenlivet Distillery Co Ltd who in 1973 passed ownership to the Scottish & Universal Investment Trust (Whyte & Mackay Distillers)

Eventually in 2001 becoming under the control of Whyte & Mackay


Fettercairn Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottlings

Single malt 1824


12 Year Old single malt  

24 Year Old single malt

30 Year Old single malt

40 Year Old single malt


Fettercairn Single Malt Scotch Whisky  "Fior"

Limited Distillery edition in a presentation box. Tasting Notes;-

Honey Gold in colour

Aromas of crushed pear, toffee apple and hints of cinnamon and vanilla.

A kiss of peat smoke with hazelnuts, orange rind, ginger and coriander complete the nose.

Taste:- bold dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans and peat smoke fused with nutmeg, mint citrus fruits and truffle.


The lingering finish proffers sherry trifle, marzipan and pineapple


Fettercairn Single Malt Scotch Whisky  Older Distillery Bottlings

Fettercairn 15 year old Single Cask.

Fettercairn Stillman’s Dram 26 year old.

Fettercairn Stillman’s Dram 30 year old.


Fettercairn Single Malt Scotch Whisky Independent Bottlings.


Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon & MacPhail),

Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing),

Private Cellar (Speyside Distillers)

Scotts Selection (Speyside Distillers).

Whisky Agency ( Germany)

Fettercairn Distillery, Laurencekirk , Kincardineshire AB30 1YE

Tel: +44 (0)1561 340244


Fettercairn Distillery Visitor Centre Information

Contact +44 (0)1561 340205


Please Contact the distillery for details before travelling

Fettercairn Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Distillery Style Tasting Notes


Nose: Very light. Slightly nutty.


Palate: Light and smooth. Vanilla, caramel, sweet light maltiness and nutty.


Finish: Short and drying.

Founded in 1824-5 by Sir Alexander Ramsey

Location Highlands region Eastern district, North of Brechin

Water source Springs on the Cnoc Calma


Fettercairn  Distilling Equipment

Copper domed cast iron mash tun

8 Oregon pine washbacks.

4 Relatively small pot stills. Spirit stills have water flowing down  the necks to cool the vapours.

Matured in American bourbon and European sherry casks