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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Glenesk  aka Hillside

Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Highland Distillery 1897-1985

Glenesk  Scotch Whisky Distillery History

The Glenesk distillery has been known by several other names a.k.a. Hillside, a.k.a. Highland Esk, a.k.a. North Esk and a.k.a. Montrose.  Located on the site of former flax mill the distillery was originally named ‘Highland Esk Distillery’ and was established by James Isles a Dundee wine merchant in 1897


The distillery was purchased in 1899 by J.F Caille Heddle who renamed it North Esk Distillery The distillery was damaged by fire in 1910 and was subsequently rebuilt only to be closed during WWI


After the war, in 1919, Thomas Bernard & Co acquired the premises; they worked the maltings whilst the distillery remained silent until 1938.


During 1938 the distillery is taken over by Associated Scottish Distilleries and the distillery was changed to produce grain whisky as the ‘Montrose Distillery’


At some point in 1954 the distillery was sold to DCL, which made use of the warehouses and maltings only. Ten years later in 1964 control is moved to SMD and the distillery is reverted back to producing Malt Whisky this time under the name of ‘Hillside’


In 1968 large drum maltings were installed to supply its malt and to other SMD operations.  The name was changed to Glenesk Distillery and Maltings in 1980


Five years later the distillery was mothballed and in 1992 the license is cancelled


The whisky produced was an important contributor to Vat 69 blend.


Glenesk Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottlings


Glenesk 12 Year Old Flora & Fauna


Glenesk Single Malt Scotch Whisky Older Distillery Bottlings


Bottled under Hillside name

Hillside 25 Year old 1969 Rare Malt Selection

Hillside 25 Year old 1970 Rare Malt Selection

Hillside 25 Year old 1970 Rare Malt Selection

Hillside 25 Year old 1971 Rare Malt Selection


Glenesk  Single Malt Scotch Whisky  

Independent Bottlings 



Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon & MacPhail),

Duncan Taylor Collection

Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing),

Rare Auld (Duncan Taylor )


Un-Chill Filtered  (Signatory).


Glen Esk 1984 43% Connoisseurs Choice

(Gordon & MacPhail),

Tasting Note.

Colour: Pale gold.



Nose: Aromatic with peppery and earthy aromas. Traces of dried fruits with smoky (bonfire embers) elements. A little toffee sweetness emerges.


Palate: Sweet with smoky notes. Some fruit flavours combined with dry grass and sandalwood.


With Water

Nose: Smoke aromas to the fore with earthy, moss-like notes also present. A little sherry fruitiness along with a subtle medicinal note.


Palate: Sweet flavours with floral hints. Some charred oak notes with the sherry influence again present.


Body: Complex.


Finish: Fruit elements with drying spicy/smoky edge.


Cask Type: Refill Sherry Hogsheads.


Whisky Style: Complex Highland Malt with rich, smoky character and

pronounced sherry influence.

Glenesk Distillery

Kinnaber Road

Hillside, Montrose


DD10 9EP


Distillery closed

Unlikely to reopen License cancelled

Glenesk Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Distillery Style Tasting Notes


Nose: Fresh and aromatic.


Palate: Medium light bodied. Sweet, malty and resiny.


Finish: Becoming dry and herbal.

Founded in 1897 by James Isles

Location Highland region eastern district

Water source River North Esk

License Cancelled in 1992