Strathisla Whisky Distillery & Story
Strathisla whisky distillery is located in the market town of Keith in the middle of the Speyside whisky region.
Founded in 1786 it is the oldest distillery in Speyside.
The Strathisla (strath-eye-la) house style is a gently peated malt whisky.
Some of the whisky is finished in Sherry casks to give a rich fruity whisky in profile.
Strathisla can age well in the cask leading to some old and rare whisky vintages available.
How the Strathisla Whisky Distillery story began
Alexander Milne and George Taylor established the Strathisla Whisky Distillery in 1786 making it the oldest distillery in Speyside.
Although their illicit distillery was built in the Strath (Gaelic for valley) by the river Isla, it was initially called Milltown because of its proximity to Milltown Castle. This was changed to Milton.
However, the whisky produced was called Strahisla-Glenlivet. Although a considerable distance from the Livet the use of Glenlivit in the name was to capitalise on the reputation of the Glenlivit whiskies that were highly regarded.
During 1823 the distillery is bought by MacDonald Ingram & Co. Seven years later the distillery was sold onto William Longmore in 1830.
Who profitably ran the distillery for many years and expanded the capacity by replacing the original 100 gallon stills with two stills holding 2,200 and 4,400 gallon each.
The distillery changes its name to Strathisla in 1870.
In 1876 part of the distillery was damaged in a fire and replaced with the buildings we see today.
The twin pagoda roof is thought to be one of the very first in Scotland.
Strathisla was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to market their whisky as a single malt besides supplying the blended industry.
William Longmore retires handing over control to his son-in-law John Geddes-Brown, William Longmore & Co is formed in 1880.
The distillery changed names becoming the Milton distillery 10 years later.
During 1940 Jay Pomeroy gains majority share holding in William Longmore & Co. In 1949 he is jailed for questionable business dealings and the distillery is declared bankrupt.
The following year Chivas Brothers purchase the run down distillery for £71,000 (£2.3 million at today’s values). They engage in restoring the distillery to its former glory and renames it the Strathisla Distillery.
In 1965 the number of stills were expanded from two to four.
Pernod Richard acquires Chivas Group in 2001.
Chivas Brothers still own the distillery and have moved their headquarters to the distillery together with a laboratory and a research and development department.
A major contributor to Chivas Regal, Blended Scotch Whisky.
Strathisla Whisky Distillery
Founded in 1786 by Alexander Milne and George Taylor.
Location; Speyside region, Central district, Keith.
Water source; The Broomhill Spring.
Strathisla Whisky Distillery Equipment;
5 tonnes Stainless steel mash tun.
10 Oregon pine washbacks. 7 of Oregon pine, 3 of Larch. Fermentation time is 54 hours.
2 pairs of stubby pot stills.
The 2 wash stills are of the lantern type with descending lyne arms.
The paired spirit stills have boil balls with lyne arms ascending.
Matured in a combination of American oak bourbon and European sherry casks in traditional dunnage warehousing on site.
The Strathisla core range consists of a 12 year old malt plus the Distillery reserve editions found at Chivas visitor centre shops.
The whisky ages well in the cask leading to some old and rare whisky vintages available.
Our Strathisla Malt Whiskies
Take a tour of the Strathisla distillery
The distillery visitors centre is well worth a visit and regularly run guided tours of the distillery throughout the course of the day.
A number of the tours include tasting sessions where you can sample some of the drams they have to offer.