The Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest distillery

Nothing has ever been ordinary about The Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest distillery. Since its origins among the smugglers and illicit stills of the 18th century, it has had a fascinating life. 

The Glenturret Distillery, owned by the Drummond family, received an official licence to make and sell whisky. Situated on the banks of the Turret River, two miles north of Crieff in Perthshire, the location of the distillery was as secluded as it was picturesque.

In those early days it wasn’t actually called The Glenturret, but was known as ‘Hosh’.


Water and Peat

An agreement was drawn up between the Drummonds and the proprietor of Ochtertyre Estate, Sir Patrick Murray, confirming their rights in respect of water abstraction from Loch Turret and the digging of peat, both for the purposes of distilling.

The water used in the distilling process contributes a great deal to the taste and make-up of the whisky, so its purity and quality are essential.

Knowing how important this was is probably why the Drummonds took steps to safeguard the continual supply of their water.



Despite the economic depression of the late 1830’s the distillery survived and when trade improved and economic confidence returned the Drummonds decided to capitalise on their investment by selling the distillery to Mr. John McCallum.

Little is known about the years of the McCallum ownership and whether John knew anything about distilleries and whisky production is unclear, however we can assume he didn’t have such a good head for business, as the distillery went bankrupt.



Following the bankruptcy, the distillery was sold to Thomas Stewart who made full use of the period of growth and expansion in the economy and in the Scotch whisky industry in particular.

In 1885, he was confident enough to borrow £1,000 which he used to enlarge the plant, machinery and warehouses.


Alfred Barnard's Distilleries of UK

Alfred Barnard visited The Glenturret and was impressed by the beautiful surroundings and the courteous reception afforded to him.

In his book, The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, he wrote;

“Here are no fads, appliances or patents, but like the buildings the vessels are all of the ancient pattern.”



All went well until 1920, when total prohibition in the United States was responsible for a drastic drop in sales.

The distillery fell silent in 1921, with the last barrel being removed from the warehouse in 1927.

A long closure and neglect of the distillery caused considerable dilapidation at the site. This along with the economic depression and the Second World War did nothing to improve The Glenturret’s prospects of revival.


James Fairlie and Glenturret's revival

A momentous year for the distillery when a gentleman called James Fairlie visited the site and after long consideration purchased The Glenturret and began its revival.

James Fairlie, having been an Assistant Manager with a Glasgow blending company, had the experience needed.

He was also a whisky enthusiast dedicated to creating whisky in a traditional fashion and preserving the craft of distilling. By June 1960, whisky was again in production.


Highland Distillers

The Glenturret distillery was bought by Highland Distillers, the same company who previously acquired Matthew Gloag & Sons in 1970, makers of The Famous Grouse.

The Glenturret single malt is one of the key whiskies in The Famous Grouse blend, and so Scotland’s oldest distillery became the spiritual home of Scotland’s best-selling whisky.


The Famous Grouse Experience

In 1999, Highland Distillers was bought by the Edrington Group, a major private Group in the Scotch industry and in 2002, The Famous Grouse Experience opened at The Glenturret distillery.

Nominated for an Interactive Entertainment Award at BAFTA, the experience includes a multi-media presentation, a choice of different distillery tours and of course sampling and tasting of some of Scotland’s finest whiskies.



World’s Largest Bottle of Whisky

The Famous Grouse Experience celebrated its 10th anniversary as the spiritual home for The Famous Grouse.

To celebrate, we created the world’s largest bottle of whisky, containing 228 litres of The Famous Grouse!

The bottle officially holds the world record and stands at an impressive 5 feet 5 inches tall, holding the equivalent of 8,000 drams of whisky.

It sits proudly on permanent display at The Famous Grouse Experience. A once-in-a-lifetime day out for any lover of whisky.


The Drammolier™ Experience

The Drammolier™ Experience is a new and exciting initiative from The Famous Grouse Experience.

Despite its heritage, whisky has no specific term for a trained and knowledgeable whisky professional and, over the years, has relied on terms such as ‘expert’, ‘consultant’ or ‘ambassador’.

The Famous Grouse Experience developed a team of Drammoliers™, who specialise in conceptualising the whisky experience for customers all over the country.


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