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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Glenlivet Distillery
The Glenlivet Distillery
|Number of stills
The Glenlivet Distillery is a distillery near Ballindalloch in Moray, Scotland that produces single malt Scotch whisky. It is the oldest legal distillery in the parish of Glenlivet, and the production place of the Scottish whisky
of the same name. It is described in packaging and advertising as "The
single malt that started it all". It was founded in 1824 and it has
operated almost continuously since. The distillery remained open throughout the Great Depression and its only closure came during World War II.
The Glenlivet distillery has grown in the post-war period to become one
of the biggest single malt distilleries in order to keep up with global
demand; The Glenlivet brand is the biggest selling malt whisky in the United States and the second biggest selling single malt brand globally.
Today, the distillery is owned by the French alcoholic beverages company Pernod Ricard and they oversee the distillery's production of 5,900,000 proof litres per annum. The majority of this – enough for 6 million bottles – is sold as The Glenlivet single malt, with the remainder being used in Pernod Ricard's blended whisky brands.
The distillery draws water from Josie's Well and other springs a short distance from the distillery. The barley comes from Crisp Maltings, Portgordon. Lastly, Glenlivet's stills are lantern shaped with long, narrow necks, all of which helps to produce a light tasting spirit.
The distillery has 4 wash stills each with a capacity of 15,000 litres and 4 spirit stills with a capacity of 10,000 litres.
Spirit from the distillery is then matured in oak casks formerly used
to mature bourbon (ex-bourbon), as is normal throughout the industry,
with some products being finished in casks previously used to store sherry and port.
Glenlivet is categorised as a Speyside distillery.
The Glenlivet range consists of 12 Years, 15 Years, 16 Years Nàdurra,
18 Years, 21 years, and 25 years, with a number of limited edition
whiskies such as the Cellar Collection. Glenlivet also produces a range for the travel retail and duty-free shop markets, which differs slightly from the normal range.
The main product range from the distillery is The Glenlivet
range of single malt scotch whisky, but whisky from the distillery is
also used in the production of Pernod Ricard's other brands, including Chivas Regal and Royal Salute whisky brands.
Bottling of The Glenlivet took place at a Chivas Brothers bottling plant at Newbridge just outside of Edinburgh, but that plant was sold at the end of 2009 with bottling to be transferred to other Chivas Brothers plants.
In 2008, The Glenlivet announced expansion plans for the distillery
to keep up with increased demand. This includes the installation of a
new mash tun, new stills and new wash backs.
Illicit distilleries were commonplace throughout the Speyside area
from medieval times but were largely made redundant with the passing the
Excise Act, in 1823. It was under this legislation that legal distilleries could be formed, subject to holding a license. Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon,
was allegedly instrumental in the passing of this legislation. Although
there is no historical record of his involvement in the issue, his tenant,
George Smith, who was operating an illicit distillery at the time,
became the first person in Glenlivet to apply for and receive a license
to legally produce spirit.
This would prove to be an unpopular decision, every other distiller was
operating illegally at the time and hoping the new Excise Act would be
repealed, something which would not happen if some distillers accepted
the new law. Threats were made against George Smith, so George Gordon
provided Smith with two pistols to be used to ensure both his own safety
and that of the distillery. In 1824, The Glenlivet distillery was established at Upper Drumin by George and his youngest son John Gordon Smith.
George Smith established a second distillery during 1849, named the Cairngorm-Delnabo Distillery but by 1855 or 1856, both distilleries were running at full capacity, and were unable to meet rising demand.
The operation of two separate sites was also proving difficult and
expensive, so plans were formed around the same time to build a new,
larger distillery further down the hill at Minmore. Construction of this
new distillery was underway when the old Upper Drumin distillery was
destroyed by fire during 1858.
Construction of the new Minmore distillery was sped up and salvageable
equipment from the Upper Drumin distillery was transferred to the new
Mimmore distillery. The Delnabo distillery was closed at the same time
and the best parts of the equipment were also transferred to the Minmore
plant. Production commenced at the new plant during 1859 and it was
around the same time the legal entity of George & J.G. Smith, Ltd. was formed.
George Smith died in 1871 and his son John Gordon Smith inherited the
distillery. The quality of the product from their distillery had
resulted in the other distilleries in the area renaming their products
to "Glenlivet" and by the time of George's death, several distillers
were doing so. J.G. Smith decided to take legal action and tried to
claim ownership on The Glenlivet name, this legal action was only
partially successful - the verdict forced other distillers in the area
to stop calling their whisky Glenlivet and gave J.G. Smith and the blender Andrew Usher sole permission to use the brand, but permitted other distilleries to hyphenate their distillery name with the "Glenlivet" name, which resulted in new distillery names such as The Glen Moray-Glenlivet Distillery, a distillery which is situated nearby.
The distillery remained open throughout the Great Depression, an event which affected many other distilleries; it wasn't until the Second World War that the distillery was mothballed for the first time, by Government decree.
In the aftermath of World War Two, Britain was heavily indebted and
needed to export large quantities of goods to earn foreign revenue
(mainly United States dollars).
Distilling was an ideal industry with whisky much in demand overseas.
Distilling restrictions were rapidly lifted and output from the
distillery was at pre-war levels by 1947, despite ongoing barley, fuel, and manpower limitations. Bread rationing was retained until 1948 in order to ensure supplies of grain for the distilleries.
Glenlivet Distillery (George & J.G. Smith, Ltd.) merged with the Glen Grant Distillery (J. & J. Grant Glen Grant, Ltd.) in 1953 to form The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distillers, Ltd.. The company would go on to merge with Hill Thomson & Co., Ltd. and Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries, Ltd. in 1970 before changing their name to Glenlivet Distillers Ltd in 1972. The company was then purchased by Canadian drinks and media company Seagram in 1977. Seagram's alcohol production interests were acquired by Pernod Ricard and Diageo during 2000, with ownership of Glenlivet Distillers passing to Pernod Ricard. Glen Grant Distillery was sold to Campari Group in 2005.
The Glenlivet is the best selling malt whisky in the United States, and the fourth best selling in the UK
with a 7% market share. The Glenlivet is the world's second best
selling single malt whisky, and current global sales total 6 million
bottles per annum.
A new extension with an additional mashtun, eight washbacks and 6
stills was opened by the Prince of Wales on 5 June 2010. The capacity of
the distillery has been increased by 75% 
A bottle of The Glenlivet 12 Year Old
- The Glenlivet 12 Year Old
- The Glenlivet 15 Year Old French Oak Reserve
- The Glenlivet Nàdurra 16 Year Old
- The Glenlivet 18 Year Old
- The Glenlivet Archive 21 Year Old
- The Glenlivet XXV 25 Year Old
Limited Releases - Cellar Collection
- The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1972 Cask Strength
- The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1959 Cask Strength
- The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1964 Cask Strength
- The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1967
- The Glenlivet Cellar Collection French Oak Finish 1983
- The Glenlivet Cellar Collection American Oak Finish 30 Year Old
These bottlings are only available through the travel retail market, such as airports and ferries.
- The Glenlivet 12 Year Old First Fill
- The Glenlivet 15 Year Old
Other products Glenlivet 70yo 1940/2010 (45.9%, Gordon &
MacPhail, Generations, sherry butt, C#339, 100 Bts.) Type Scotch Single
Malts (Disclosed Distilleries) Distillery Glenlivet Bottler Gordon &
MacPhail Brand Name Glenlivet Year Distilled 1940 Year Bottled 2010
Alcohol By Volume 45.9% Other Details Generations, sherry butt Cask
Number #339 Bottles 100 Issued 2010
Awards and Reviews
Glenlivet's offerings have frequently been submitted for review at spirit ratings
competitions, generally garnering relatively high praise. The Glenlivet
18yr is perhaps the most highly decorated of the offerings, winning
three double golds from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition
between 2005 and 2010 and yielding only slightly less impressive scores
from the Beverage Testing Institute and Wine Enthusiast.
The 18yr Nadurra, although only rated twice in recent years, performed
extremely well in both cases, earning a double gold medal at the 2010
San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a score of 94 from the
Beverage Testing Institute. Other notable results include:
- The Glenlivet 12yr Single Malt: Four silver medals and a gold
between 2005 and 2010 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
- The Glenlivet 15yr French Oak Reserve Single Malt: gold medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
- The Glenlivet 16yr Nàdurra Single Malt: silver medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
- The Glenlivet 21yr Single Malt: two double golds, one gold, and one
silver medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition between
2007 and 2010 and scores of 94 and 93 from the Beverage Testing
Institute between 2009 and 2010.
- The Glenlivet XXV (25yr) Single Malt: silver medal at the 2009 San
Francisco World Spirits Competition and a score of 95 from the Beverage
Testing Institute in 2010.