Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Linkwood Distillery is situated in a secluded leafy corner
of the Highlands on the banks of a pretty dam and amongst
a thriving wildlife population. Swans have been associated
with Linkwood for at least two centauries and the dam is home
to ducks, heron, water hen and shags. Dippers feed in the
Linkwood Burn and otters, wild mink and red squirrels play
Elgin, Highland, IV30 3RD Scotland
Tel: +44 (0)1343 553 800
Viewer's Comments about Linkwood
This tranquil setting has been home to a succession of remarkable
men who have dedicated themselves to Linkwood's golden spirit,
and whose lives have woven the distillery's rich and intriguing
Linkwood Distillery was built in 1821 by Peter Brown, a factor
of the Seafield estates in Moray and Banffshire and a man
of much influence and forceful character. He was also one
of the foremost agricultural improvers in the northern counties.
The purpose of the Distillery was to extend the productivity
of Brown's land and provide the final link in the agrarian
cycle. Barley grown on the estates was used in whisky making
and the by-product from the distillery, known as draff, was
used as feed to fatten the cattle.
Customs and Excise records show that Peter Brown started distilling
at Linkwood in 1825 and was soon producing more than 1,000
gallons (4,500 liters) a year from two stills.
Peter Brown died in 1869 and the distillery was operated for
the next 35 years by his son, William Brown, who erected spacious
new premises in 1872-73.
In 1874, a local journal recorded that nothing had been left
undone "that could add to the convenience, durability,
or appearance of the establishment" and the quality of
the whisky being produced was "quite equal in flavour
and in every other respect" to that which gave Linkwood
its early reputation. William also expanded the distillery's
capacity to 50,000 gallons (227,000 liters) a year, founding
an extremely successful business which weathered a slump in
demand for whisky during the mid-1880s.
In 1897, four years after William Brown's death, the Linkwood-Glenlivet
Distillery Company was floated and the premises were further
extended. As a result, production capacity doubled. Linkwood
whisky had always been a great favourite in Speyside, but
now it began to fetch a good price in the markets in the south.
In 1902, the second of the remarkable men in Linkwood's history,
Innes Cameron, an Elgin whisky broker, joined the board. He
was e managing director for many years and when he died in
1932, he was the largest shareholder. Linkwood's success during
those years was later attributed to Innes Cameron's knowledge
of the whisky trade. Following his death, the company was
sold to Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd., which later became
part of United Distillers. Today Linkwood is owned by the
spirits conglomerate Diageo.
Linkwood, along with most other malt whisky distilleries,
closed during the Second World War because of restrictions
on the supply of barley. When the distillery reopened in 1945,
another remarkable man, Roderick Mackenzie, became manager
and his influence during the next 18 years ensured that Linkwood's
authentic character was retained. He believed the character
of a malt whisky was a complex relationship - not just of
the vessels in which it is made - but of everything in the
immediate environment. Mackenzie even refused to allow new
employees to remove cobwebs in the distillery!
In 1962 when it became essential to rebuild the distillery
and install new stills, Mackenzie insisted that, according
to custom, the new stills were exact replicas of those they
replaced. He started up the new distillery just before he
retired in 1963.
Demand for Linkwood's "elegant and complex Speyside
classic" whisky continued to grow and in 1971, an additional
distillery was commissioned to satisfy the demand by blending
companies for Linkwood malt whisky.
Linkwood Distillery produces a single malt whisky used for
blending. Actually, just only 1 or 2% of the production
is marketed as single malt while the remaining is used in
blends within the Diageo portfolio such as Haig, Bells
and Dimple and Johnnie
Courtesy of Diageo Scotland
The Linkwood Distillery is a complex of modern distillery
buildings and old warehouses. It still has an air, proper
to Highland malt distilleries, of having been there a
long time. The trees that shelter it from the north wind
and screen it from Dunkinty House are the successors of
those planted and maintained by Peter Brown and his father,
George. The description of the dam as "an exceedingly
pretty sheet of water" is still appropriate. Swans
drift on the surface with disdainful ease; but like the
dam, they are there for a practical purpose. The original
pair was brought here from Gordon Castle, long ago, to
keep down the weeds.
The dam holds cooling water from the Burn of Linkwood.
Other cooling water is piped from the Burn of Bogs and
process water comes from springs near Milbuies Loch. A
steam engine, supplemented by a water wheel, drove all
machinery until replaced by electric power in 1962-63.
During this time, the distillery was carefully rebuilt
with new stills added. Manager Roderick Mackenzie ensured
that any changes made in no way effected Linkwood's authentic
A second distillery was added in 1971 which included four
stills. In 1985, the old distillery was mothballed, however,
five years later in 1990, it was reopened and operates
a few months each year.
The Linkwood Distillery does not have a visitor centre.
Courtesy of Diageo Scotland