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Cragganmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ballindalloch, Banffshire AB37 9AB Scotland
Tel: +44 (0) 1340 872555 Fax: +44 (0) 1340 872556
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Original Cragganmore owner, 'Big' John Smith choose the distillery's private location high on the Spey for a few great reasons. Barley is naturally a major crop in the area, the presence of Scotland's fastest flowing river - together with peat from the uplands to the south is what lured Smith to this ideal location along with access to Strathspey railway line. The perfect place for the perfect distillery. And who could argue with his genius? Successive managers of Cragganmore have strived to continue his vision to deliver the sweetest, most complex malt whiskies: fruity, honeyed notes are often found. And many a taster of has talked lyrically of fruitcake and toffee flavours. In the late 1980s, Cragganmore was deservedly chosen by United Distillers (Diageo) to represent Speyside in their Classic Malts series.

Nestling on the banks of the legendary salmon river, Cragganmoreª is, for many, the home of the definitive Speyside malt. It is known as 'the most complex aroma of any malt - astonishingly fresh and delicate'. Food suggestion: Why not try Cragganmore™ with sausages or meat pies? Taste style: Complex. Complex malts will gently unlock their aroma and taste secrets.

Courtesy of Cragganmore


Cragganmore 12 Year  - Photo Courtesy of Cragganmore  

Strength: 40% ABV

Appearance: Gold.

Nose: A complex of sweet floral fragrances, riverside herbs and flowers with some honey and vanilla. 'The most complex nose of any malt whisky' (Jackson).

Body: Firm, rounded, light to medium.

Palate: A strong malty taste with hints of sweet wood smoke and sandalwood.

Finish: A long malt-driven finish with light smoke and hints of sweetness.

Tasting Notes Courtesy of Cragganmore Distillery


Cragganmore Whisky Distillery

Although still only 36 years old, John Smith was a legend deserving of his motto by the time he came to this hidden place by the Spey in 1869. When a very young man, twenty or more years before, he was already manager at Macallan. He went on to be commissioning manager at Glenlivet in 1858 then, after a spell away from Speyside at the Clydesdale distillery in Wishaw, returning as the lessee of Glenfarclas in 1865. All the while, you suspect, this giant of a man (he weighed by various estimates anything up to 364 lbs.) had in mind the building of his own, definitive distillery on Speyside.

Leasing from Sir George Macpherson-Grant a site formerly used by illicit distillers at Ayeon Farm, part of the Ballindalloch Castle estate, he chose his time and place well. No new distillery had been built hereabouts for as many as twenty years, yet a boom was being enjoyed in whisky consumption.

Not only this, but Smith's chosen landlord was a major shareholder in the new railway; he built the distillery with a private siding in the confident expectation of increased freight traffic. Half a mile from the Strathspey railway at Ballindalloch Station, this was the first Speyside distillery sited to take advantage of railway transport. Designed by the experienced Elgin architect Charles Doig, the new distillery buildings were hewn from hard, granite-like 'greenstone'. This was quarried from the 1600-foot hill of Cragan Mor, from which the distillery name comes. Most of the annual output of around 100,000 gallons was immediately sold on to James Watson of Dundee for blending.

On John Smith's death in 1886, his 14-year-old son Gordon was too young to take over the business. John Smith's brother, George, oversaw it until Gordon’s maturity - during which time Cragganmore became the first distillery site on Speyside to take advantage of railway transport. In 1887 – one year after John Smith’s death - the first-ever ‘whisky special’ train left Ballindalloch with a load of 16,000 gallons.

Unusually, young Gordon Smith learned his trade in South Africa before taking control in 1893. In 1901, he rebuilt the entire distillery in the form we know today, though in keeping with tradition, the two pairs of flat-top stills (designed by John Smith himself) were preserved. Through later changes of ownership and two world wars, Cragganmore continued to produce a complex, highly prized malt, which in 1925 was rated by blenders the leading malt for blending in all Speyside.

Cragganmore Distillery, on the banks of the river Spey, is home to one of the most complex and characterful malt whiskies of the revered Speyside region. The distillery is on the official Scotland's Malt Whisky Trail which covers eight Speyside distilleries and the Speyside Cooperage.

Distillery Manager - Gordon Winton

Opening Times

May - September:
Mon - Fri: Tours daily at 11.30 and 14.00 By Appointment Only

Contact Us
Cragganmore Distillery,
Ballindalloch, Banffshire AB37 9AB
Email the Cragganmore Distillery
Tel: +44 (0) 1340 872555 Fax: +44 (0) 1340 872556