A Pale Whisky. A Colourful History. It began in 1823, when
illicit whisky distilling was rife throughout Scotland.
Around half of the whisky sold at that time came from unlicensed
distilleries. Founded by two former illegal distillers and
smugglers with the vision and ambition to establish what
is today one of the most famous and most popular single
malt whiskies in the world. Glen Grant makes one of the
most surprising whiskies in the world. Single malt that's
clear in colour with a distinctively crisp, fresh taste
that has made it one of the world's favorite.
In 1840, brothers John and James Grant decided to take out
a licence. With the sea and port of Garmouth nearby, the
River Spey at its feet and barley-growing plains nearby,
all the basic ingredients of malt whisky were close at hand.
Best of all, this time the distillery was legal!
By 1872, the founders of Glen Grant Distillery had passed
away. Young James ‘The Major’ Grant, born in
1847, had always taken a keen interest in the distillery
and having inherited the business and the title ‘Glengrant’
from his uncle John Grant, he was to prove himself a worthy
Stories about ‘The Major’ abound. A legendary
innovator, socialiser and traveller, he lived by his own
rules and set his own standards. New ideas fascinated him
and he wasn’t afraid to explore them. He was the first
man in the Highlands to own a car. Glen Grant was the first
distillery to have electric light. And he introduced the
tall slender stills and purifiers which created the fresh
malty flavour and clear colour that defines Glen Grant whisky
to this day.
In 1931, Major Grant, the last Glengrant, died, survived
by his three daughters and a distillery that had become
one of the most famous in the world. Douglas MacKessack,
his grandson, was to become his successor.
In 1972, the Glenlivet
and Glen Grant Distilleries Ltd amalgamated with the blending
concerns of Hill, Thomson and Co.Ltd and Longmorn Distilleries
Ltd to become The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. The original
family interest in the distilleries was maintained, with
two substantial outside shareholders: Courage Ltd, the brewing
concern and Suntory Ltd, the Japanese distilling company.
In 2006, Campari acquired Glen Grant, its only whisky, when
Allied Domecq was acquired by Pernod Ricard. To this day,
Glen Grant continues to be one of the biggest selling single
And so the Glen Grant story will continue, as long as there
are people on Speyside with the skill and determination
to maintain the standards and traditions of the Grant family
and their descendents.
Today, after extensive restoration commencing in 1993, the
Glen Grant Garden was officially reopened in 1996. It remains
an extraordinary living museum of late 19th century gardening
style and a fine example of a Victorian woodland garden.
Whatever the season, a walk in Glen Grant Garden is always
If any ghosts wander the grounds of Glen Grant Distillery,
they must be those of the elegant guests who stayed at Glen
Grant House in the closing years of the 19th century. Stroll
through these grounds today and it’s easy to imagine
the vision of ladies in delicate silks and lace and gentlemen
in evening dress. The Major would impress his friends by
pouring a dram for all to enjoy with a splash of sparkling
cold water direct from the burn.
The garden includes an extraordinary diversity of plants,
from rhododendrons, Scots Pines, Douglas Fir, holly and
ivy, apple and cherry orchards, primulas, iris, roses, beech
trees, Japanese maples, the spectacular Brazilian marshland
plant Gunnera manicata and of course, a variety of hothouse
flowers and fruits.
How We Make Glen Grant
The difference, distilled.... Quite simply, our whisky is
a combination of highland spring water, heat, malted barley
and yeast, experience and a dedication to what we do. No
tricks or gimmicks. Just a time-honoured process we've perfected
So what makes our whisky so distinctively different? We
have James 'The Major' Grant to thank for that. The light,
yet complex spirit we produce is the result of the tall
slender stills and special purifiers he introduced over
a century ago and are still used to this day. He knew his
customers were looking for an alternative to the heavy,
assertive whiskies but unlike many other whisky makers,
he wasn't prepared to compromise by developing a blend.
Glen Grant's unique colour develops as it
is stored carefully in oak casks and matures over time,
creating clear, fresh, natural whisky, with a single malt
taste. Just as it should be.
Visting the Glen Grant Distillery
February to December (inclusive) Monday - Saturday
9.30am - 5pm
(last tour 4pm) Sunday 12pm - 5pm (last tour 4pm)
Admission charge is £3.50 for the Glen Grant
Distillery and Victorian Garden. Children under 18 years
old are free of charge. Children under the age of 8 are
not admitted to the production areas, but are welcome in
the visitor center and garden.
Access to the visitor center, stillroom and Major Grant's
study. During the summer months, a chauffeur-driven buggy
will whisk you up to the garden for your dram.
The Glen Grant Distillery is easily accessible from either
Aberdeen or Inverness airports. It is located on the north
end of the village of Rothtes about 10 miles south of Elgin
on the A941 Grantown-on-Spey road.
At the north end of Rothes on the A491, at the roundabout
(for the Americans please read traffic circle). The bus
service from Elgin passes nearby. Buses from Elgin
stop 100 meters from the distillery.
Parking / Reception - Park on the right -disabled
parking straight ahead in the courtyard. There is a lovely
approach through the woods and access the burn to the splendid
visitor center. It is light and airy with a modern style.
At reception, shop display and sales are in one place which
can result in congestion.
Glen Grant Distillery
Scotland AB38 7BS
Tel: +44 09785 35486454