Strathisla Distillery is one of those beautiful, iconic buildings in Moray that most of us have never been into. On a quick drive past, you’ll notice the beauty of its twin pagodas and well-kept grounds but with current ownership under Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) and over 14,000 international visitors every year, what connection does this distillery now have with someone from the area?
Wonder no more; here are the first of five reasons for us to be proud of the heritage and the present existence of the wonderful Strathisla Distillery.
People – past and present
Strathisla Distillery – formerly known as Milton Distillery – was built and owned by local entrepreneurs for roughly the first 140 years of its existence. Having started on a small scale as Milton distillery in 1786, it was Keith-born William Longmore who rescued Strathisla by purchasing it in 1828 after the hardships of the Napoleonic war. He brought investment, expanded production and even long after his death the single malt enjoyed a fiercely loyal local following: „The lads and lasses tried their best sets of dancing,“ reported a local newspaper, „and ilka now and then a round of bread and ale, swool’d down wi‘ a wee drap o‘ Milton toddy.“ These local beginnings laid the foundations for Strathisla’s present success on the world stage.
Behind the beautifully renovated buildings of today’s Strathisla Distillery, you will find five local stillmen by the names of Graeme, Hugh, Tosh, John and Kevin, who between them have well over 100 years‘ direct experience in whisky production. There is not a question they cannot answer on any whisky-related topic, from the sugar content in the mash to the history of the stunning water-wheel now outside the front of the building. The local influence in Strathisla is still very much alive and kicking.
Are you feeling proud yet?