Whisky Magazine Issue 121
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Originally closed in 1921 and now on the verge of reopening
Most of the current crop of start-up Scotch whisky distilleries is either a new-build or a conversion of existing and architecturally interesting structures. Annandale, however, is different. It varies from the rest of the new distillery pack in that it is actually the revival of a long-lost whisky-making enterprise on its original site and utilising as many of the existing buildings as possible.
Like so many other Scottish distilleries, Annandale – located just seven miles north of the England Scotland border, and 16 miles from the historic town of Dumfries - was established in the wake of the liberalising Excise Act of 1824, being created by former excise officer George Donald in 1830. After the death of Donald, the distillery lease passed into the hands of John Gardner in 1883, and during the next decade he proceeded to upgrade the distillery quite significantly, before it was acquired by the major blending and distilling firm of John Walker & Sons.
Walker already owned Cardow (now Cardhu) distillery on Speyside, and there is a plausible theory that the company took over Annandale principally in order to secure a source of peated malt for blending purposes. John Walker & Sons operated Annandale distillery until mothballing it in 1919, finally closing it for good two years later. Their association with the distillery came to an end in 1924, after which the Robinson family took on Distillery Farm, including all the distillery buildings, ultimately using the kiln for som...