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Issue 133 - A Highland Queen

Whisky Magazine Issue 133
January 2016


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A Highland Queen

A Custodian Collection from Tullibardine

When Tullibardine Distillery in the Perthshire village of Blackford began to produce spirit during 1949, it marked a significant moment in the history of Scotch whisky. Tullibardine was the first new distillery to open in Scotland since 1900, and it heralded a slow but steady improvement in the health of the Scotch whisky industry, culminating in the ‘boom' period of the 1960s, when additional whisky-making facilities appeared in many a Highland glen.

Tullibardine may have been new to whisky making, but the name had been used during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries for a distillery at a now unknown location in the area. The chosen site for the second Tullibardine also had a strong Scottish drinks heritage, having been home to a brewery where King James IV of Scotland reputedly paused to acquire beer on the way to his coronation at Scone, near Perth in 1488.

The post-war Tullibardine venture was designed by William Delmé-Evans, who went on to create the Isle of Jura and Glenallachie distilleries. It was operated by Glasgow whisky brokers Brodie Hepburn Ltd from 1953 until the firm was taken over by Invergordon Distillers Ltd in 1971.

Tullibardine's capacity was subsequently increased by the installation of a second pair of stills in 1973, and when Invergordon was acquired by Whyte & Mackay Distillers Ltd in 1993, the Perthshire plant was considered surplus to requirements, closing the following year.

This could have spelled the end for whisky making on the site,...

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