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Issue 36 - A rose amongst the thorns (Aberiour)

Whisky Magazine Issue 36
December 2003


This article is 14 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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A rose amongst the thorns (Aberiour)

Our Mystery Visitor discovers the Aberiour Distilery Experience

If you look carefully, there's a curious piece of distilling history just as you enter the Aberlour distillery. Right on the gatehouse of this Speyside malt, you can find a lion rampant engraved in stone, over the initials RTS.

Only the keenest student – and I'm showing off here – will recognise this as the logo of the long-lost Robert Thorne & Sons of Greenock.

An ambitious distiller, it expanded aggressively before the First World War, only to fail in 1915 but, in the meantime, it acquired Aberlour in its dash for growth.

Today, Aberlour is part of Pernod-Ricard, a group which has been investing in the brand for a number of years.

Until recently, the distillery has been closed to the public, but in August 2002 the parent company launched the Aberlour Distillery Experience.
I'm all in favour of these premium-priced offers. For too long, distillery tours have been too cheap and the ‘experience' reflected the price that was charged.

Finally, though, some of the industry is acknowledging that this is a luxury category and enthusiasts will willingly pay for something different and special.

By all means, offer a quick look round to the casual visitor – but present the more discerning consumer with a deeper and more thoughtful welcome.

This trend is obvious at Macallan (see Issue 32) and Glenfiddich (I will get round to you, don't worry!) but I was keen to see what Aberlour had to offer.

The tour is available from April to the end of October, and it's...

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