Whisky Magazine Issue 45
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Tullibardine shut its doors in the 1990s. Now, as part of a retail complex, it is back. Charles MacLean went to the triumphant reopening
Although it only opened in 1949, Tullibardine was the first distillery to be commissioned in the 20th century. Its creator was William Delme-Evans, a Welshman with a dream. Within four years he sold his distillery; it changed hands a couple of times and was then mothballed in the 1990s. Sad and dilapidated, it was bought and rescued in 2003, and was officially opened towards the end of 2004.
This is Tullibardine's story in a nut shell. Let's look at it more closely.
The distillery is located on the busy main road between Stirling and Perth, in the village of Blackford. The famous Gleneagles Hotel is nearby and ‘Britain's favourite mineral water', Highland Spring,
is drawn from the edge of the village.
For Blackford has been famous for its water since time immemorial. The first public brewery in Scotland was established here in the 12th century; King James IV ordered a barrel of beer from
here for his coronation celebrations at Scone in 1488, and granted the brewery a Royal Charter in 1503.
When Alfred Barnard visited in 1889, the brewery, which included buildings dating from 1610, was owned by R. & D. Sharp Ltd.
By the 1940s these ‘neat and lofty' buildings had become derelict, and in 1947 they were offered for sale. The site was bought by William Delme-Evans, a Welsh land surveyor and estate manager,
with a keen practical interest in brewing and distilling.
In 1940, aged 20, Delme-Evans had contracted tuberculosis, and during his recuperation had designed what he c...