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Issue 66 - Return of the Big Tam

Whisky Magazine Issue 66
September 2007


This article is 10 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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Return of the Big Tam

Gavin D Smithlooks at the comeback of a Speyside classic

Optimism abounds in the world of Scotch whisky right now. The apparently endless potential of markets such as China and India is causing analysts to predict a future shortage of spirit and consequent price rises. Faced with a likely dearth of whisky, distillers throughout Scotland are cranking up production at existing distilleries, making plans to build new ones and dusting down plants that are currently silent.

One of those distillers is Whyte & Mackay Ltd, which has cause for real optimism with regard to the Indian market in particular, now that the company is owned by Bangalorebased United Breweries Ltd. Whyte & Mackay's response to the perceived long-term shortage of whisky has been to resurrect its silent Speyside distillery of Tamnavulin.

Tamnavulin is situated in breathtakingly beautiful countryside close to The Glenlivet, and its splendid location only serves to emphasise the strictly functional nature of the distillery itself. Constructed in 1966 for Invergordon Distillers Ltd at the height of the mid-20th century whisky boom, few concessions were made to aesthetics.

At that time, nobody, apart from William Grant & Sons of Glenfiddich, believed that the public might have any interest in visiting a distillery, though Tamnavulin – the mill on the hill in Gaelic – did go on to develop a visitor centre in a nearby former wool carding mill, complete with working water wheel.

With three pairs of stills and a capacity of four million litres per annum (lpa), Tamnavu...

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