Whisky regions

Did you know?

20% of the Dornoch Firth land area is covered by Scotland's 'National Scenic Areas (NSA)' - areas which are considered nationally important for their scenic quality.

Balblair marked on a Scotland map

Balblair map
Country - Scotland
Region - Highlands


Balblair Distillery Balblair Distillery
IV19 1LB
tel - +44 (0)1862 892 477
web - www.balblair.com

Tours through the Balblair distillery available on request. Charges apply.

Balblair's story
Balblair distillery is located in the northern Highlands in the village of Edderton, which was found in a 2006 EU survey to have the cleanest air in Scotland. It lies close to the shores of the Dornoch Firth with the Highlands rising behind it and has the North Highland railway track running next to it, making the distillery one of the most picturesque in Scotland.  Water for the distillery is supplied by the Allt Dearg, whose waters originate from the surrounding hills. This is the original source of water still used to this day.

Balblair is currently owned by Inver House Distillers and is reasonably small, producing around 1.3 million litres per year. Considerable investment and a rebranding of Balblair’s Highland single malt whiskies as “super premium” in 2007, has lead to releases of vintages rather than the more common age statement.  Vintages released so far include 1979, 1989 and 1997 (released 2007), 1975 and 1965 (released 2008), 1991 and 1990 (released 2009), 1978 and 2000 (released 2010).

Balblair's history
Balblair distillery is the oldest working distillery in the Highlands, and one of Scotland's oldest distilleries with production starting in 1790 - only Glenturret, Bowmore and Strathisla have been operating longer. Records suggest, however, that a Balblair distillery was in existence in the 1740s.

It was founded in 1790 by John Ross and remained in the Ross family until the late 19th century, at which time was taken over by Alexander Cowan who took on a 60 year lease.  The distillery ceased production during the 1930s and 40s during which time the Army commandeered some of the buildings at Balblair distillery. In 1948, the Distillery was acquired by Robert James ‘Bertie’ Cumming, a lawyer from Banff, for £48,000. Bertie also later came to own Pulteney distillery, which is Scotland's most northerly mainland distillery and one of Balblair's nearest neighbours. Production not only resumed but the distillery rapidly expanded and production increased. Bertie sold the distillery when he retired in 1970 to Hiram Walker of Ballantine’s whisky, which went on to become Allied Distillers. Then, in 1996, Balblair was purchased by Inver House Distillers which is now part of the large Thai Beverage plc group.

Balblair's whiskies
Balblair 1989 whisky
  • Balblair Vintage 1989
  • Smooth and easy drinking with loads of character and complexity without becoming too overpowering. Vanilla, oak, and honey with fresh fruitiness.
  • click for tasting notes
Balblair 1997 whisky
  • Balblair Vintage 1997
  • Jammed full of dried fruits, vanilla, spices and some tropical fruit. Long and creamy finish with a citrusy tang, sultana, vanilla and spice notes.
  • click for tasting notes