The very sight of this relatively small distillery is breathtaking; however, it is amongst the oldest serving distilleries in the country of Scotland.
This Highland distillery is situated in Pitlochry which is more like the gateways to the other highland areas of Scotland. The Bell’s Blend, one of the most consumed and loved whisky brands in all of South Africa, UK and Scandinavia are proudly owned by Blair Athol. Their single malt whiskey is flavoured and with a pleasing aroma. Some drinks are around 12 years old in maturation.
The distillery was believed to have been founded by two men in 1798; John Stewart and Robert Robertson. They originally named it ‘Aldour’ derived from Scottish ‘Allt Dour’ signifying the ‘burn of the otter.’ The initial years of existence of the distillery were a failure and it was mothballed.
However, it was brought back and run in 1827 by A. Connacher. A little time later, in the 19th century, Peter McEnzie and Co bought the company over and enlarged it to be able to produce around 6800 litres of the unique whisky per week.
By 1932 and throughout the WWII, Blair Athol was shut until the new owners ‘Arthur Bell & Sons’ rebuilt it in 1949 and added two more stills in 1970.
In 2003, production rose to 38,000 litres weekly.
The Visitors’ Centre
Blair Athol’s visitors’ centre was constructed in 1987 and proudly entertains more than 80,000 tourists annually. A tour of this facility will show you how the dedicated distillers make malt whisky with locally obtained resources while you’re enjoying a taste from your dram.
Getting to Blair Athol by
Get to Perth-Inverness road via the A9 dual carriageway and alight at the junction where you’d see a signpost that bears the direction of Pitlochry. Travel left and get under the flyover onto the A924 which leads directly to Pitlochry. Just one mile after exiting the dual carriageway, turn to your right and there lies the distillery. BP filling station is on the right.
At the Pitlochry rail station, travel left towards Athol road. At Athol road, turn right and keep going south right through the railway bridge. The distillery is located on your left just a little farther than Little Church and its entrance is just 250yards out.
Coming from Edinburgh or Glasgow airport? Fly northward to Inverness. In about 1.5 hours, you should get to Pitlochry from thence.