Rieclachan

The below is taken from The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard first published in 1887.

Rieclachan Distillery, Campbeltown.

WE finished up the afternoon by a visit to the Rieclachan Distillery which is situated at the head of Longrow, the principal street in Campbeltown, a district sacred to the memory of smugglers and their doings.

From the remotest days of antiquity distilling was carried on in the neighbourhood of the Distillery, if not on the very same spot in the year 1815 there was only one legal Distillery in Campbeltown, but nine years after several others were erected, all on the plan of the Old Pot Still or Smuggler’s Kettle, Rieclachan being among the number.

The Distillery is a fine old place, and was built in the year 1825 by the grandfather of the present managing partner. It is distinctly one of the old “Sma Still” works; but from time to time additions have been made, as the demand for the Whisky increased, so that it is gradually losing its old romantic touch of age; nevertheless, until it is pulled down and rebuilt (which would be a pity) it will always retain its primitive appearance. It covers an acre of ground, and is half a mile from the pier-head. The Establishment is approached by a short lane, and entered by an old-fashioned pair of gates, which were evidently made to shut in the secrets of the Distillery from the outside world, and as there is no other possible entrance, without scaling the buildings, the secret of making old malt whisky has been well kept.

The work consists of two very large Barley Stores, two Malt Barns 170 feet long and 42 feet wide, and two Steeps; a Kiln, with wire flooring, said to be the largest in the town; a Mill-house and Stores. The Mash Tun is 10 feet in diameter and a little over 4 feet deep. There are seven Washbacks each holding 5,000 gallons, two Pot Stills each 2,139 and 1,600 content gallons respectively three Receivers, holding respectively 2,362, 1,150 and 680 gallons; a capital 14-horse power Engine, and a Boiler 22 feet long by 7 feet in diameter. The offices used by the manager and Excise gentlemen face the entrance gates and are conveniently arranged for communication with every department. On one side there is a capital Cooperage and Cask shed, and opposite, a neat dwelling for the maltman and gatekeeper. The water comes from Crosshill Loch. There are three Warehouses containing 1,100 casks. The Whisky is Campbeltown Malt, and the annual output is 70,000 gallons.

Ten persons are employed on the premises. Chief Excise Officer, Mr. R. Wallace.