Balblair distillery

Balblair is one of the northernmost single malt distilleries in Scotland and a classic Highland whisky. With its full body, its own fruitiness and its clear spice, Balblair has developed a loyal fan base. The Balblair 12 years is the most representative offering, showcasing the light, fruity side of the distillery. If you’re more a fan of the sherry cask influence then opt for the Balblair 15 years.

Balblair Whisky

The Balblair distillery has been producing whisky in the northern Highlands since 1790. The name of the distillery Balblair means something like “settlement in the plain”. Balblair can be described as a typical Highland whisky and convinces with its force and intense fruit aromas. Together with the sister distilleries Old Pulteney, Knockdhu and Speyburn, Balblair comprises part of the Inver House portfolio. In 2012 Balblair was used as the setting for the popular film “Angels’ Share”. In the distillery’s warehouse you can still see the hole in the window that plays an important role in the film.

House Style

What does Balblair single malt taste like? Balblair is a very interesting and almost “typical” highland malt of the northern region of Scotland. With its heavy and sometimes very spicy distillery character, it unites the stormy contradictions of the region and its fine citrus notes. Balblair single malts are mostly dry, very fruity and full in the body, which is often reflected in a certain creamy creaminess. Even in old age, they still have a lot of spice and force. The malt for Balblair is not dried over peat fire, which is why no peat smoke can be found in Balblair whiskies. Balblair generally work with a barrel combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry barrels, which leads to diverse fruit flavors, a range of other casks can be found on offer from time to time however.


How is Balblair whisky made? Balblair is one of the smaller distilleries in Scotland, with its three onion-shaped stills, the distillery produces about 1.3 million liters of alcohol annually. The massive and bulbous shape of the copper pot stills and the wide neck contribute to the heavy character of the Balblair Single Malts. This way, the heavy and spicy components of the alcohol vapor pass through the condensers and into the new make. The Glenmorangie Distillery, which is not far away, serves as a stark contrast. With its extremely tall and slender stills, Glenmorangie tries, for example, to create a mild and mild liquid. Balblair also owns a 4.6 ton stainless steel mash tun and six Douglaisen wood fermentation tanks. The water for the Balblair is taken from Allt Dearg Burn, the malt is purchased from Glen Ord Maltings. Historically, Balblair has been one of the most important components of Ballantine’s Blend. It is thanks to Inver House that the whisky from the distillery is increasingly available as a single malt.


Founded in 1790 by John Ross, Balblair is one of the oldest still active whisky distilleries in Scotland. It is interesting that many of the distillery’s employees still bear the surname “Ross”. A common name in the region, which is not accidentally called “Rosshire”. Very few distilleries that still exist today were built before 1800. However, no buildings from this time are preserved. The distillery’s current appearance dates from 1896. Between 1911 and 1947, Balblair was closed. The distillery changed owners several times and initially belonged to Robert Cummings. Then the Canadian company Hiram Walker came into the possession of Balblair. This in turn later merged into Allied Distillers before the distillery came to Inver House in 1996. Inver House was acquired in 2001 by International Beverage Holdings Ltd, the international part of ThaiBev.

Balblair factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Balblair bal*blair Highlands Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 1790 - Present Malt Balblair Tour Link
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group
Stuart Harvey ThaiBev

Balblair Timeline:

1749: Balblair 2 Records exist of distilleries on the site

1790: Balblair 2 Established by John Ross of the Clan Ross. The location of the original Distillery is uncertain, but some of the present buildings may date back from the 18th century

c.1872: Balblair 2 Built on this site by Andrew Ross & Son (still present 2004)

1887: Balblair 2 Still there

1896-1910: Balblair 2 Alex Cowan & Co.

1915-47: Balblair 2 Distillery closed and not revived until 1947

1947: Balblair 2 Taken over by R. Cumming & Son, Banff

1949: Balblair 2 In production

1970: Balblair 2 Purchased from Cummings by Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd., subsidiary of Hiram Walker-Gooderham & Worts (Scotland) Ltd., Canada

....: Balblair 2 Extended from two to three stills

....: Balblair 2 Sold to Allied Distillers Ltd.

1996: Balblair 2 Closed an sold to Inver House Distillers Ltd. by Allied Distillers Ltd.

1997-May: Balblair 2 Production started again

Can I tour Balblair?

Yes Balblair distillery is tourable. On Trip Advisor the distillery has been rated as excellent by 129 of 163 tours to date. This gives Balblair an overall rating of 4.5

Latest reviews

Best Distillery by Jo S

Friendly and knowledgeable staff, Donna and Nigel were very welcoming. Excellent experience all round and felt Covid safe. Best distillery I’ve been too and would recommend the personalised whiskey experience.

Best Distillery by Craig S

The staff were very friendly. Donna & Nigel were very knowledgeable and welcoming. The best distillery I have been to. A place to visit.

Learned So Much! by Pamela N

Had a wonderful tasting today. Very informative and enjoyable. Our host was very knowledgeable and interesting. Would highly recommend!

Rating Reviews
Excellent 129
Very good 29
Average 4
Poor 0
Terrible 1