The Cambus distillery is currently owned by the Diageo group, which closed it in 1993 as part of restructuring measures. In its early years, Cambus produced malt whiskey, but from 1836 onwards, grain whiskey was produced. Cambus whiskey is characterized by a light and grainy character and, as a grain whiskey, is usually cheaper than single malts of comparable age.
About Cambus distillery
The Cambus distillery is believed to have been founded in 1806 in a former mill in Alloa, near the River Devon. Cambus was one of the 6 Lowland grain distilleries which amalgamated to form Distillers Company Limited (DCL) in 1877, today Diageo.
How does Cambus whiskey taste?
In contrast to single malt whiskey, Cambus is a single grain whisky so is typically lighers and more grainy. Grain whiskies are typically bottled much older so showcase the cask impact. The light aroma goes well with intensive maturations such as sherry barrels. Cambus whiskies are typically described as having a strong hint of rosewater on the nose.
In 1993 the distillery was closed and the technical facilities dismantled. The buildings currently house a bottling plant, bonded warehouses and a cooperage for Diageo. Occasionally, barrels are still being brought onto the market by independent bottlers though from time to time Diageo brings a limited original bottling onto the market, the most recent was aged 40 years old.
How was Cambus whiskey produced?
Cambus was a single grain scotch whiskey which means it is made from different types of grain and not exclusively from malted barley. Two coffey stills were used for production, which could be operated continuously. The water for the production process came from the Lossburn Reservoir, while the water for the dilution came from Loch Turret.
History of Cambus distillery
The exact details of the founding of Cambus distillery are somewhat murky as dates and accounts vary, what is clear is that in 1806 a distillery was founded in Cambus. The next record show John Mowbray (MourBray) registered the business in 1813, and gaining land title in 1823.
In 1836 Cambus became on of many Scotch distilleries to introduce a Robert Stein style ‘continuous column’ still, in essence converting from Malt to what we now call Grain. Cambus is noteworthy as one of the 6 Lowland grain distillers that became DCL, and later Diagio. The distillery was also recorded by the famed brewing and distilling historian Alfred Bernard who visited the site in 1885 recording that ‘rail sidings ran to all the principal warehouses’ and that the six huge warehouses on an 8 acre site held some 17,000 casks containing 1.4 million gallons, he also notes that such was their production that the site had 7 Excise officers. It’s protected position as part of DCL saw Cambus survive and even thrive the pre-war period until a fire in 1914 saw much of the complex destroyed.
Rebuilt in 1937 with production beginning in December the distillery fell silent again at the outbreak of the second world war. Ultimately in spite of constant innovation and upgrade including the fitting of rectifiers, carbon dioxide processing and a cattle feed drying plant the vast distillery fell surplus to requirements. Distilling was concentrated in the Cameronbridge, and now closed Port Dundas distilleries. The site now holds Diagio’s cooperage. Contrary to a number of domains the ‘Scotch Watch’ guard geese were found at Dumbarton rather than the Cambus distillery
|Name||Pronounced||AKA||Region||Country of Origin|
|Status||Active||Whisky Type||Website||Tours Available|
|Closed||1806 - 1993||Grain||Cambus||Not Available|
|Manager||Distiller||Blender||Owned by||Parent Group|
1806: A malt whisky distillery was founded in Cambus in 1806
1813: John Moubray establishes, or re-establishes the Cambus distillery
1836: Cambus is converted from malt to grain output with the addition of a Robert Stein style 'continuous column' still
1842: James Moubray, John's son, takes over the business
1843: John's grandson Robert Moubray assumes control of the distillery
1851: Robert modernises the distillery with addition of a Coffey still allowing the creation of 250 gallons per hour
1877: Cambus becomes part of the newly-formed Distillers Company Limited (DCL)
1882: DCL acquires the adjacent Old Cambus Brewery and expands the distillery
1906: Cambus advertises it's grain on the front page of The Daily Mail as 'Not a headache in a gallon'
1914: Fire ravages the distillery, forcing its closure
1937: Cambus is completely rebuilt at the cost of £275,000 and resumes production but ceases after only 2 years due to the second world war
1944: Cambus is reopened and resumes distilling
1964: Cambus becomes the first distillery to introduce an onsite waste processing plant
1993: The distillery is closed
2011: Diageo's restructure sees the coopering operations from Dundashill and Carsebridge moved to a new onsite cooperage
Useful Cambus links:
Interesting Cambus links:
Can I tour Cambus?
No, unfortunately Cambus distillery is not open to the public for tours