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Glencadam distillery

Glencadam is a Malt Whisky distillery in the Scottish town of Brechin in the eastern Highlands of Scotland, near the foot of the Cairngorms. The name Glencadam can be translated as the valley of the wild goose.

Glencadam Whisky

The Glencadam whiskey distillery is located near the River Esk, between the football stadium and the cemetery in the approximately 7,000-strong medieval town of Brechin near Montrose in the southern Eastern Highlands. Dundee is around 30 km away. The village itself used to have two grain distilleries, Glenesk (a.k.a Hillside) and Lochside. Although the Glencadam Distillery is rather unknown, it is believed to be one of the oldest whiskey distilleries in Scotland, with its presumed year of foundation in 1823. The Glencadam distillery is the last remaining distillery in the village of Brechin, which was still home to the North Port (Brechin) Distillery until 1983.

For far too long, Glencadam was rarely seen as a pure owner’s bottling. But slowly the doors open and Glencadam Single Malt Whiskey are available on the market.

House style

How does Glencadam Single Malt taste?Glencadam single malts are heavy, spicy with fruity aromas and often have a tendency to flavor flavors of cream and forest berries.

The Glencadam distillery is rather unknown because its malt whiskeys were mainly used for the blending industry. Before 2009 there was only a 15 year old single malt as an original bottling. Since 2009, the new owner has been offering Angus Dundee Glencadam as a complete single malt line. Since the takeover by Angus Dundee, all Glencadam single malt whiskeys have been bottled at 46% vol. Without cold filtration and without color additives. Angus Dundee’s master blender is Lorne Mackillop.


How is Glencadam whisky produced?Glencadam is one of Scotland’s smaller distilleries, producing up to 1.5 million litres of alcohol produced annually using a traditional mash tun, 6 stainless steel washbacks and two stills.

Despite its proximity to the South Esk River, the water used for the whisky is pumped from Loch Lee, which is about 8.7 miles away. No other Scottish whiskey distillery pumps its production water from a source further away. The water is pumped through a pipeline into the basement of the distillery. Water is taken from the Barry Burn for the cooling processes. Glencadam obtains the unpeated malt, from a nearby industrial site and grinds it in its purple-painted old Porteus Mill.

The wort is drawn into one of 6 stainless steel washbacks, each with a capacity of 28,000 liters. Some of the fermentation tanks have lids made of wood, some made of stainless steel. The warm word is cooled to 22 ° C before fermentation is started with the addition of yeast. The fermentation produces not only heat (34 ° C) and carbon dioxide, but also the desired alcoholic liquid, the wash, which can then be distilled. The entire fermentation process at Glencadam only takes 48 hours.

The two small onion-shaped stills each with a volume of 14,000 liters stand side by side in a small stillhouse. The shape of the stills has not changed in the years since the first two pot stills in 1825. After the first distilling process in the wash stills (14,000 liters), the liquid, the “low wines”, has an alcohol content of 23% vol. The second distillation in the spirit stills (14,000 liters) gives the separated new make with 65 to 75% vol. The stills have a special feature: the gooseneck (lyne arm) on which the distillate condenses during the distilling process does not go off at a right angle, but points upwards at an angle of 15 degrees. This makes the character of the distillate milder and softer. Glencadam uses a wide range of barrels to mature from Port wine casks, sherry casks and ex-bourbon casks stored in its own eleven warehouses.

In the past Glencadam’s production has been mainly directed into the Ballantine’s and Stewart’s Cream of the Barley blends. Then in 2005 the distillery launched its first single malt a 15 year old.

Since 2009 and a subsequent expansion in 2010 an extensive range has been introduced aged; 10, 12, 14, 15, 21, 25 and 30 years. For the most part these are port and Sherry cask finishes.


Although there is some skepticism about exactly when the distillery was established, it is generally accepted the distillery was founded by George Cooper in 1825, shortly after distillation was legalised in Scotland under the Excise Act of 1823. Five years earlier than Glencadam, the North Port (Brechin) Distillery was founded in 1820 by the three brothers David, John & Alexander Guthrie.

In 1827, only two years after production started, the management of the site was taken over by David Scott. In 1837, unable to find a buyer for Glencadam, Scott mothballed the distillery. Glencadam lay silent until 1852, when Alexander Miln Thompson purchased the site. The Glencadam Distillery Company was formed in 1857.

In 1891 the Glasgow based blending company Gilmour Thompson & Co acquired Glencadam and the malt whisky produced became a core part or their Royal Blend (reportedly a favourite of King Edward VII). The distillery enjoyed a quieter peiod of production not changing hands again for over half a century.

In 1954 Andrew Stevenson and Harry Southwell sold Glencadam to Canadian group Hiram Walker (who took over the Strathisla distillery at the same time). Hiram Walker launched a major refurbishment and modernization of Glencadam, upgrading the site and adding two brand new stills in 1959. Allied Lyons (later Allied Domecq) acquired Hiram Walker, and thus Glencadam in 1987. Alas the distillery was mothballed by due to over-production in 2000.

The distillery resumed production under Angus Dundee Distillers (ADD) in 2003, who purchased Tomintoul at the same time. Angus Dundee were able to resume operations only two months after the purchase, as Allied Domecq had left the Glencadam distillery in excellent condition. Happily under the leadership of ADD Glencadam has gone on to relesae an almost dizzying number of bottlings, and has started to become more visible as a brand.

Glencadam factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Glencadam glen*ka*dam Highlands Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 1825 - Present Malt Glencadam Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group
Robert Fleming Angus Dundee Distiller

Glencadam Timeline:

1825: The distillery is founded by George Cooper

1827: David Scott

1852: Alexander Miln Thomson buys the distillery

1857: Glencadam Distillery Co. is formed

1860: Wallace & Scott

1867: Glencadam Distillery Co.

1890: James Ferguson & Sons

1891: Acquired by Gilmour, Thomson & Co. Ltd., Glasgow, who traded as Glencadam Distillery Co.

1954: Bought by Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd.

1959: Modernized by Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd. Two stills. Licensed to George Ballantine & Sons Ltd.

1987: Allied Lyons buy Hiram Walker

1994: Allied Lyons change names to become Allied Domecq

2000: Glencadam is Mothballed

2003: Angus Dundee Distillers plc buy the distillery from Allied Domecq

2005: A 15 year old bottling is introduced

2008: Glencadam 10-year-old and a redesigned 15-year-old are launched

2012: Glencadam 30 Year Old is released

2015: A 25 year old bottling is released

Can I tour Glencadam?

Yes Glencadam distillery is tourable. On Trip Advisor the distillery has been rated as excellent by 3 of 3 tours to date. This gives Glencadam an overall rating of 5.0

Latest reviews

Fantastic Distillery by Fiona M

We had a fantastic Distillery visit and were totally blown away with their single malts. Douglas was amazing. A real hidden gem of the Distillery world. As yet you can't just turn up but need to be organised in advance by contacting the Distillery for a tour only on a Tuesday or Thursday but well worth the organisation as it's a rare opportunity to have a tour with the Manager or production team you wont be disappointed!

Great Wee Distillery by KingGerrio

Thanks David, for taking time to show us round this hidden gem. I love to visit the less well known distilleries and this one didn’t disappoint. We were shown every part of the process and treated to a few tastings to highlight the craft of the team who work so hard to produce this fine dram. Keep up the good work guys.

Hand Crafted Single Malt by Mike D

An amazing tour of a distillery that that started in 1825 and still uses traditional methods to create their Single Malt. Tours are restricted to a small group, ours being just two people. We learnt so much about how the final flavour is created by techniques from the malting process to using copper during distilling. We would recommend this tour for anyone visiting Brechin or the Angus area.

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