Glenlossie is a floral and malty single malt from the Scottish Speyside region. As it is used almost exclusively for the Diageo blends, single malt fillings are the exception. The name of the Scottish whisky distillery Glenlossie is derived from the Speyside region where it is located; the ‘Lossie’ area around the Lossie river and the town of Elgin near the Moray Firth.
The Glenlossie distillery is located near Elgin in the Scottish Speyside region. Like the neighboring Mannochmore distillery, which was built on the same site in 1971, Glenlossie takes the water it needs from Bardon Burn. This is not the only thing the two have in common; Since Mannochmore was commissioned, the two distilleries have shared the warehouses and until 2007 even the employees; six months of the year production was in Mannochmore, the other six months in Glenlossie.
What does Glenlossie single malt taste like? Glenlossie whisky is soft, smooth and sweet with notes of hay and malt. There is always a floral note present. Glenlossie’s products are among the most sought after whiskies for blends such as Haig’s, so only a small percentage of the distillery’s production has been bottled as single malt for a long time. The first Glenlossie single malt was released in 1987. Happily a 10 year old standard expression is now part of Diagio’s Flora and Fauna range.
How is Glenlossie whisky produced? Glenlossie has an annual production of 2.1 million liters produced in 6 stills of different sizes. The malt is sourced from Elgin burghead maltings, and water for the Glenlossie distillery comes from the Bardon Burn. A stainless steel mash tun and eight wooden washbacks (fermentation tanks), each with a capacity of 45,000 liters supply the wort. There are three wash stills with 16,000 liters each, 2 spirit stills with 15,000 liters each and 1 spirit still with 13,200 liters. All stills are steam heated. Most noteworthy are the purifier pipes, which fulfill a catalytic function, so that parts of the evaporated alcohol are condensed and brought to evaporate again giving the whisky a particularly smooth finish.
The Glenlossie distillery was founded in 1876 by John Duff*. The success of the distillery in the early years was, in addition quality, in part due to the good connection provided by to the nearby railway line. Being readily available made it particularly popular among whisky blenders. The Glenlossie-Glenlivet Distillery Company was formed in 1895.
In 1896 John Duff, becoming involved in the day to day of Longmorn distillery handed the distillery over to Henry MacKay. 1919 saw the Glenlossie distillery taken over by Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL). Badly damaged by fire in 1929 the distillery required considerable rebuilding and repair. DCL transferred Glenlossie to their Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD) subsidiery in 1930. In 1962 an expansion saw the site expand from 4 to 6 stills. In 1971, the ultra-modern Mannochmore was built on the site of the Glenlossie distillery alongside a dark grains plant.
Until 2007 thee two distilleries shared not only their warehouses but even their workforce with distillation happening in each for 6 months of the year. With the general increase in whisky demand, both distilleries finally got their own employees and have been able to operate in parallel.
*The name John Duff is no stranger to whisky fans because of his involvement with Benriach and Longmorn distilleries. After almost ten years of successfully operating the Glenlossie distillery, Duff decided to emigrate to South Africa with his wife and three daughters and to establish South Africa’s very first distillery in Transvaal. However, his plans soon failed due to the anti-British attitude of the then South African head of state Paul Kruger. From South Africa Duff went on to the USA. Alas anti-colonial sentiments against the British led to a similar lack of enthusiasm about Duff, so he returned to Scotland in 1892 with his family. There he found work as manager of the Bon Accord (later renamed North of Scotland) distillery in Aberdeen.
But Duff’s entrepreneurial spirit and flair for investments in the whisky industry led him to a business partnership with Geroge Thomson and Charles Shirres from 1894. The three founded the “Longmorn Distillery Company”. Longmorn’s whisky quickly became very popular with blenders, Duff bought his two partners out of his stake in Longmorn and began to invest in the construction of another distillery, Longmorn 2 (later known as BenRiach). Shortly afterwards, the “Pattison Crisis” burst the whisky bubble, and Duff went bankrupt.
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1876: Established by John Duff & Co., who had been manager of Glendronach Distillery for several years. He had two partners, Alexander Grigor Allan, procurator fiscal for Morayshire, and H. Mackay, a land agent and burgh of Elgin. John Hopkins is mentioned as partner as well
by 1887: John Hopkins & Co. was entirely responsible for the sale of the fillings
1888: John Hopkins left
1895: Incorporated as the Glenlossie-Glenlivet Distillery Co. Ltd.
1896: Reconstructed under the same name
1897: John Duff & Co. was liquidated, and the Glenlossie-Glenlivet Co. was formed
....: A private siding of the railway between Elgin and Perth was constructed in order to lower the costs of transportation of incoming goods and outgoing whisky
....: Many improvements and additions were made to the buildings. A horsedrawn fire engine, which still can be found preserved at the distillery, was one of them
1919: Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (SMD) obtained controlling interest
1930: Ownership went to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD)
1950s & 1960s: New warehouses were built and electricity was installed
1962: Extended from four to six stills, which became all steamheated. Licensed to John Haig & Co. Ltd., Markinch, Fife
1968-71: Dark-grains plant installed
1971: Mannochmore Distillery was built within the complex. John Haig & Co. became licensed distiller
1999: Owned by United Distillers & Vintners Ltd. (UDV)