Fettercairn is one of those interesting malts in the market. It's generally known for its unpeated character and lighter body. Despite the actual single malt White & Mackay blends usually have Fettercairn malts in them. Independent bottlings are also noticed which is handled by Douglas Laing.
Whisky profile has a distinctive oaky and fruity character. Aside from oak, dry fruits, chocolate, spices and cocoa nuances are strongly felt within its Whisky catalogue. Unconventional cooling also prevents it to have a sharp, strong alcohol character and brings out nutty, lighter and easy drinkable profile.
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Fettercairn's second owners, the Gladstone Family, later became the family of the Prime Minister, William Gladstone. William Gladstone is known to be the one who passed numerous reforms on Whisky taxation.
The first tenant of the distillery, James Stewart, was fined 21£, because he used stronger wort than the legally accepted amount. This may not seem much, but it was a sum equal to the whole amount of his annual rent to the Fasque estate.
The neck part of each spirit still has water sprayed onto it by a spray bar, that is located in a ring on the neck. This process aims to lock in the heavier spirit in the pot, rather than condensing in the neck and blending in the spirit, the end result is a lighter spirit.
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Located south of Aberdeen, Fettercairn is situated very close to the River Esk, nestled in the foothills of the Cairngorms. The Fettercairn name means 'the foot of the mountain.'
Alexander Ramsay founded the Fettercairn Distillery in 1824, by converting a corn mill into a distillery. Unfortunately he had to sell the property to the Gladstone family in 1829, after losing his fortune.
Interestingly, John Gladstone was the father of William Gladstone, who later became the Prime Minister, passing various reforms on the taxation of Whisky. The family retained the ownership by letting tenants rent the distillery.
Fettercairn Distillery was mothballed from 1926 until 1939, which was the year it was acquired by ASD Ltd. The distillery resumed a quiet production period until the 1960s, when two new stills were bought, creating an explosion in production.
The 70s were harsh for Fettercairn, it changed hands multiple times. The last owner happened to be White & Mackay. By the help of this ownership, the distillery safely lived through the 80s, when almost all of the Eastern Highland distilleries experienced intense economic crisis.
The early 2000s were a turning point for the distillery. An Indian trade company, Vijay Mallya bought White & Mackay, and decided to release luxurious expressions from the distillery.
Fettercairn Distillery benefits from its location, since it is situated close to the mountains, giving them access to pure spring water throughout the year. It has two wash and two spirit stills which are pear shaped. Both have 12,800 liters of capacity.
The distillery uses an open top mash tun and wooden washback. Cooling of the spirit is done with an unconventional cooling process. Unpeated barley is used for malting, which was acquired from industrial sites after 60s. Until 60s, they used floor malting process. They possess 32,000 casks on site.
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
OwnerWhite & Mackay
No. of stills4
AddressDistillery Rd, Fettercairn, Laurencekirk AB30 1YB, United Kingdom