Glen Keith distillery was founded in 1959. It was built to supply malt whisky for the Chivas Regal blend at a time of increased demand for it around the world. It operated continuously until 1999 when it was mothballed. It remained closed for almost 14 years until it was re-opened in 2013 by Pernod-Ricard (the current owners). When it was originally built, the distillery had three stills. This was because the distillery was intended to produce triple distilled whisky to go into blends.
In the 1970s, the distillery increased its production capacity and added a pair of stills. It also adopted the more traditional double distillation method. When the new stills were installed at the distillery they were very innovative, they were the first ever gas-fired stills in Scotland. Most of the whisky produced at the distillery ended up in world famous blends like Passport and Chivas Regal. The distillery itself was the whisky equivalent of an experimental laboratory for distillers.
Many innovative distilling techniques were tried and tested at this distillery, some of them were: a peated whisky release where the peaty flavours came from the water and not the barley. Peat was burnt and it was passed through water. This peated, smoky water was used at various stages. The whisky produced in this way was released under the names Glenisla and Craigduff. Glen Keith also cultivated its own strains of yeast. In the past, distilleries like Glen Grant and Strathisla used the yeast strains cultivated at Glen Keith distillery. After it reopened in 2013, the distillery doubled its production capacity and today it produces around 6 million liters of spirit. Most of it ends up in blends.
Glen Keith produces a light and delicate whisky that blenders use in top selling blends world wide. Occasional independent bottlings appear from time to time.
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