Glen Ord is the only distillery in the Black Isle, Ross-shire. It was built in 1838 by a local laird who leased it to a few distillery managers. The tenants harvested grain and paid their rent from the proceeds of their whisky sales. One of the tenants went bankrupt in 1847 and the license to distill was lost. The distillery kept operating illegally.
By the 1870's Glen Ord whisky enjoyed commercial success. Its spirit was being sold in places as far as South Africa and East Asian colonies. Some of the spirit was sold under the name 'Glen Oran'. The owner of the distillery, sold it in 1896 to a blending company from Dundee.
During WWI the distillery closed down because of barley shortages. When the distillery reopened in 1919 it faced serious challenges to get back on track. The distillery was sold to the Dewar's group in 1923 who in turn, sold it in 1930 to Distillers Company Limited (DCL). When WWII broke out, Glen Ord closed its doors for the duration of the hostilities.
A massive innovation was carried out at Glen Ord when electricity was installed in 1949. The 1960's saw a vast expansion in production capacity along with various innovations. After 1949, the next major innovation came in 1961 when the floor maltings were decommissioned and a Saladin box was installed. Malting floors came back some seven years later when Glen Ord became the supplier of malted barley for various neighbouring distilleries.
Glen Ord remains as one of three distilleries in Scotland with its own malting floors. It produces malted barley for Diageo's many distilleries including the ones located in Islay. It is one of Scotland's most innovative, the distillery was the first in the country to adopt a Biobed Modular Plant to treat waste water in 2001. The whisky from this distillery is sometimes released by independent bottlers and the official release is called The Singleton of Glen Ord. The bulk of the officially bottled Glen Ord ends up in the Asian market.
The style of Glen Ord is shaped by the distillery's usage of a long fermentation period, clear wort and plenty of copper contact during distillation. Whiskies from this distillery tend to have sweet, toffee-like notes, spice and grassy undertones.
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