Fettercairn is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland. The Highland distillery was once owned by the parents of former British Prime Minister William Gladstone whose legislation played an instrumental role in the future of Scotch whisky.
Fettercairn translates as the “foot of the mountain”, thanks to its location in the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountains. This site has furnished the distillery with a natural supply of mountain water.
Scottish landowner and campaigner for Scotch whisky distillation licensing, Sir Alexander Ramsay, converted his corn mill on the Fasque estate into a working distillery in 1824.
Five years later, in 1829, the distillery was acquired by Gladstone’s parents when they bought Ramsay’s estate. Gladstone, unlike some of his contemporaries, was kind to Scotch whisky during his tenure, abolishing malt and angels’ share taxes, and introducing pivotal legislation which permitted the sale of Scotch in glass bottles.
Fettercairn changed hands and closed its doors a number of times over the next 120 years before being bought by Whyte & Mackay in 1973. During the 1950s, the Highland distillery was responsible for introducing the cooling ring. The whisky-making team discovered that pouring water down the copper still increased condensation inside, allowing the lightest and purest vapours to rise. The copper tube they moulded into a ring and repeatedly doused with water is unique to Scotland and still in use today.
The distillery’s house style is heavy and nutty. Its emblem is Scotland’s national animal: the unicorn.