The Glenturret is one of the oldest malt distilleries in Scotland. Since its inception, the single malt producer from the southern Highlands has changed names and hands many times.
It is thought illicit distilling took place at the site as early as 1717. In 1814, the Murray family sold Thurot Distillery – the earliest known name for Glenturret – to Thomas MacInnes who renamed it The Hosh Distillery. It started operating as a licenced distillery around this time and retained this name until 1873 when it became The Glenturret.
By 1890, whisky merchant brothers David and William Mitchell – who already owned one of the largest distilleries on the British Isles, Connswater Distillery – bought The Glenturret. The Mitchell brothers’ sons inherited the distillery but, as duty rates increased and prohibition decimated their US sales, were not able to keep it afloat. By 1923 The Glenturret distillery was shuttered, leaving 96,000 gallons maturing in the warehouses. In 1957, James Fairlie purchased the distillery, managing it for more than 20 years.
In 1980, Fairlie opened one of Scotland’s first distillery visitor centres. The distillery was part of Rémy Cointreau between 1981 and 1993, before it joined Highland Distillers, which is now called The Edrington Group.
Between 1963 and 1987, resident mouser distillery cat Towser reportedly caught 28,899 rodents at The Glenturret. The Guinness Book of Records calculated the body count after observing Towser for several days. The four-legged feline is immortalised as a statue at the distillery and has a distillery bottling in her name.
Silvio Denz – owner of Châteaux Faugères in Saint-Emilion and Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Sauternes – entered the whisky business for the first time in 2019 when he took a 50% stake in the distillery via his Lalique Group for £15.5m. Swiss entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss bought the other 50% for an undisclosed fee. The deal with then owners The Edrington Group – which owns Macallan and Highland Park – included the distillery, single malt brand and more than one million litres of maturing stock. Edrington retained The Famous Grouse.
In 2019, plans were announced to increase production from 170,000 litres annually to 500,000. Ex-Macallan Bob Dalgarno joined as Whisky Maker and a striking rebrand and reworking of the core range followed.
The Glenturret new-make spirit, rather than casks, are the dominant flavour profile. It is light and soft because of the long fermentation and slow distillation methods.