When I first visited The Edradour Whisky Distillery about 20 years ago, it was known as the smallest distillery in Scotland. Since then, a number of new distilleries have modelled themselves on Edradour, while it has doubled in size.

The Edradour Whisky Distillery

The distillery attracts around 400,000 visitors a year from all over the world. Thank goodness the grounds are beautiful because the distillery itself is not much larger than a double garage.

The output at Edradour is about the same per annum as some of the big distilleries achieve in a week. It’s tiny. But not a drop is wasted, it’s shipped all over the world and demand outstrips supply.

Years of barley dust

From the moment I walked up the driveway I was so smitten by this chocolate box distillery that I wanted to find out more about it. Fortunately it had just been taken into private hands from Pernod Ricard but the history of the place appeared to be very vague. I took an interest, got to the know the owner, and in 2006 made a documentary (see bottom of post) and the following year published a book on the history of the distillery. (Still available from the Amazon Kindle Store)

Barley. Once the sugar is extracted the husks are used for cattle feed.

There is a simplicity and honesty to whisky making that I love. Barley, water and yeast. Copper stills to boil in, and wood to mature in. When I first visited it was a two-man job to run the distillery but now it hums along like a narrowboat with mostly one person gently steering it forward.

You can see the decades of paint layers.

I go back every few years to say hello and stock up, of course. My last visit, in November 2018, was just before the original distillery was to close for a complete overhaul and refurbishment. I had planned to revisit in 2020 when it was back up and running but needless to say that didn’t happen.

The Mash Tun – about 90 years old before it was replaced.
The Water of Life – clear spirit ready to mature in ex-American Bourbon Casks

However, I am planning to go back in the next couple of months and document the changes. In 2025 it will be 200 years since the distillery was first established and I’m pleased to have a played a part in writing, photographing and filming that history.

There’s a heady aroma in the warehouse.