Edradour stands on the outskirts of the town of Pitlochry in Scotland. For many years it was considered the smallest distillery in the country. It is also one of the most picturesque, occupying quaint farm buildings that nestle in beautiful countryside. Edradour is owned by Andrew Symington of the independent bottler, Signatory Vintage.

Path to Edradour's distillery building with its white house facade and red doors surrounded by green trees on a cloudy day
Edradour distillery, Pitlochry


Edradour produces a floral and fruity Highland single malt with good body.

Maturation takes place in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. Common tasting notes include apple and citrus, creamy vanilla and dried fruits.

The distillery also produces a peated spirit with a heavy, smoky character which is bottled as the Ballechin single malt.

Barley grains
Glass of sherry
Grey smoke in front of a white background
A dark oak cask


Edradour is distilled from unpeated barley but Ballechin uses malt peated to around 50 phenol parts per million.

Little has changed since the distillery was founded. It still occupies the same buildings and relies on the same traditional methods.

There are two pot stills: a wash still and a spirit still. The spirit still is fitted with a boil ball to promote reflux and add complexity to the new make spirit. Each still feeds into an old-fashioned worm tub condenser.

Much of the spirit is aged in ex-sherry casks, though wine and rum casks have also been used to finish certain expressions. Ballechin is commonly matured in an ex-bourbon whiskey cask.

Most of the range is bottled at a higher strength of 46% or above. Only the ten-year-old is reduced to 40% and chill-filtered. This process prevents the whisky from becoming hazy when water or ice is added.

The distillery produces a special 12-year-old single malt named after singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean’s 1977 hit single, Caledonia.


In 1837 a group of farmers, led by Mungo Stewart, leased land upon which to build a distillery. Among them was a man named Duncan Forbes, who had been distilling nearby since at least 1825.

From 1841 to 1877 the distillery was managed by John McGlashan. It then passed to John MacKintosh, who increased production and successfully grew the business.

When MacKintosh passed away in 1907, Edradour went to his nephew Peter. Peter was hindered by bad health and recession in the blended Scotch market. He struggled to keep the distillery going and eventually sold to the blender, William Whiteley in 1933.

Famous bright red and green mash tuns of the Edradour distillery
Mash tun of Edradour distillery

Whiteley had built a successful business on the back of prohibition in the United States. He appointed Frank Costello, a leading figure in the Mafia, as his sales consultant. Costello was a major bootlegger of imported spirits and owned speakeasies all over New York. He was also the inspiration for Mario Puzo’s 1969 book, The Godfather.

Whiteley’s American affairs were often handled by Costello’s right-hand man, Irving Haim. When Whiteley came to retire in 1938, Haim took over his business and gained ownership of the Edradour distillery. It remained in his custody until he passed away in 1976.

Edradour was taken on by a consortium but in 1982 they sold to Pernod Ricard. The first official release of its single malt followed in 1986.

In 2002, Pernod sold to Andrew Symington, owner of the independent bottler, Signatory Vintage. New warehousing was constructed to house Signatory stocks and a visitor centre opened in the old malt barn.

Edradour's single malt has won thousands of devoted fans across the world. Such popularity inevitably led to expansion and a planning application was approved in 2015. The design included a new still house that would increase production capacity to 400,000 litres per year. By January of 2018, the spirit was flowing from the new stills.

Edradour may no longer be the smallest distillery in Scotland, but it remains one of the most charming