Glenturret is Scotland's oldest single malt distillery that is still in operation. Nestled on the edge of the Highland town of Crieff, the distillery has been making whisky since 1775. It is one of the few in Scotland to exist since the 18th century. Glenturret had a long association with various blends, most notably Famous Grouse. However, since new ownership took control, the focus has switched to promoting the distillery's Scotch whisky heritage and a boutique range of single malts.
Glenturret is known for its robust and malty style of spirit. Notes of earthy cereals combine with green apple, tropical fruits, toffee and white pepper.
The core range consists of six single malts released on an annual basis. This concept was launched in 2020. Each year the expressions remain the same but the whiskies are different. The no age statement Triple Wood sits alongside the 10-year-old Peat Smoked and age statements at 12 and 15. Two limited-edition whiskies are the 25 y.o. and 30 y.o.
All featured marriages of American and European oak, with bourbon whiskey and sherry casks featuring heavily. Other special single cask or small-batch release bottlings are occasionally available.
Glenturret is a small distillery with a capacity of just 340,000 litres per year. It maintains traditional handcrafted practices and operates very much as a farm style of distillery. Glenturret is one of a handful of distilleries in Scotland to have an open mash tun. The capacity is just one tonne and mash is stirred with a rake by hand. They operate 10 mashes per week. There are eight Douglas fir wooden washbacks that run a long fermentation time of 120 hours. This develops extra tropical and fruity characteristics. There is just a single pair of stills. A small part of the year is dedicated to smoky whisky production and uses malt dried with local Highland peat.
Glenturret was established in 1775 by a group of local farmers. It was named The Hosh after they took over some farm buildings at Hosh Farm for production, which was located outside of Crieff in Perthshire. It was taken from another local distillery that had closed in 1852. It would not officially become named Glenturret for another century. Thomas Stewart became owner in 1875 and switched the name.
The 20th century saw numerous ownership changes and periods of closure following World War I and 1929-1959. Notable owners include Mitchell Bros Ltd. (who took control in 1907), James Fairlie (1959), Remy Cointreau (1981) and Highland Distillers (1990).
Proper stability was only achieved once The Edrington Group and William Grant & Sons purchased Highland Distillers in 1999. The joint venture saw Edrington hold the majority stake of 70%. The distillery was acquired so as to secure consistent stock of its malt for their Famous Grouse blend, plus other blends such as Cutty Sark. In 2002 they opened The Famous Grouse Experience at the distillery and made Glenturret the spiritual home of the brand.
Glenturret's recent renaissance has happened since The Lalique Group, the famous jewellery and crystal glassware company, took control in 2019. They quickly set about re-establishing Glenturret as a single malt brand. This included creating a new core range, redesigning packaging and revamping the visitor centre with the link to Famous Grouse cut.