The Doric Columns
The Glenugie Distillery
Peterhead, Aberdeenshire in 1956
It was built on the site of an old Tower Windmill, remnants of this still survive, and it is overlooked by a ruined watchtower on a small eminence. 1833 – 1834: The Glenugie Distillery was established in the early 1830s and production started in 1837. Donald McLeod & Co. were the first owners, yet lasted less than 1 year. Glenugie was converted into a Brewery in 1873, but was then turned back into a Distillery by Scottish Highland Distillers & Co. Ltd who completely renovated the distillery. At this time, the annual output was 90,000 gallons. The distillery was very successful from 1884 until 1915 while it was owned by Simon Forbes. From 1925 to 1937, the distillery was silent until it was reopened by Seagar Evans & Co. Ltd before being bought by Long John International in 1970.
In 1956, Glenugie once again underwent a major renovation. Included in the renovation was an oil-fired burner which replaced the coal-fired system. As a result, production was significantly increased. The distillery had 2 stills. Since the 1970s, Glenugie's owners were Whitbread & Co. Ltd. Whitbread eventually ceased production due to a major slump in the whisky business and the distillery was permanently shut down and dismantled in 1983. The mashtun and spirit safe were sold and removed to Fettercairn. The latter now functions as the No 1 Spirit Safe. Forsyth Coppersmiths were involved in the removal of equipment.
official single malt bottlings were ever released, so we have to rely on
independent bottlers for an opportunity to taste it, The 1st known single malt bottlings were
1959 and bottled by independent -
In 1885 Alfred Barnard (1837-1918) Brewing and Distilling Historian visited over 150 distilleries, and amongst them were 129 Scottish distilleries. Of course he also visited the Glenugie Distillery.
Description - Leaving Peterhead by the Aberdeen road, and passing on the left the grand natural site chosen for the national harbour of refuge, directly in front of which is the well-known lighthouse of Buchaness, standing on a lofty rock, and further into the interior the distant hills sink into mountain ranges. The scenery around us was not very interesting, being merely hilly, but the glorious ocean fully compensated us, for the seascape here is one of the finest in Britain. After a good mile's journey we left the high road, and descending a hill soon found ourselves entering the gates of the establishment, and making the acquaintance of the courteous Proprietor.
The Distillery is situated at the root of a hill, and near to the sea shore. It was built in the year 1875, in a modern style, on 3 sides of a square, and was acquired by the present proprietor about 3 years ago, who has made very considerable improvements and additions to the plant, and the increasing demand for the Whisky will necessitate very soon the erection of a new Warehouse and Maltings. The buildings cover 4 acres, but the site laid off for the works is nearly double that in extent, consequently ample provision has been made for further additions when the necessity arises.
The barley used at this Distillery is principally grown in the Buchan district which is, as is well known, of fine quality, and very suitable for malting purposes. The principal Maltings and Warehouses consist of a building of 3 storeys, 100 feet long and 100 feet wide, built of granite and slate, the lower flat being used as Bonded Stores, the 2nd as Maltings, and the upper as a Grain Store, capable of holding 3,000 quarters. The barley to he malted is placed in a concrete Steep, situated on the upper flat, capable of holding 60 quarters at a time, and after being steeped is discharged by 2 doors in the bottom of the Steep into the Malting Floor below, thus effecting a great saving in manual labour from the usual practice of throwing the barley over the side of the vessel with shovels. There is another Malting House on the north side of the square, adjacent to the Kiln, with 3 separate Boors, having a concrete Steep in each, capable of malting in all 60 quarters at a time.
The Kiln is a lofty building, being 25 feet high and 30 feet square, and floored with cast iron perforated plates. It is heated with peats from a large chauffeur below, and can dry 30 quarters of malt in less than 24 hours. The peats used are of excellent quality, and are to be found in great abundance about 5 miles distant from the works. There was a supply on the premises, consisting of 3 large stacks, sufficient for 2 seasons.
We next descended to the Malt Deposit Room, which joins the Kiln at a lower elevation. The malt falls through a shoot, same 10 feet in length, into the Malt Deposit Room, which holds over 5,000 bushels, and thence to the Mill underneath, where it passes through 2 powerful rollers. After it is ground, it is conveyed by means of elevators to the Malt Hopper, which is placed over the Mash-tun. It then passes through the Mashing Machine into the Mash-tun, which is a cast iron vessel, 10 feet in diameter and 6 feet deep, fitted up with internal stirring rakes, and capable of mashing 400 bushels at one time. The worts from this vessel are drained off through the usual perforated false bottom and by orifices inserted in the sides into the Underback below, which is situated on the ground floor, and has a capacity of 800 gallons. It is then conveyed by means of 2 pumps, worked by steam power, - to the Wort Receiver, a square shallow vessel, erected above the Washbacks. From this they pass through a Morton's Refrigerator into the Washbacks, of which there are 4, each of a capacity of 9,500 gallons. Yeast is then added to the worts and after fermentation has begun the liquor is known by the name of wash. There are switchers fitted in the Washbacks, propelled by steam, which are called into play when fermentation is very vigorous, to break up the froth and prevent the liquor from overflowing. After fermentation has ceased, the wash is run by gravitation into the Wash Charger, and thence to the Wash Still. The former vessel is a metal one of considerable size, being capable of holding 9,000 gallons. Both the Wash and Low-wines or Spirit Stills are of the old Pot kind the former holding 5,360 gallons, and the latter 2,860 gallons. In connection with the Wash Still we noticed a Horizontal Condenser of a very modern design, having 200 tubes in it, the other one for the Spirit Still being of the ordinary upright kind, with 50 tubes. The distillate from the Wash Still, after passing through the Condenser, enters the worm, where it is re-condensed and cooled, thence through the Spirit Safe into the Low-wines and Feints Receiver, a metal vessel holding 2,500 gallons. The worms form a continuous coil of copper piping, placed in a large metal tank outside, 22 feet long and 4 feet deep, and has a constant stream of water flowing through it. The grill or overflow water from this tank passes over a small water-wheel underneath, which drives the rummager in the Wash Still. The rummager serves to keep the sediment in the Wash Still afloat, as were it allowed to settle down on the bottom, there would be a danger of the Still being burned. We also noticed an important contrivance on the air cocks of the Stills, for the prevention of a collapse or explosion, comprising a frame round the cocks, which have solid heads, so that the lever or handle employed for opening the discharge cocks cannot be got off the former without necessarily opening it. This we would recommend to all who have not yet adopted it.
The spirit produced from the 1st distillation is imperfect, and is denominated "Low-wines." It is collected in the vessel termed the Low-wines and Feints Receiver, which also serves as a Charger. From this vessel it flows into the Spirit Still, and the same process as that which the wash undergoes is repeated, the only difference being, that the impure portions, which are denominated "Feints," after coming into the Safe are directed to the Low-wines and Feints Receiver, and the pure spirit to the Spirit Receiver, which is situated in the Running Room. From the Receiver it is pumped to the Vat in the Spirit Store, where it is filled into casks and removed to the Warehouses. Both these vessels are large, the former holding 2,000 gallons and the latter 4,400 gallons. We may mention that the present warehouse accommodation is equal to 150,000 gallons, and at our visit there were nearly 80,000 gallons, most of which belonged to customers. Adjacent to the Spirit Store is the Weigh House and Racking Store, all of which are below the Malt Deposit.
The Mash and Still House is very commodious and well ventilated, and we do not exaggerate when we say that the arrangements for carrying on this department are of the most complete kind we have yet seen, and in fact, the opinion of one of H M Inspectors, from Somerset House, on a visit some years ago, was, that in this respect, Glenugie was one of the best Distilleries in the North of Scotland. The Heating Tanks hold about 4,000 gallons each, and are heated by steam. They are placed at a high elevation, thus affording great pressure for the Mashing Machine - a matter of no little importance. There is a horizontal engine of I2hp, besides a donkey-engine of 2hp, which is used for pumping worts, also water, through a hose, for the thorough cleansing of the Washbacks and other vessels, and as a fire extinguisher. The steam boiler is 16 feet long and 6 feet in diameter, with patent feed injector attached, and the chimney shaft, which serves for bath boiler and Stills, is 100 feet high. There is a cooperage, joiner's, engineer's, and fitter's shop on the premises, also stabling for 5 horses, with hayloft and cart-sheds attached.
Splendid houses have been provided for the Excise Officers, also offices for both of them and the manager, clerks, etc., and houses for the Manager and the Principal workmen. The water used in the manufacture of the Whisky has its source in the mossy moorlands, from 3 to 4 miles from the works. It is of excellent quality being soft and pure, and was pronounced by Professor Brazier, F.C.S., of the Aberdeen University, who analyzed it, to be admirably adapted for distilling purposes.
The make is Highland Malt, and is sold in England, and Scotland, and the Colonies. It commands a good price, and being a Whisky that matures rapidly is very suitable for blending purposes. The present output is about 90,000 gallons, but this could be considerably increased if desired.
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