Dufftown, Scotland: Speyside Region
Glenfiddich Distillery has the best toilets in the whole of the UK. Even better than Harrods. I never thought I’d start a distillery review by saying that. And I bet you never thought you’d read something like that in a distillery review either. But there you go. Expect the unexpected. And expect to be wowed, if you decide to use the distillery’s facilities. The toilets are beautiful. Um, not the actual toilets themselves. Those are just, well, normal toilets. They are, however, ensconced in the most beautiful and luxurious rooms that put other public toilets to shame. Heck, it’s such an interior design triumph that it puts many people’s houses to shame.
The rest of the distillery complex itself is also very well kept. It is also incredibly welcoming and friendly. It isn’t any wonder that they won the 2007 award for best visitor centre. Seems like a fitting award for the very first distillery to actually open a visitor centre in the first place.
Glenfiddich means “valley of the deer” in Gaelic, which explains the picture of the stag on the company’s distinctive triangular bottles. The deer are, however, not allowed to wander in the area surrounding the distillery’s water source, the Robbie Dhu Springs. Like Glenmorangie, Glenfiddich bought up the land surrounding their water source (to the tune of 1200 acres) in order to protect its quality and quantity, and no livestock are permitted into the area. Thank goodness. Whisky has many flavours, but animal droppings are one I can certainly do without. Given that Glenfiddich is the only distillery to use a single source of water for every stage of the production process (they have their own bottling plant on site), protecting the spring is a priority.
The distillery was started back in 1887 by William Grant, who built the distillery by hand with the help of his nine children. His investment of capital into the business was a whopping GBP120, which he used to purchase some second hand equipment from Cardhu Distillery. Unlike most distilleries today, Glenfiddich still remains in the Grant family, who have proved time and again to be extremely savvy business people.
Isn’t it funny, though, how the people we admire today were often seen as fools by their contemporaries. For example, when other distilleries closed down during Prohibition, Glenfiddich was one of a handful that actually increased production, believing that Prohibition couldn’t last forever. Ultimately, they were proved right, and reaped the rewards of being ready to sell to a thirsty public when Prohibition ended.
The distillery was also ridiculed for its decision in 1963 to sell single malts outside Scotland. At the time, Scottish distilleries sold their whisky to the rest of the world as blends only, believing single malts to be too strong for foreign palates (especially those delicate English). However, the Grant family’s strategy worked, and it is them that we have to thank for the fact that single malts are now sold and enjoyed around the world.
Today, as a result of their foresight and business acumen, not to mention a good accessible and easy-going whisky, Glenfiddich is the world’s best selling single malt.
General Tasting Notes
After reading all about the Glenfiddich distillery, we bet you’re curious to taste their whisky – click here to buy a bottle of Glenfiddich now!
Distillery Contact Information
Address: Dufftown, Banffshire, AB55 4DH
Tel: +44 (0)1340 82 0373
Fax: +44 (0)1340 82 2083
Tours: Standard tours run seven days a week, and are free of charge. Connoisseur tours (a more in-depth 2.5 hour long tour) cost GBP20 and must be booked in advance.
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