Balblair Distillery

Balblair distillery ( Pronounced Bal-Blair) is a Scotch whisky distillery located in Edderton, Ross-Shire overlooking the Dornoch Firth hillside of Scotland. 

Founded in 1790, the distillery was rebuilt in 1895 by the designer Charles C Doig to be closer to the Edderton Railway Station on the Inverness and Ross-shire Railway line. However, so good was the original water source that the rebuilt distillery chose to ignore a nearby burn in favour of the original Ault Dearg burn. To this day, the Balblair Distillery continues to use this original water source.

Balblair has one of the oldest archives in distilling, with the first ledger entry dated 25 January 1800. John Ross himself penned that first entry. 

Balblair uses exceptionally long 62 hour fermentation and the 4 half hours of extremely slow distillation, giving it a smooth and flavorful single malt whisky. 

Balblair used to release their whisky by vintage, but in April 2019 they started to release a core range of age statement whiskies. This includes but is not limited to a 12, 15, 18 and 25 year old.

  • Owner

    Inver House Distillers
    Parent company:
    International Beverage Holdings

  • Status


  • Country


  • Region


  • Production type:

    Single Malt

  • Founded


  • Production yearly

    1.700.000 Liters


The first Balblair distillery was built by the Ross family near Edderton in 1790, but in 1872 production was shifted to a new site next to the (then new) railway line which linked Wick to Inverness. The Ross family ran the site for its first 100 years, before Alexander Cowan took charge, but like so many distilleries it suffered at the start of the 20th century and was closed in 1911, not reopening until after WWII when Churchill set out his edict that whisky needed to be made, and sold to the US.

Robert ‘Bertie’ Cumming, the owner of Old Pulteney, bought the silent site and ran it until 1970 when Canadian distiller Hiram Walker took over – before it was absorbed into what became Allied Distillers. The latter firm sold it on to the enterprising Inver House in 1996.

Bottlings had been intermittent – Balblair Elements was released in 2000 – but in 2007, Inver House radically repackaged the single malt and, taking a leaf from Glenrothes’ book, began bottling it in ’vintage’ releases. From being a pretty much unknown malt, the new look and the quality of the liquid were both revelatory.

In 2013 Balblair acted as the distillery where the (fictitious) only extant cask of Malt Mill was auctioned in Ken Loach’s whisky caper ‘The Angel’s Share’.

In 2019 Balblair released a new botteling and label design and released their core range of age statement single malt whiskies started with their 12, 15 and 18 year old. Now there is also a 25 year old. 

Distillery Facts

Timeline of Balblair

Balblair distillery is founded by John Ross, whose family runs production for 100 years
James Ross sells Balblair to Inverness wine merchant Alexander Cowan, who builds a new still house, mash house, kiln and barns
Balblair is mothballed
The last drop of whisky left in Balblair's warehouse is sold
The Distillery is commandeered by the army for the duration of World War II
Banff solicitor and owner of Old Pulteney, Robert James " Bertie" Cumming, purchases the distillery for £48.000
Production resumes at the distillery for the first time since before Wold War I
Balblair distillery expands with the addition of further warehousing and its first steam boiler
Cummings sells the distillery to Hiram Walker, Which later became Allied Distillers
Inver House Distillers purchases Balblair
Balblair decides to only release vintage bottling, the first three of which are a 1997, 1989 and 1979 expressions
vintages are replaced throughout the years as stocks run out, but in 2013 the distillery released three new vintages: 2003, 1990 and 1983
Balblair stoped using vintages and released age statement bottles beginning with a 12, 15 and 18 year old. They also repackaged and reshaped the bottle for a fisher and modern look.
2019 later
later in 2019 Balblair also released their 25 year old single malt which was added to their core range.

Taste profile

New packaging 2019

Balblair launched their new packaging in 2019 with the new iconic 12 year old, 15 year old and 18 year old. 

The new bottle shape and logo gives it a modern and fresh look. This style will be on all the bottles Balblair release and we can enjoy it for years to come. 

This will also mean that in time the older packaging and bottles will disappear from the shelfs and will be collectables. 

Core range 

At this point Balblair’s core range is: 

Archive bottles: 

  • Will be added soon 

Distillery Tours


THE CLASSIC Balblair tasting Experience 

A unique guided masterclass will take you through their Balblair 12 & 15 and 18 Year Old single malt whiskies and a specially selected single cask.


About 1 hour


4 drams


£25 per person

Visitor center 


April – September


Day Times
Monday 10:00 16:30
Tuesday 10:00 16:30
Wednesday 10:00 16:30
Thursday 10:00 16:30
Friday 10:00 16:30
Saturday Closed   
Sunday Closed  


October – March


Day Times
Monday 10:00 16:00
Tuesday 10:00 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 16:00
Thursday 10:00 16:00
Friday 10:00 16:00
Saturday Closed  
Sunday Closed  



Balblair Distillery
IV19 1LB
United Kingdom

Balblair social media links

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