In 1824 Andrew Peary and Robert Bain founded the Miltonduff Distillery located south of Elgin. At that time over 50 illegal distilleries existed in the surrounding area. Miltonduff was among the first distilleries to receive a distilling licence in Scotland. The first distillery on the same spot was Benedictine monks whom most likely had an aqua vitae distillery. However, the truth in that statement is somewhat sketchy since there are no documents or proof thereof.
James Grand, whom also owned Highland Park Distillery, was the owner of Miltonduff for a few years. In 1866 it was bought by William Stuart and he renovated and expanded the site in the end of the 1890s. Just like many other distilleries is was forced to close production during WW1 and WW2 due to restrictions on barley.
Between 1964 and 1981 Miltonduff produced a whisky called Mosstowie along with Miltonduff. The owners at the time, Hiram Walker & Sons, produced large amounts of several types of blends and thus had a huge demand for different kinds of malt. A pair of Lomond stills was installed, which had an additional condenser in the head. The condenser made it possible to alter the reflux action in a controlled manner and thus widen the character and style of its malts.
In 1981 production of the Mosstowie ceased when it became apparent that the new stills didn’t work well in the long run; the plates in the column quickly became covered in residue and proved to be very difficult to clean and maintain. Also, the competition with the distillery’s other brand made the demand for Mosstowie dwindle when the demand for Miltonduff increased, so space and resources were used to expand Miltonduff instead. The stills were cannibalized when a new set of traditional stills were built and the annual production ended up on 5.4 millions litres.
Gordon & MacPhail have bottled a few Mosstowie’s as single malts, very rare to come by.
In 1992 Allied Distillers Ltd bought Miltonduff. In addition to the distillery the site also held Allied Distillers laboratory, central workshop, technical centres and the main business administration. The Miltonduff Distillery mainly produced malt whisky used in blended whisky and in particular in Allied Distillers major hit Ballantines Blend. The few rare bottles of Miltonduff that exist have been released as single malts by Gordon & MacPhail.
Production at Miltonduff
The water source is the Black Burn spring and manually drilled wells. The type of barley varies but is taken from Muntons Maltings. The distillery has a stainless steels mash tun which holds 14.5 tonnes. There are 18 stainless steel wash backs which each holds 38 000 litres. Miltonduff was the first distillery to extract and divert the carbon dioxide gas from the fermentation process. There are three wash stills and three spirit stills about 4.5m high, with Lyne arms that have a 30° angle. The wash stills holds 17 000 litres each and are externally heated. The spirit stills are somewhat smaller than the wash stills and are internally steam heated. The raw sprit is stored on first fill bourbon casks and to a smaller extent on sherry casks. The casks are stored on-site in big warehouses, together with other whiskies made by Allied Distillers. The warehouse has a capacity of 54 000 casks. The annual production at Miltonduff is currently just over three million litres.
The Miltonduff Distillery
Elgin, Morayshire IV30 3TQ
Phone: +44 (0) 1343 547433
Visitors: Visitors are welcome between September and June: Mon – Thurs 10-14. Advance bookinbg is needed for the guided tours.
Owner: Allied Distillers Ltd