Tag Archive for: Fettercairn Distillery

The Good Old Fettercairn Distillery

The Fettercairn Distillery (Picture Credits: www.panoramio.com)

Fettercairn distillery is situated in the Grampian foothills in the Howe of Mearns. Fettercairn means “the foot of the mountain” in Gaelic and reflects the ideal location for a whisky distillery. Natural ingredients are aplenty for the distillery – ice-clear Grampian mountain spring water and barley growing from the fertile soil surrounding the distillery allows this distillery to create stunning whiskies from its stills and barrels.

History of Fettercairn Distillery

The history of Fettercairn is as complex as most of the distilleries found in the region. Alexander Ramsay, the owner of the Fasque estate, founded Fettercairn in 1825 by converting a corn mill into the distillery. He lost his wealth in a few short years and sold everything to Sir John Gladstone. His son was the four-time British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. The distillery remained with the Gladstone family until 1923 and was mainly run by tenants. Thereafter, the distillery was almost mothballed by new owners Ross & Coulter (1923-1927) and James Mann (1927-1939) before it was sold to Associated Scottish Distillers (ASD), the Scotch arm of National Distillers of America in 1939.

ASD closed in 1954 and the distillery was sold to a private owner – Mr Tom Scott Sutherland. Finally, in 1971, it was bought by Tomintoul-Glenlivet and both distilleries joined the Whyte & Mackay umbrella in 1973. It remains with the company since.

The Emblems of Fettercairn Distillery

The emblems of Fettercairn (Picture Credits: www.tripadvisor.com)

Some emblems of Scotch whisky distilleries have a history behind them, and Fettercarin’s is no exception. The unicorn in the Fettercairn logo is part of Alexander Ramsay’s clan crest. The unicorn represents purity and strength and is also a symbol of Scotland since the reign of King Robert III.

The huge, red sandstone archway that stands at the entrance to Fettercairn is another symbol. It was built to commemorate the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1861.

Whiskies from Fettercairn

Fettercairn has an interesting whisky range. It mainly contributes to Whyte & Mackey’s blends but is also bottled as a single malt. The Fettercairn label gains some popularity since 2009 when more efforts are put into single malt bottling. Currently, the Fettercairn Fasque and the Fettercairn Fior are available as official bottlings.

The distillery also has older bottles such as the Fettercairn 875 which was produced in the 1970s for the Italian market. Such bottles are rare and hard to come by in present day.

Fettercairn Distillery Today

Fettercairn continues to be one of the many distilleries that contribute most of its whisky into blends. While we believe that the fate of the distillery may continue as such, there is a chance that more of its whiskies may make its way into single malt bottling in the future.

Whisky Reviews #38 – Fettercairn 875 (1970s) – For Italian Market

Fettercairn distillery is situated under the Grampian foothills in the Howe of Mearns. It shares the same name as the town that it is located. The distillery was founded in 1824 by Alexander Ramsay, the owner of the Fasque estate. He was forced to sell the distillery in 1829 to the Gladstone family after losing his fortune. In 1973, Whyte & Mackay acquired the distillery and it remains with the company till today.

Fettercairn 875 is a 1970s bottle produced for the Italian market. It was matured in a bourbon cask. The 875 on the label simply means it is 8 years old and of 75 proof. It is almost impossible to get this bottle anywhere now; maybe except in auctions where a price war should be expected.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Pale Straw
ABV: 43%

Nose: Sweet sherry with milk chocolate and vanilla cream. A slight vintage feel in the nose, likely due to the age of the whisky. (17/20)

Palate: Power-on vanilla cream with sweet sherry rush into the palate. The sweetness of the sherry makes it feel as if you are having a vanilla ice cream or a full cream vanilla cake. (19/20)

Body: Wonderfully balanced whisky. All rounded in both nose, taste and finish. (36/40)

Finish: Long finish with vanilla cream lingering long after your last swallow. (18/20)

Total Grade: 90/100


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