The Distillery was established in 1824 by James McGregor, from a family of farmers and illicit distillers who resided in Tomintoul.
Situated in the district of Cromdale on the banks of the River Spey the distillery stands in beneath the nearby hill of Tom Lethendry where the Jacobites were defeated in the Battle of Cromdale in 1690.
Balmenach Distillery is one of the earliest distilleries sanctioned as a result of the Excise Act 1823. In 1897 the distillery was purchased by Glenlivetand was served by its own railway branch off the Strathspey Railway until 1969. The distillery closed in 1941 and re-opened in 1947, following expansion of its facilities.
The Distillery is owned by Inver House Distillers Limited, a privately owned distiller whose other distilleries include: Speyburn-Glenlivet Distillery; Knockdhu Distillery; Balblair Distillery; and, Old Pulteney Distillery.
Balmenach distillery produces 2,8 million litres of alcohol per year. The fermentation is long, the stills relatively small and run quickly, and the vapour runs into worm tubs, rather than shell and tube condensers. This helps to produce a slow-maturing new make character which is rich and meaty, ideal for adding weight and grunt to blends, and also to be a good match with ex-Sherry casks.
Inver House has no plans to release this highly distinctive whisky as a single malt. The reason for this is that the make – whose style is unusual these days – is too highly-prized as fillings for blends, both by Inver House and other firms.
There are no official bottlings of Balmenach except a very limited expression released in 2002. It was a 25yo that was bottled to celebrate the Queens Golden Jubilee.
Balmenach has been bottled by Aberko in Glasgow under the name of Deerstalker.