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Diageo (Team)



Barrel Head


Barrel Head

head whisky maker(s)

Barrel Head


Barrel Head

Year Founded

Barrel Head


The Cragganmore story is closely tied to the pioneering spirit of John Smith, a seasoned distiller who had managed various distilleries before founding the distillery in 1869. Smith strategically chose the picturesque riverside location of Ballindalloch due to its access to spring water for the distillation process and the cooling properties of the nearby River Spey. Equally significant was the proximity to the Strathspey Railway, which facilitated the transportation of casks and coal from the Lowlands and expedited the shipping of the new make spirit to blending houses.

John Smith's expertise in distillation is evident in the design of Cragganmore's stillhouse. The wash stills are unusually large and feature sharply angled lyne arms that descend into worm tubs. The spirit stills, on the other hand, are smaller, with flat tops and long, gently angled lyne arms extending from the side of the stills, also leading to worm tubs. This unique setup, the only one of its kind in Scotland, contributes to the complexity of Cragganmore's whisky. Notably, Cragganmore was designated as A1 by blenders, attesting to its quality.

Following John Smith's passing in 1886, his family managed the distillery until 1923 when ownership transitioned to a partnership between the Macpherson-Grants of Ballindalloch Estate and White Horse Distillers. While White Horse's share eventually went to DCL, the Macpherson-Grants held their share until 1965. Today, Cragganmore is part of the Diageo portfolio and was one of the original 'Classic Malts.' Despite its complex and intriguing character, the distillery has not achieved the same level of recognition as some of its Speyside counterparts.

-Written (Mostly) by Robots-

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