Photograph: Michael Rehberg

Balvenie Distillery

In early 1892 work began to convert an 18th century mansion (Balvenie New House) into a distillery. The building took fifteen months to complete and on 1st May 1893, the first distillation took place at The Balvenie Distillery.

William Grant

William Grant founded Balvenie whisky in 1889.

William Grant was born on 19 December 1839 in his father’s house in Dufftown. At seven he was sent to augment the family income by herding cattle at a farm on the upper reaches of the River Deveron. Apprenticed to a shoemaker and after a spell as a clerk, William took a job in 1866 as a book-keeper at Mortlach distillery. Immediately he set about learning the art of distilling and in a short time he was appointed clerk and manager.

After almost twenty years of learning the art of distilling, William Grant resigned from his job at the Mortlach distillery and bought a field beneath the towering shadow of The Balvenie Castle. He then drew up plans for his distillery and the foundation stone was laid in the autumn of 1886.

William Grant remained active in the company until his death in 1923 at the age of 83.

In 2007, Balvenie’s Global Brand Ambassador, David Mair presented an online documentary series about the making of malt whisky, shot in and around the Balvenie Distillery.


At the 2006 International Spirits Challenge, The Balvenie was awarded gold medals for its Founder’s Reserve 10 Year Old, DoubleWood 12 Year Old, Balvenie NewWood 17 Year Old, PortWood 21 Year Old, Balvenie Thirty and Balvenie Portwood 1991. This is the biggest gold medal haul for any brand in any one year since the competition began.
Tasting Notes

The Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Year Old presents with a delicate, refreshing nose of honey and orange peel. The complex full-bodied richness of flavour is reminiscent of grandma’s marmalade followed by delayed sea mist with a hint of spice leaving a long lingering richness.

The Balvenie 21 Year PortWood has “Impressive ripe fruit and raisin notes which yield over time to a subtle wine bouquet. A creamy, silky texture with complex layers of rich dried fruit, honey and spice which slowly develop into a lingering warm, nutty finish.”