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Ben Nevis Distillery

Ben Nevis distillery is a whisky distillery in Fort William, Scotland. It is situated at the base of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, which rises to 1,345 m (4,413 ft) above sea level. A coastal distillery in the Western Highlands, the distillery draws its water from the Allt a’Mhuilinn which originates from two pools on Ben Nevis, Coire Leis and Coire na’Ciste. Founded in 1825 as an independent enterprise, it has been owned by Nikka Whisky Distilling of Tokyo, Japan, since 1989.

  • Owner

    Ben Nevis Distillery(Fort William)
    Parent Company
    Asahi Group Holdings

  • Status

    Operational

  • Country

    Scotland

  • Region

    Highland

  • Production type:

    Single Malt
    Blended whisky
    Single grain
    Single malt

  • Founded

    1825

  • Production yearly

    1.500.000 Liters

History

It was in 1825 that ‘Long’ John Macdonald took out a licence for his Ben Nevis distillery on the outskirts of Fort William and close to Britain’s highest mountain. His son Peter took up the reins soon after and built a significant business. By the end of the 19th century, when blended Scotch was becoming the fashion, Long John’s Dew of Ben Nevis was a successful single malt brand.

Such was the popularity of the MacDonald’s whisky that Peter built a second distillery, ‘Nevis’, which ran in tandem with the original unit. At one point, over 200 people were employed in this virtual whisky city.

This golden age was not to last. In 1908 Nevis closed and its sister plant operated intermittently until 1941 when the colourful Canadian entrepreneur (and former bootlegger) Joseph Hobbs bought the firm. The Long John brand name had already been sold to Seager Evans, and Hobbs sold off the former Nevis site to Associated Scottish Distilleries. Closed during WWII, Hobbs restarted production in 1955 when he installed a Coffey still. He then started to blend his malt and grain together before maturing.

The distillery fell silent in 1978, but production started again, along with much needed refurbishment, in 1981 when it was bought, appropriately enough, by Long John International – by then the whisky division of the brewer Whitbread. In 1989, Long John sold it to the Japanese distiller Nikka which had been buying malt and grain from the distillery for a number of years.

Ben Nevis has continued in production and has split its whisky between bulk supplies for Japan, the Dew of Ben Nevis and Macdonalds of Glencoe blends, and single malt bottlings, which start with a 10-year-old expression but in recent years have been extended to include Macdonald’s Traditional Ben Nevis which includes smokier components. Whisky from one of the last ‘Blended At Birth’ casks appeared as a 40-year-old in 2002.

Distillery Facts

Taste profile

Core range 

At this point Ben Nevis core range is: 

  • 10 year old
  • Ben Nevis Whisky Celebrated Traditional Malt 
  • Nevis Dew blended scotch whisky
  • Fort William Selected old blended scotch whisky
  • Nikka Session Blended malt  whisky

Archive bottles: 

  • Ben Nevis Single cask 
  • Ben Nevis Fort William Limited

Distillery Tours

 

THE CLASSIC TOUR

A guided walk around the distillery, followed by a tasting of our award-winning Benromach 10 & 15 Year Old whiskies.

DURATION:

About 1 hour

DRAMS

3 drams

COST

£8 per person
 

THE CONTRAST TOUR

A leisurely tour around the distillery, followed by a delicious exploration of our contrasting Benromach whisky expressions.

DURATION:
About 90 minutes
DRAMS
4 drams
COST
£20 per person
 

THE HERITAGE TOUR

Discover our heritage with a tour around the distillery alongside one of our friendly tour guides. After the tour you will be led through a tasting of our Benromach whisky range in one of our tasting rooms.

DURATION:
About 2 hours
DRAMS
4 drams
COST
£75 per person

Visitor center 

OPENING TIMES

January – December

OPENING TIMES

Day Times
Monday 09:00 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 17:00
Thursday 09:00 17:00
Friday 09:00 17:00
Saturday (Jun, Jul and Aug) 10:00 18:00
Sunday (Jun, Jul and Aug) 12:00

18:00

CONTACT DETAILS

Ben Nevis Distillery
Lochy Bridge
Fort William
Inverness-shire
PH33 6TJ
United Kingdom

Livingbythedram social media links 

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