The Garioch is the fertile track of arable land, 150 square miles in size, at the heart of Aberdeenshire, formerly known as the country’s ‘granny’. The market town of Oldmeldrum stands within it, and the current distillery was built here in 1797, possibly on the site of the earlier Meldrum Distillery which dates from before 1785. The founder was John Manson, joined four years later by his son, Alexander.It changed hands 40 years later, and again in 1884, when it was bought by J.G.Thomson & Company of Leith. William Sanderson of Vat 69 at that point one of the top-selling blends in the world became a partner in 1886 and took full control in 1908. Sanderson owned it outright until 1935 when it joined with Booth’s and then two years later, following a merger, into DCL.
It continued in production until 1968 when it and Brora were considered as the sites which could produce heavily-peated whisky for DCL’s blending requirements.
Glen Garioch had always struggled for water and it was felt that this would impact on an increase in production. DCL’s response to this was to close Glen Garioch, and re-open Brora. Having solved the water problem by digging a deep well in a nearby field, Morrison extended the plant from two to three stills in 1971, and to four in 1973, but retained the floor maltings. A visitor centre was opened in 2006, and was refurbished in early 2011. The whiskies were elegantly repackaged in 2009.