Prince Charles today visited the Glen Garioch Distillery in Oldmeldrum, one of the oldest operating distilleries in Scotland.
His visit came amid its ongoing restoration and upgrade project to reinstate traditional production processes and reduce the distillery’s carbon footprint.
The Duke toured the distillery with the local team and learned how Glen Garioch is returning to its roots to further enhance the quality and complexity of its legendary small batch, hand-crafted Highland single malt.
His Royal Highness, who in Scotland uses his official Scottish title The Duke of Rothesay, was hosted by Mick Ord, director of Operations, Kwanele Mdluli, distillery manager and Pom Nijs, assistant visitor centre manager.
During his visit, the Duke met with many members of the Glen Garioch distillery and visitor centre teams, along with Beam Suntory’s David Hunter, chief supply chainofficer, Jessica Spence, President of Brands, and Francois Bazini, MD Scotch, Gin & Irish.
The Duke was given a tour of the distillery and an overview of the ongoing restoration works. He was also invited to nose new make spirits of the direct-fired distillation as well as whisky from a 1990 bourbon hogshead, and taste whisky directly drawn from a 1978 bourbon cask. Subsequently, as a gift from the distillery, His Royal Highness was presented with a 1978 bottle of Glen Garioch, signed by Master Blender, Ron Welsh.
During the visit, The Duke unveiled a plaque dedicated to Alexander (Akki) Manson, a direct descendant of the distillery’s original founders. During his life Mr Manson was known for carrying forward the entrepreneurial spirit of his family and regularly spent time with the local team, sharing his passion for the distillery.
Mr Manson’s son, Sandy Manson, Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, accompanied His Royal Highness on his tour. The occasion was also marked by the signing of a cask containing spirit from Glen Garioch’s new direct-fired still, which will be bottled and sold after optimum maturation of the whisky, with all proceeds being donated to a charity to be named in due course.
The current renovation project at Glen Garioch includes the reintroduction of floor maltings as well as the installation of direct-fired heating to the wash still – traditional methods still used by only a handful of distilleries to enhance the quality and complexity of their whiskies. To complement this return to tradition, Glen Garioch has developed a state-of-the-art, highly efficient and safe method for direct-fired distillation, which is expected to reduce the distillery’s carbon footprint by around 15%.
Kwanele Mdluli, distillery manager of Glen Garioch, said: ‘We were very proud to welcome The Duke of Rothesay to Glen Garioch for the first time. It was an honour to introduce him to our skilled and dedicated team, and to share our beloved small batch Highland malt with him.
‘With our return to traditional processes and our sharp focus on sustainability, Glen Garioch is opening a new chapter in its history. We were delighted to introduce His Royal Highness to our historic distillery and outline our vision for a more sustainable future – and most of all, to share a dram with him. We look forward to welcoming him again soon.’