Glenfarclas Visitor Center (Source:

Glenfarclas Visitor Center (Source:







Region: Speyside
Founded: 1836
Status: Active
Owner:  J. & G. Grant (family-owned company)

1836: Robert Hay, tenant of the Rechlerich Farm, builds Glenfarclas on the site of the farm. Glenfarclas {glen–FAR–cluss} is Gaelic for ‘the valley of the green grass’.

1865: Robert Hay dies and John Grant, a very successful farmer, leases the Rechlerich Farm. At the same time he buys Glenfarclas for £ 511,19 and appoints John Smith, a distant cousin of him, as the distillery manager.

1870: John Smith leaves Glenfarclas in order to found Cragganmore. John’s son George takes over the operations.

1889: John Grant dies and George inherits the farm together with the distillery. But only one year later, George dies as well. His widow inherits the distill license while his two older sons John and George take care of the business.

1895: The whisky business booms so the brothers John and George Grant decide to join forces with Pattison, Elder & Co in order to found the Glenfarclas-Glenlivet Distillery Company. Following this incorporation, the distillery is extensively refurbished.

1898: The bankruptcy of their business partners leads to the so-called “Pattison Crash”, which has disastrous consequences for the whole branch. Several distilleries (and even more suppliers) are in seriously financial troubles. As a result quite a few distilleries have to be mothballed or shut down entirely. Also Glenfarclas faces the closure. It takes the two brothers fifteen years before they have finally secured the distillery through their company J. &  G. Grant in 1914. But all the years of hard work take their toll. John Grant has to take early retirement due to his ill-health. George Grant continues on his own. This is also the birth of “The Spirit of Independence” – never again shall Glenfarclas depend on outside investors.

1930: The lease contract expires and George Grant becomes the sole owner of the site.

1948: The Grant family celebrates the distillery’s 100th anniversary after the festivities were postponed due to World War II. Only later they found out that the distillery was granted a license to distill already in 1836.

1949: George Grant dies and his two sons George Scott and John Peter inherit the company.

1960: The amount of still is doubled from two to four due to the high demand.

1968: Some of the most important customers do not renew their contracts with Glenfarclas. George S. (following “The Spirit of Independence”) decides to build up more stock for the distillery’s own bottlings. It is thanks to this foresight that today Glenfarclas is the only Scottish distillery with such an impressive stock of old casks. In the same year, Glenfarclas is the first distillery to release a single malt bottled at cask strength (the later Glenfarclas 105).

1972: Malting floors are closed.

1973: George S.’s son John L. S. joins the company after the worked three years for the Bank of Scotland and another three years for Teachers Distillers Limited. The visitor center is opened.

1976: Two more stills are installed, bringing the total to six.

2000: John L. S.’s son George S. joins the company. Prior to this, he worked for several other Scottish whisky distilleries and for Glenfarclas’ sales department in Hong Kong.

2002: George S. dies and his son John L. S. becomes the chairman of J. & G. Grant, now in the fifth generation.


Tasting Notes



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