Blair Athol is a Diageo distillery - their only non-Classic Malt distillery that is open to the public. However it is included in the latest Classic Malt passport, so members get a free tour, normal cost £7.50, with a £5 discount voucher for each 70cl bottle of whisky bought, and the shop has a good range of Diageo malts available.
Other tours are now available - Signature tour £20 (3 additional malts); Blenders Tasting Tour £25 - Blair Athol and a range of others including "Bell’s Original, Cameronbrig single grain whisky, Cardhu 12 year old, Johnnie Walker Black Label and Haig Clubman"; Allt Dour tour £35 cask sample of Blair Athol + 4 drams; Guides Choice Tasting Tour £50 - "5 exclusive whiskies selected by our guides. 2 drams of our Cask Strength Blair Athol drawn direct from the cask, 1 dram from our Vintage Whiskies and 2 further drams from our Whisky Treasure Trove"; Platinum Tour and Tasting £165 - "choose 6 drams from our extensive range including: Special Release Singleton of Glendullan 38 YO, Special Release Brora 37 YO, Special Release The Cally 40 YO, Blair Athol Bourbon Cask and many more" and " the opportunity to purchase a dram of Port Ellen or Lagavulin 37 year old single malt at a cost of £200 each."
Tours at £50 and over must be booked in advance, they're working on an online booking system. Open 7 days a week - for opening times see website.
Like most Diageo distilleries Blair Athol is not photographer friendly, no photos allowed in any internal production areas.
As mentioned in Getting There, Blair Athol distillery is several miles from the village/station of Blair Atholl, but the whole area was once part of the Atholl Estate centred on Blair Castle. Not quite sure when or where the distillery lost its second L! Though historical spellings can be inconsistent - the whole area was once known as Atholl or Athole, but the distillery seems to be the only place using the Athol spelling.
When the distillery was built it was initially known as Aldour, the name changed in 1825. though Misako Udo records other names: "Pitlochrie"; "Pitlochrey"; "Pitlochry"; "The Allt Dour Distillery"; and "The Burn of the Otter Distillery". 1863 map
Although the Perth - Inverness railway runs behind the distillery, the distillery pre-dates the railway by many years, and does not ever appear to have been connected to it - there is a height difference of several metres.
Blair Athol has been the home of the Bell's blend for many years, and it was the success of the blend which led to the expansion of the distillery -
2 additional stills were added in 1973, 4 Larch and 4 Steel washbacks replaced by 6 of Steel in 2010.
Malt Madness, Wikipedia, WhiskyMerchants.co.uk scotchwhisky.com
Click the map's Google logo to go to Google Maps - for Directions, Street View etc.
Maps: Open Cycle Bing Edradour, Aberfeldy Deanston Strathearn
Distilleries Highland Distilleries Central Highlands
Less than a mile south of the middle of Pitlochry on the A924 (about 8 miles South of the village of Blair Atholl).
Nearest station is Pitlochry (PIT) (1 mile) - Live Train Times
Ramps to Car park and through station building from Platform 1. Ramp to Armoury Road from Platform 2 - nearly a half mile trip from main station entrance - this entrance though shown on the station plan is not signposted either on Platform 2 or externally (if you're trying to find it look for the signal box).
Escape Route 3 Atholl Rd, Pitlochry, PH16 5BX 01796 473859
Progression Bikes The Smiddy, St Ninians Wynd, Dunkeld 07825 322225
Bike Hire also available at:
Dunolly Adventures Taybridge Drive, Aberfeldy, PH15 2BP 01887 820298
Blair Atholl Bike Hire Blair Castle Caravan Park 0845 548 2270
See also www.cyclehighlandperthshire.com/
Photos on this page were taken by me. Click on photo to enlarge. Full size versions of all my photos of Blair Athol Distillery are available on Flickr.