Glenfiddich is from the gaelic "Glen Fadach" usually (by the distillery) translated as "valley of the deer". However, the literal meaning is "Fid or Fidach's Glen". Fidach was one of the sons of Cruithne, the legendary father of the Picts.
Glenfiddich offers a number of tours. The Explorer's Tour costs £10 and includes a more in depth tour and four whiskies (12yo, 15yo, 18yo and tasted in the VIP suite. Glenfiddich Solera Deconstructed - 4 15yo samples, and bottle your own blend - £50, twice daily, book in advance.
The Pioneer's tour lasts 4 hours, costs £95 and includes a taste of the 12yo, 15yo, 18yo and 21yo, and some cask samples - and take home a 20cl cask strength sample. Once a day - book a week in advance. Full details and timings - see website.
The distillery also includes the Malt Barn and Malt Barn Bar, which are open every day, except over Xmas/NewYear. There is also a large distillery shop.
When Barnard wrote up his tour of the distilleries of the United Kingdom, he only devoted a single page of narrative to Dufftown - there was only one distillery, Mortlach, managed at the time by a William Grant. Unlike at some other distilleries, Barnard doesn't mention the manager.
Grant had worked at Mortlach for 20 years before deciding he had enough experience to start a distillery of his own. So he and his family set about building one - using second hand stills from Cardhu, who were fortuitously replacing their nearly worn-out stills at the time. Glenfiddich's first spirit flowed on 25th December 1887.
The distillery was a success and by 1892, Grant had bought more land next door and built Balvenie Distillery. The distilleries are still family owned, and the company also owns 1,200 acres around the Robbie Dhu spring to safeguard its water source.
The story of Glenfiddich is intrinsically linked with that of William Grant and the company he founded.
At first Grant's sold their whisky for blending - but when their biggest customer the infamous Pattisons went bust in 1899, they started producing their own blends - the most successful of which was Grant's Standfast (named for the family motto - see more on the Craigellachie page). It was renamed Grant's Family Reserve in the 1980s.
In the 1960s, William Grant & Sons emphasised the determination to be self reliant and innovative. In 1963 Glenfiddich became the first single malt to be released into a world dominated by blended whisky. But they are also big players in the blended world - and they built their own Grain distillery at Girvan in 1964, adding a short lived malt distillery Ladyburn in 1966. 1964 had also seen the Glenfiddich malt being given a variant of the triangular bottle adopted by Grant's blend in 1957.
Then in 1969 Glenfiddich became the first distillery to open itself up to the public and built a Visitor Centre. Since 1963, Glenfiddich has maintained its position as the biggest selling single malt worldwide, though Glenlivet did pip them in 2014.
Glenfiddich has been expanded several times over the years and is now in the process of adding essentially a further distillery on the site - adding a further 15 stills and 16 washbacks, taking the capacity to around 20 million litres by 2018.
The company has also continued to expand with a new malt distillery, Ailsa Bay on the Girvan site in 2008, adding to the additional distillery in Dufftown, Kininvie opened in 1990. Having acquired the Tullamore DEW brand in Ireland, they built a new distillery there to produce it.
Oh and William Grant & Sons also own 30% of the 1887 Group, a company set up with Edrington to buy Highland Distillers (which includes Highland Park, The Macallan, Famous Grouse).
Malt Madness Wikipedia WhiskyMerchants.co.uk scotchwhisky.com
Click the Google logo on the above map to access Street View, Directions etc.
Open Cycle Map Bing Map
Nearest National Rail stations are Elgin (ELG) (14 miles), Keith (KEH) (10) or Huntly (HNT) (13). Live train times: ELG, KEH, HNT. The preserved Keith & Dufftown railway runs up to 3 trips a day at weekends in summer and some Fridays too - also during the Speyside Festivals
Glenfiddich is next to Dufftown station, half a mile down the hill from Dufftown Square on the road to Craigellachie.
Glenfiddich's range starts with the 12yo and includes other expressions at 15yo (Solera), 18yo, 21yo (rum finish), a 15yo Distillery Edition at 51% and Rich Oak, a 14yo finished in new casks. An NAS The Original, 19yo Age of Discovery Madeira finish, and older vintages at 26yo (43%), 30yo, 40yo (yearly batches, strength varies) and 50yo (46.1%) are also available - all at 40% unless otherwise stated.
The Experimental Series was introduced in 2016 - Project XX (47%); and IPA Experiment (43%). In 2017 21yo Winter Storm (43%), finished in Icewine casks was added to the series.
The Glenfiddich Gallery also offers 'bespoke' whiskies - selected casks available in personalised bottles from £430 to £100,000.
Independent bottlings extremely rare as Glenfiddich "teaspoons" any casks sold by the distillery to prevent their use as Glenfiddich Single Malt - the addition of a small amount of another single malt won't affect the taste, but it is no longer single malt.
Wardhead, with added Balvenie, has occasionally been bottled.
RMW TWE MoM
Nearest Bike shops - Elgin:(17 miles), Huntly (14)
Bikes and Bowls 7 High Street, Elgin 01343 549656
Halfords Lossie Wynd N, Elgin 01343 552030
Autospares of Huntly 49 Duke Street 01466 793682
Charlie Millett Dufftown 01340 820991
Not a shop - has a page on the Dufftown.net website - provides repairs and spares - assisted Whisky Cyclist in 2014 when stranded in Craigellachie with a damaged tyre.
Photos on this page were taken by me. Click on photo to enlarge. Full size versions of all my photos of Glenfiddich Distillery are available on Flickr.