This ghost had so many name changes and variations in function, that its true identity is quite hard to define. It started off in 1897 as Highland Esk. Within two years it was renamed, with a change in owner, to North Esk. It was closed during World War I, only to catch fire in 1919, after which its sole function was as a maltings. In 1939 it re-opens as a grain distillery and is renamed Montrose, after the nearby town of that name, only quickly to close again for the period of World War II when it was used to billet troops. Through various ownership changes it finally falls into the hands of DCL in 1953 with their acquisition of Associated Scottish Distilleries. Grain whisky production ceases shortly thereafter only to start up again in 1959. It is converted back to malt whisky distilling in 1964 and enjoys another name change to Hillside. However, this lasts only until 1980 when it becomes Glenesk, before finally closing in 1985. Phew!
In parallel with all this the maltings had a much more stable existence with the original floor maltings being replaced by drum maltings in 1968, with a further expansion in 1976 so that they could serve a number of DCL’s distilleries in the region.
Despite all this the whisky enjoyed a good reputation and a number of official expressions were released particularly in the “Rare Malts” series. Gordon & MacPhail also did a number of bottlings. Some of both are offered here under the last two names used by the distillery.