Glenury Royal Distillery
The distillery had not been long closed when I visited there in 1986 and it was still in very good shape, but little did I know that the spirit distilled in March 1985 would be its last.
It had had quite a distinguished history as a Highland malt distillery, earning it’s regal suffix shortly after its establishment in 1825 (although it did not distill its first spirit until 5 January, 1833). The connection with royalty came through the first owner, Captain Barclay, a close associate of the then Prince Regent who later became King George IV. Lengthy ownership passed to the Ritchie family following Captain Barclay’s death in 1854. Although there were periods of closure, the Ritchie’s had it for nearly 80 years on a long lease from Lord Stonehaven. The latter sold it in July 1936 to the colourful whisky entrepreneurs, Joseph Hobbs and Hattam Attari, who were on a distillery purchasing mission for National Distillers of America. When the latter’s subsidiary, Associated Scottish Distilleries Ltd, was sold to DCL in 1953 one of the assets acquired by the latter was Glenury Royal.
Major rebuilding took place in 1965-66 with the replacement of the old water wheel by electric power as up until then much of the operation had been water powered. The distillery was licensed to the DCL subsidiary of John Gillon & Company Limited who marketed Glenury Royal as a single malt and who, curiously enough, also had King George IV as their principal brand of blended whisky, no doubt reflecting Glenury’s regal credentials!