My visit took place shortly after Guinness plc had taken over Arthur Bell & Sons in 1985. The distillery was operating at 80% of capacity and appeared to have an assured future. How wrong I was. Bell’s had shown remarkable growth under Raymond Miquel through cost cutting and improved productivity which saw the opening of Pittyvaich-Glenlivet distillery – as it was originally called - in 1974. It was an unromantic, utilitarian affair designed to find economies of scale by operating in close conjunction with Dufftown, another Bell’s distillery nearby in the famous whisky town of that name.
With the creation of United Distillers in 1986, following the merger of Guinness with DCL, rationalisation of distilling capacity in the enlarged company was probably inevitable and Pittyvaich closed in 1993 and was demolished in 2002. Created strictly for blending, independent bottlings are scarce and there was only one ever official bottling during the life of the distillery and a couple since.