Strathisla Distillery is possibly the oldest commercial distillery in Scotland. It is also one of the most interesting and picturesque. Chivas Brothers, part of the Chivas and Glenlivet Group (itself part of Seagrams) produces Chivas Regal, the leading international ‘premium brand’ whisky. Competition in the whisky industry is as much about selling whisky as about making it and the character, quality and presentation of the distilleries themselves and the hospitality they can offer to overseas buyers as well as to passing visitors is increasingly important.
The work was led by Simpson & Brown in partnership with Acanthus colleagues Douglas Forrest Architects in Huntly and was part of a larger strategy which also involved the Law Dunbar Nasmith Partnership of Forres.
The buildings were carefully repaired and restored, the offices were relocated and a new visitor area formed with a simple traditional atmosphere. The tour has been designed to be self-guided and visitors are encouraged to talk to the distillery workers. The ‘dramming room’ and the shop reproduce the atmosphere of Chivas Brothers’ Victorian shop in Aberdeen. Fine traditional Board and Retiring Rooms are provided at Linn House, a former mill owner’s house nearby which has been restored and redecorated after lying derelict for forty years.