|Elgin Cathedral east elevation|
Barnard notes the conspicuous Hill of Cullen, a landmark to mariners, and its name is recorded on maps then and now as the Bin of Cullen. The picture here was taken at the mouth of the River Spey, some 8 miles closer and almost exactly half way between
|Bin of Cullen viewed from Spey Bay|
Glen Lossie Distillery was one of the few in Barnard’s book that did not have a date of origin stated. It had been built just a decade earlier in 1876 by the current owner John Duff who Barnard did note had planned the distillery himself. It was built as a double oblong and with the exception of the stone built Still House it was constructed from concrete which “looked beautifully white and clean”.
Barnard records the two water supplies as a nearby reservoir fed from the Mannoch Hills to provide water for driving a water wheel, and the Creich Spring in a hill beside the distillery whose waters are collected in a covered cistern and likely, although not stated, as then being used for mashing. The reservoir supply is the Foths Burn (which begins as the Burn of Bardon in the Mannoch Hills south of the distillery) and which continues on through the distillery grounds before turning north and becoming the Burn of Linkwood and feeding the reservoir behind the distillery of that name.
|Glenlossie kiln and granaries (now disused)|
The mash tun was a little different here being one of the last few still made from timber and relatively small at just 13 feet by 5. The tun room contained six washbacks at 13,600 litres each and feeding two old pot stills that were heated by furnace. The stills were mid-sized for the time and similar in size at 8,020 and 7,488 litres and there is nothing else of particular interest recorded in Barnard’s report.
|Glenlossie warehouses and Thomshill beyond|
A railway siding was later built to connect the distillery to the Elgin-Craigellachie line almost a mile and a half way. Benriach and Longmorn Distilleries, both founded by John Duff in the 1890s, were located beside this railway on either side of the Glen Lossie siding near to its junction, each of the newer distilleries themselves having separate sidings. Barnard doesn’t mention a siding at Glen Lossie and the first map I can find it on is dated 1905 so it was likely built in the 1890s along with those for the other two new distilleries.
Duff’s fortunes were mixed as the industry headed through the Pattison crash in 1898 but Glen Lossie seemed to keep going through this and eventually joined DCL in 1919. In 1929 there was a major fire here that was fought with the help of the steam powered engine now on display at Dallas Dhu distillery museum. The distillery was restored after the fire before transferring to DCL subsidiary SMD the following year. At some time the distillery name was consolidated into the single word Glenlossie.
|Glenlossie fire engine at Dallas Dhu|
The warehouses were further extended at regular intervals and the Glenlossie Bonds now hold around 250,000 casks from many different distilleries in a mixture of dunnage and racking warehouses. Most of the annual output of 1.8m litres goes into blends including Haig’s but a couple of limited single malt releases have been available.
Mannochmore Distillery, ElginOne of the biggest developments along the short valley in which the distillery sits was the building of this completely new distillery on the east side of the Glenlossie buildings in 1971 and a dark grains plant opened to the east of that the same year. It is not easy to tell which buildings are which and Mannochmore is barely visible from the roads on either side of the dell, the old Glenlossie kiln and the dark grains plant almost obscuring the view from either end. Mannochmore was the only distillery that was built near
The name may have been a reference to the moor in the hills from where Glen Lossie once cut its peat but its actual origins are obscure. Some records provide a translation as ‘Place of the Monks’ but that only makes sense from ‘manach’ meaning ‘monk’ and it seems unlikely. ‘More’ should be from the Gaelic mòr for big but it is just as likely it was named after the Mannoch Hill, possibly meaning ‘middle hill’ which it certainly is geographically, with ‘more’ added to make it sound more, um, Scottish?
After the initial hope of the 1970s the new distillery was mothballed from 1985 to 1989. Later from the mid 1990s the two adjacent distilleries were worked by the same staff for half a year at a time in rotation. Since 2007 they have gone back to full time production and Mannochmore now produces around 2.8m litres p.a. The internal arrangements are all generally larger than at Glenlossie with a cast iron mash tun taking an 11.1 tonne mash and 8 larch washbacks at 54,000 litres each. The stills are a slightly different arrangement with a wash charge of 14,400 litres and a spirit still charge of 17,000.
Like Glenlossie there have been very few official single malt bottlings of Mannochmore, a 12yo in the Flora & Fauna range the most widely available. They were also noted for producing Loch Dhu whisky for a couple of years in the late 1990s. It was matured in over-charred bourbon casks, was black in colour (hence the name Dhu which is Gaelic for black) and was like no other Speyside whisky seen before or since. The marmite of the whisky world apparently, although there are a few whiskies that could take that moniker, but not all will currently sell for around £200 a bottle!
|Glenlossie/Mannochmore dark grains plant and warehouses|