North British


History The distillery came on stream in September 1887, producing just under one million litres of alcohol in the remainder of that calendar year. In the first full year of production, the output of the Distillery amounted to 3.6 million litres of alcohol. In fact, the early years were so successful that in 1897 the Chairman Andrew Usher commented “there is no whisky more popular in Scotland than North British”.

Production, like most things, was affected by the First and Second World Wars but by 1955 the levels had returned to what they were before the outbreak of the wars and additional warehouses were built. By 1961 distillation activities had expanded to 13 million litres of alcohol requiring yet further investment in warehouses. The late 60’s and early 70’s were vintage years for the industry and the distillery. With both home and export sales booming, Distillery output had virtually doubled by 1968.

The Company celebrated its Centenary in 1985. One hundred years of operation had seen the company change significantly but the founding principle of a “cooperative” structure remained resolutely in place. The closure of Edinburgh’s other grain distillery, The Caledonian, was announced in 1988 leaving North British as the last remaining producer in the capital.

In 1993, after 108 years of remarkable achievements, the first significant change to the ownership structure of the company was witnessed. Robertson & Baxter combined forces with International Distillers & Vintners to form a joint venture called Lothian Distillers which bought out all other shareholders. The North British trading name was retained. The Company undertook a major strategic rationalisation of its business when it sold its Maltings and Warehousing site at Slateford Road, Edinburgh in 2002, followed by the sale of its Warehousing site at Westfield Road, Edinburgh in 2003. The Company now operates on two sites with the majority of its maturation warehousing concentrated at Muirhall in West Lothian.

Whilst it took just over 100 years for the company to produce 1.5 billion litres of alcohol, the 2.0 billion litres milestone was reached just ten years later in 2008 and 2.5 billion was reached in 2015.

The Whiskyphiles tasting notes

Official Bottling
Independent Bottling
  • North British 24 Years Old 1989 Small Batch (2014) - North British 24 Years Old 1989 Small Batch (46%, Cadenheads, Bourbon Cask, 240 Bottles, 2014) Scottish single grain whisky 46% ABV, £65.50 Score: 80/100 What they say: If your a fan of […]
Robbie Douglas
  • North British 21yo 1991 RD North British 21 Years Old 1991 Dancing Pig (2015) - North British 21 Years Old 1991 (56.8%, Robbie Douglas, 1st Fill Bourbon Cask #3229, 240 Bottles, 2012) Single grain scotch whisky 56.8% ABV, £45-£50 for 70cl Score: 79/100 What they say: Robbie […]
Scotch Malt Whisky Society
  • SMWS G1.12 Mouth puckering sweetness (2015) - North British 23 Years Old 1990 G1.12 Mouth puckering sweetness (60.3%, SMWS Refill Bourbon HH, 163 Bottles, 2014) Single grain scotch whisky buy from SMWS 60.3% ABV Score: 85/100 What they say: Cask […]
  • North British 17 Years Old 1997 Single Grain Collection (2014) - North British 17 Years Old 1997 Single Grain Collection 43% (Signatory) 43% ABV, £28 for 70cl Score: 72/100 What they say: Distilled in 1997 at Lothian Distillers Edinburgh-based North British Distillery and […]