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Described as the heart of John Dewar and Sons, the inspiration for its blends and their physical and spiritual home, the history of Aberfeldy is one of opportunism, innovation, passion and endurance. Today, the distillery’s output continues to be an essential part of the Dewar’s blends and also serves as home to Dewar’s World of Whisky.
Stephanie Macleod, Dewar’s master blender, describes the whisky as being at the heart of the Dewar’s style. “Aberfeldy is obviously the inspiration for our blends so it has a honeyed sweetness, just that hint of peatyness at the end and this is exactly what we find with White Label and Dewars 12. Essentially Dewar’s is Aberfeldy in blend form.”
Aberfeldy Distillery lies in the Scottish Highlands whisky region in an idyllic setting, amidst green hills and streams a quarter of a mile to the east of Aberfeldy village.
The site was previously home to the Pitilie Brewery and Distillery, which prospered from 1825 until its closure in 1867. There was also an earlier Aberfeldy Distillery (1830 to 1849), in fact, in 1831 there were a dozen licensed distilleries in the area. By the time the Dewar’s family bought the land most of these neighbouring distilleries had come and gone. Aberfeldy is the only one to have stood the test of time.
John A. Dewar Jr. and Thomas "Tommy" Dewar built Aberfeldy distillery to supply fillings for their successful Dewar’s blended whiskies, a brand established by their father, John Dewar. The site of the new distillery was partly chosen because of the railway that ran alongside, allowing efficient supply of barley and coal, and providing a direct link to transport the finished product to their blending facility in Perth. The brothers also had an affinity to the area as John, their father, was born on a croft about two miles away from the distillery.