Updated 6 September 2022

This page may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of our affiliate links we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. It helps us to keep this website running and buy the occasional whisky. For more information, read our disclaimer here.

Edradour Distillery | Almost The Smallest

For years Edradour Distillery positioned itself as the smallest distillery in Scotland. While they are still very wee, Strathearn Distillery was the first to steal the title; with the ever-increasing number of craft distilleries starting up, this is no longer a title worthy of competition.

While it may no longer be the smallest, Edradour Distillery is one of the loveliest, and they are still making whisky using old-school techniques. The open-topped mash tun, the worm tubs, and the Moreton's Refrigerator are now rarely found in a distillery. Coupled with its delightfully painted exterior (signature white and red), Edradour Distillery is an excellent option to visit for either a tour or a tasting. The distillery shop is also a stand-out feature; the independent bottling company Signatory Vintage owns Edradour Distillery. The shop carries an extensive range of whisky, from Edradour's and Signatory's stock. Edradour Distillery is well worth a visit for Scotch whisky fans.

Edradour Distillery are currently NOT open for tours or tastings due to COVID-19.

The malt barn/maltings closed down in the 1970s and instead the malted barley arrives in huge bags, delivered from the maltsters. The building has been a visitors' centre sine 1986 - the distillery tour starts in here with a video and tasting.

The malt barn/maltings closed down in the 1970s and instead the malted barley arrives in huge bags, delivered from the maltsters. The building has been a visitors' centre sine 1986 - the distillery tour starts in here with a video and tasting.

Edradour Distillery History

When Alfred Barnard visited Edradour Distillery around 1885-86, he noted a Barley Barn, Malt House and Mill all in the same building, a Mash Tun of 1000 gallons / 4500 litres and four Washbacks capable of holding the same. The wash still had a capacity of 740 gallons (3,364 litres), and the spirit/ low-wines still 420 gallons (1,909 litres). Annual output was 6,600 gallons (30,000 litres).

He notes that the stream running through the middle of the distillery is ‘one of the most rampant and brawling streams in the district’ with ‘water power sufficient to drive several water wheels’. The water wheels were used to power the distillery until Edradore had electricity installed in 1947.

The malt barn/maltings closed down in the 1970s and instead the malted barley arrives in huge bags, delivered from the maltsters. The building has been a visitors’ centre sine 1986 – the distillery tour starts in here with a video and whisky tasting.

The water from the burn (stream) is now used only for cooling purposes, such as in the worm tubs. Water used to produce the whisky is from a spring four miles north of the distillery.

Edradour branded whisky is matured predominantly in first-fill Oloroso Sherry Butts which hold around 500 bulk litres, or 315 litres of alcohol. Ballechin whisky is aged mostly in ex-bourbon barrels which hold 200 bulk litres and refill sherry butts (which have been used for one cycle to make Edradour whisky). Ex-wine casks are often used for finishing (enhancing the final taste and colour) for a period of 6 months to 2 years in addition to the initial time spent in the original cask.

Edradour fills on average 12 casks per week, but this varies depending on what they’re filling – it’s only seven if they’re filling sherry butts, (but!) they can fill up to 19 ex-bourbon casks.

Where Is Edradour Distillery

Edradour Distillery is 2.7 miles / 4.5 km from Pitlochry (56.7021886,-3.699581). I’ve seen a few comments online about it being hard to find – it isn’t well signed, but if you get yourself onto the unnamed road Edradour Distillery is located on, you can’t miss it! You may wonder if you’re on a private driveway as most of the road is a tree-lined narrow laneway (if you’re coming from the South).

Stagecoach East Scotland runs buses from Pitlochry to East Haugh, 1.1 miles / 1.8 km walk from the distillery.

If you are staying in Pitlochry, and the weather is in your favour, then a walk along the laneways to/from the distillery would be a day well spent.

Edradour Distillery Tours and Bookings

Edradour Distillery are currently NOT open for tours or tastings due to COVID-19.

Useful Visitor Information

Photos are allowed throughout the distillery. Edradour is one of my favourite distilleries to photograph due to its contrasting colour scheme and beautiful old equipment.

As the distillery is quite old and small, it is not very accessible, and a tour involves stairs and walking reasonably long distances on uneven surfaces. If mobility is an issue, Edradour recommends that you book in for a visit to the Tasting Bar.

Parking is fairly easy at the distillery, as there is a large car park across the road.

Distilleries Near Edradour

Where To Stay Near Edradour Distillery

We stayed at an AirBnB 45 minutes drive away in Glen Lyon – just past Aberfeldy. Glen Lyon is a stunning part of Scotland, and our single room bothy with kitchen and ensuite bathroom was perfect for two. The same host also rents out the house next door, suitable for families or those wanting more space.

The closest town to Edradour Distillery is Pitlochry, which has many hotels and other accommodation options. Located in Pitlochry, the following hotels are known for their whisky selections:

This is an affiliate link: if you click this link and make a purchase we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

orange toned bedroom at the Old Mill Inn Pitlochry

The Old Mill Inn is a family owned & run VisitScotland 4-star Gold Inn in the heart of Pitlochry. The bar at The Old Mill Inn has been named the friendliest in Tayside and Perth and you will find a great place to relax with a whisky or two during the week and a place to party at weekends with Live Music every Friday & Saturday night.

This is an affiliate link: if you click this link and make a purchase we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

picture of a beautifully made bed at McKay's hotel pitlochry

Newly refurbished contemporary hotels rooms with a Scottish twist and Highland Soap Co toiletries to indulge in. Rooms vary in style and size in keeping with the Hotel's Victorian architecture, and all have views of the treetops of Perthshire. McKays Townhouse across the road has rooms that are away from the hustle of the hotel and live music. The bar has an excellent selection of whisky.

Edradour Distillery Whisky

At the time of our visit, two free tastings were included in the tour: one Edradour 10yo (unpeated) and either a Ballechin 10yo (peated) or a Whisky Cream.

This is an affiliate link: if you click this link and make a purchase we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Edradour 10 Year Old

Edradour 10yo comes in chill filtered and un-chillfiltered versions. The un-chillfiltered Edradour 10yo whisky is a tad more expensive, but it’s also 46% A.B.V (vs 40% A.B.V). Ralfy notes below that the Edradour 10yo unchillfiltered (produced by Signatory Vintage, who own Edradour) is "a little bit bonkers. The nose is quite dramatic; it smells of a distinctly peated whisky with these nice positive herbacious fusile notes, that has been combined with a bottle of cough mixture. Edradour Distillery produce an aggresive malt. The new make spirit from Edradour Distillery is not clean, it is not refined, it is not carefully manicured. Many modern distilleries like to produce clean and fruity and smooth spirit and you'll enjoy them, but then you'll get bored of them, because you're looking for something that is a little more bonkers. This is bonkers in a glass."

This is an affiliate link: if you click this link and make a purchase we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

photograph of a Ballechin 10yo whisky miniature

Amanda liked the Ballechin a lot – it is moderately peated and easy to drink – it reminded me of something I would get from Springbank or Bunnahabhain. Samples of the Ballechin 10 YO are available from the Whisky Exchange..

Edradour Distillery Photo Gallery

This building houses almost the entire Edradour Distillery whisky making operation - the mill, mash tun, washbacks and stills. The square worm tubs are behind.

This building houses almost the entire Edradour Distillery whisky making operation - the mill, mash tun, washbacks and stills. The square worm tubs are behind.

Edradour Distillery Still House - the draff is shovelled from the Mash Tun into the trailer, then taken off to a neighbouring farm and fed to cattle.

Edradour Distillery Still House - the draff is shovelled from the Mash Tun into the trailer, then taken off to a neighbouring farm and fed to cattle.

Edradour Distillery Burn - the stream is used to cool the worm tubs. Water used to make the whisky is from a spring 4 miles north of the distillery

Edradour Distillery Burn - the stream is used to cool the worm tubs. Water used to make the whisky is from a spring 4 miles north of the distillery

The two worm tubs at Edradour Distillery. The wash still comes out on the left, and the spirit still, with its spirit purifier, is on the right.

The two worm tubs at Edradour Distillery. The wash still comes out on the left, and the spirit still, with its spirit purifier, is on the right.

Spirit Purifier leading from Low-Wines/Spirit Still into a Worm Tub Condenser at Edradour Distillery

Spirit Purifier leading from Low-Wines/Spirit Still into a Worm Tub Condenser at Edradour Distillery

The two worm tubs at Edradour Distillery. The wash still comes out in the top-most tub, and the spirit still, with its spirit purifier, is the bottom one.

The two worm tubs at Edradour Distillery. The wash still comes out in the top-most tub, and the spirit still, with its spirit purifier, is the bottom one.

The Mash Tun, Spirit Safe and Stills at Edradour Distillery. The stills are some of the smallest in Scotland. Edradour fills on average 12 casks per week, but this varies depending on what they're filling - only seven if filling sherry butts, (but!) up to 19 when filling ex-bourbon casks.

The Mash Tun, Spirit Safe and Stills at Edradour Distillery. The stills are some of the smallest in Scotland. Edradour fills on average 12 casks per week, but this varies depending on what they're filling - only seven if filling sherry butts, (but!) up to 19 when filling ex-bourbon casks.

Edradour Distillery Still House - wash still on the left, underbacks on the right, washbacks at the rear of the building, after the Moreton's Refrigerator

Edradour Distillery Still House - wash still on the left, underbacks on the right, washbacks at the rear of the building, after the Moreton's Refrigerator

The Moreton's Refrigerator at Edradour Distillery - after entering the Underback at around 69 or 75 deg C, the wort is passed through the Morton Refrigerator to cool it to around 20 deg C, before being transferred into one of the two Oregon Pine Washbacks.

The Moreton's Refrigerator at Edradour Distillery - after entering the Underback at around 69 or 75 deg C, the wort is passed through the Morton Refrigerator to cool it to around 20 deg C, before being transferred into one of the two Oregon Pine Washbacks.

Close up of Moreton's Refrigerator at Edradour Distillery - after entering the Underback at around 69 or 75 deg C, the wort is passed through the Morton Refrigerator to cool it to around 20 deg C, before being transferred into one of the two Oregon Pine Washbacks.

Close up of Moreton's Refrigerator at Edradour Distillery - after entering the Underback at around 69 or 75 deg C, the wort is passed through the Morton Refrigerator to cool it to around 20 deg C, before being transferred into one of the two Oregon Pine Washbacks.

Edradour Mash Tun: 1.15 metric tonnes of malted barley is milled into grist daily, then added to 5500 litres of water at 69 deg C in the Mash Tun. The first mash cycle takes almost 2 hours, whereas the second cycle is 30 minutes shorter, using 1800 litres at 76 deg C. The strained liquids (Wort) from both the first and second cycles drain into the Underbacks. A third wash is then run at 87 deg C. The filtered Wort from this cycle gets transferred into a separate storage tank for reuse as the next 'first wash', rather than into the Underbacks. The third Wash/Wort has the least amount of sugar in it. By re-using it as the first wash for the next batch, it optimises the few sugars it does contain.

Edradour Mash Tun: 1.15 metric tonnes of malted barley is milled into grist daily, then added to 5500 litres of water at 69 deg C in the Mash Tun. The first mash cycle takes almost 2 hours, whereas the second cycle is 30 minutes shorter, using 1800 litres at 76 deg C. The strained liquids (Wort) from both the first and second cycles drain into the Underbacks. A third wash is then run at 87 deg C. The filtered Wort from this cycle gets transferred into a separate storage tank for reuse as the next 'first wash', rather than into the Underbacks. The third Wash/Wort has the least amount of sugar in it. By re-using it as the first wash for the next batch, it optimises the few sugars it does contain.

Edradour Distillery Still House - spirit still at front, wash still at back, mash tun on the bottom right, underbacks top right, washbacks at the rear of the building, after the Moreton's Refrigerator

Edradour Distillery Still House - spirit still at front, wash still at back, mash tun on the bottom right, underbacks top right, washbacks at the rear of the building, after the Moreton's Refrigerator

The stills at Edradour are some of the smallest in Scotland - their squat profiles and the use of worm tubs means less copper available for the sulphur molecules in the spirit vapour to react with. Subsequently, the style of spirit produced by Edradour could be heavy and oily. However, the neck on the wash still is quite long, which prolongs the time the vapour is in the copper still. Additionally, the spirit/low-wines still has a 'boil ball' re-flux chamber, which forces many of the heavier compounds in the low-wines back into the main cavity of the still, for re-distillation. A spirit purifier sits between the still and the worm tub condensers in a further attempt to capture some of the heavier compounds.

The stills at Edradour are some of the smallest in Scotland - their squat profiles and the use of worm tubs means less copper available for the sulphur molecules in the spirit vapour to react with. Subsequently, the style of spirit produced by Edradour could be heavy and oily. However, the neck on the wash still is quite long, which prolongs the time the vapour is in the copper still. Additionally, the spirit/low-wines still has a 'boil ball' re-flux chamber, which forces many of the heavier compounds in the low-wines back into the main cavity of the still, for re-distillation. A spirit purifier sits between the still and the worm tub condensers in a further attempt to capture some of the heavier compounds.

Looking down over Edradour Distillery from the Malt Barn

Looking down over Edradour Distillery from the Malt Barn

Ballechin 2011 Casks and Glenlivet 1974 Casks housed in Edradour Distillery's Warehouse

Ballechin 2011 Casks and Glenlivet 1974 Casks housed in Edradour Distillery's Warehouse

References & Further Reading

This is an affiliate link: if you click this link and make a purchase we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

book cover of Charle's macleans spirit of place showing black and white phograph of whisky barrels in front of twin pagoda roofed kiln houses

Treating Scotland as eight distinct regions (splitting the Highlands into Central, North, East, and West, plus the usual designations of Lowlands, Islay, Speyside and Islands), the Spirit of Place provides insight and imagery for fifty of Scotland's greatest distilleries. Beautifully photographed by Lara Platman and Allan MacDonald, this is a captivating modern companion to Alfred Barnard's great Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom.

picture of the front cover of book The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard

One of Amanda's favourite books. Around 1885, Alfred Barnard was secretary of Harper's Weekly Gazette, a journal dedicated to the wine and spirit trade. In order to provide his readers with the history and descriptions of the whisky-making process, Barnard decided to visit all distilleries in Scotland, England and Ireland. Accompanied by friends, he visited and sketched over 150 distilleries. This is a wonderful step back in time and a must have book for a whisky history geek. 

About the author

Amanda

Amanda is an Australian-born photographer, digital nomad and whisky lover. Her passion for travel and whisky lead her to Islay, where she fell in love with an Ileach (an Islay native). Amanda and Roddy now share their Spirited Adventures.

Related posts

Distillery Wall Art + Whisky Gifts