The village of Blair Atholl (with the 'Atholl' spelt slightly differently to that of the distillery) is a few miles north of the distillery and is home to the 13th century Blair Castle, home of the Duke of Atholl and the UK's last private army, the Atholl Highlanders.
Around 95% of Blair Athol's malt whisky is aged in bourbon barrels andg oes into Diageo's Bell's blend, which has owned the distillery since 1933. The remainder is matured in sherry casks and is bottled as a 12 year-old single malt under the Flora and Fauna label. Other expressions are very rare, although there was a cask-strength Flora and Fauna bottling and a Rare Malts expression in the 1990s, as well as an 18yo official bottling released to celebrate the distillery's bicentenary in 1998. A small number of independent bottlings have appeared in the last few years.
Blair Athol Distillery stands at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands in the picturesque town of Pitlochry. The Distillery produces a 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, with a mellow deep-toned aroma, a strong fruity flavour and a smooth finish. Blair Athol wins hearts through its contribution to the Bell's Blend, the most popular blended whisky in the U.K. and a leading brand in South Africa and Scandinavia.
The first documented evidence of a distillery on the present site dates from 1798 when John Stewart and Robert Robertson founded a distillery which they named "Aldour" - after the Allt Dour - the "burn of the otter" - which flows through the grounds from the slopes of Ben y vrackie. Their venture, however, was not a success, probably due to the heavy excise duties on malt whisky levied by the government and the distillery shut.
In 1826 Blair Athol was revived and by 1827 was being run by Alexander Connacher. The distillery was taken over by Peter Mackenzie & Co in the middle of the 19th century and was enlarged and improved so that by 1886 Blair Athol was capable of producing over 1,500 gallons (6,800 litres) per week. This has increased to 38,000 litres per week in 2003.
In 1933 Blair Athol was acquired by Arthur Bell & Sons, now a subsidiary of Diageo. The distillery had been closed in 1932 and remained shut throughout the years of depression and the Second World War. In 1949 it was extensively rebuilt and has been in production ever since. In 1970 an additional two stills were added.