John Smith, the founder of Cragganmore Distillery, is said to have been the most experienced distiller of his day. He had been manager of Macallan, Glenlivet and Wishaw distilleries, and was lease holder of Glenfarclas distillery when he persuaded his landlord, Sir George Macpherson-Grant, to lease him the land to build a new distillery at Ballindalloch beside the Strathspey railway line, in 1869. The distillery lies at the ‘gateway’ to Speyside, near to where the River Avon flows into the Spey. Further downstream, the distilleries are around almost every corner.
Often overlooked, Cragganmore has become something of a ‘dark horse’ Speysider. Always highly regarded by blenders, it’s traditionally been a large component of the McCallum blend.