Elixir Distillers has been in the news recently, first getting planning permission for and then finally revealing the name of its Islay distillery: Portintruan. The company is now making what maybe its biggest announcement yet: Elixir Distillers is buying Tormore distillery.
From Elixir co-founder Sukhinder Singh: “Tormore is one of the most visually stunning distilleries in Speyside. It produces a beautiful spirit and fits in perfectly with the Elixir Distillers flavour-first philosophy to bottle only the very highest quality whiskies. We are hoping to build on the work that’s been done by Pernod Ricard to bring to life the magic of Tormore and show consumers around the world just what a hidden gem it is. We are humbled to be the new custodians of Tormore; we couldn’t have asked for a better distillery to welcome to the Elixir family alongside our new Islay distillery, Portintruan.”
The History of Tormore
Tormore has a relatively short history, opening in 1960 after a couple of years of building by founder Schenley International. It was then sold to Whitbread in 1975 and acquired by Allied Lyons (later Allied Domecq) along with the rest of Whitbread’s distilling wing in 1989, who in turn were bought by Pernod Ricard in 2005.
It was originally built mainly to supply malt for the Long John blend and while there have been occasional appearances of ongoing bottlings, they’ve never lasted for all that long. In recent years, Tormore has increasingly become a darling of independent bottlers, with indy releases complementing the extant but rarely mentioned 14- and 16-year-old distillery bottlings and helping to build the distillery’s profile.
The Future of Tormore and Elixir Distillers
The purchase is a bit of a surprise – despite working in the same office as some of the Elixir team I had no clue this was in the works – but makes a lot of sense. Tormore is a big distillery, with a capacity of about 5million LPA (litres of pure alcohol), and this moves Elixir firmly into the production market, with Portintruan’s 1million LPA following in a few years once it is built and running. The press release makes a point that there is aged stock included in the sale, so expect to see a new Tormore hitting the market sometime soon.
The press release also says that they’ll be building a visitors centre, which is fantastic news for me, as I’ve never had a chance to visit Tormore. It’s rarely open to visitors, despite looking impressive, and having beautiful looking gardens and famously elaborate topiary for a distillery. Finally, I’ll be able to admire the architecture and carefully sculpted bushes at more leisurely pace than the usual ‘through a window of a car on the A95’ flyby.
Sukhinder Singh: “We’re committed to creating a new era for Tormore. Our goal is to establish the reputation of Tormore on the global stage to match the special quality of the whisky. We want Tormore to stand shoulder to shoulder alongside the biggest names in single malt whisky and we plan to release a brand range that Scotland will be proud of.”
I can’t wait for everything to be finalised so I can start blackmailing my former colleagues to let me visit.
Elixir Distillers used to be part of The Whisky Exchange group of companies (who I work for) but was spun off as a separate company last year just before The Whisky Exchange was sold to Pernod Ricard. I still work for The Whisky Exchange and now just hear stories of the cool things the Elixir team are up to. And occasionally blag a taste of some of their whisky.