In 1897, James Grant founded Glen Grant Number 2, named for the Glen Grant distillery which he co-founded with brother John in 1840. At the turn of the 20th century there was a massive spike in whisky demand and what followed was a surge in production based on borrowed money. Inevitably, cracks in the proverbial ice gave way and the resultant backlash, known as the ‘Pattison Crisis’, caused the closure of several distilleries. Amongst their woeful number was Glen Grant Number 2, closing in 1902.
The distillery lies in north Moraytown Village across the street from its name sake. Customs and Excise were adamant the spirit from Glen Grant No. 2 should be carried across the street to its neighbour by a pipe. Known as the ‘whisky pipe’, it was inexorably tapped by locals to plunder the spirit. With the new ownership of Glenlivet Distillers, the distillery went through renovations which began in 1965.
The name, lawfully, had to be changed after a new act was passed which did not allow two distilleries to share a name. So in 1967 it was renamed Caperdonich, meaning ‘secret well’, after the well from which it draws its water. Caperdonich (pronounced ‘CAPpa-DONick’) has produced whisky intended, almost solely, for blending. Beneficiaries have included Chivas Regal and Passport. There have been, however, some independent bottlings from bottlers such as Duncan Taylor and Douglas Laing. The one official expression, a cask strength sixteen year-old, was released in 2005. Pernod Ricard acquired Caperdonich in 2001 but retired it along with Allt-á-Bhainne and Braeval just one year later.