The Strathisla whisky distillery draws its waters from the calcium rich, peat-less Broomhill Spring. Rumour has it, kelpies - the supernatural shape shifting water horses from Scottish folk lore - haunt the spring at night. The distillery was founded by George Taylor and Alexander Milne in 1786 under the name Milltown, latterly changing the name to Milton. The original name was most probably a reference to the town of Keith in which the distillery lies, for around this period the area was a nucleus for the production of linen and the milling thereof.
The name 'Strathisla' first came into being as the moniker given to spirit from the Milton distillery. The name stuck and was subsequently applied to the distillery proper in 1870. Strathisla is the oldest distillery in the North of Scotland and it started out life as a farm distillery. During the nineteenth century, Strathisla was expanded, particularly so after a devastating fire in 1876. William Longmore owned the distillery from 1830 and when it came to his retirement in 1880 it was passed down to his son-in-law, John Geddes-Brown. A decade later, the name reverted to Milton.
During the mid-twentieth century, the distillery fell into silence. Jay Pomeroy became a majority shareholder in Milton’s parent company, William Longmore and Co. He was eventually jailed for some unsavoury business deals and, as such, the company went bankrupt in 1949. A year later, Chivas Brothers acquired the distillery at auction for £71,000. After reviving the buildings and equipment, the name was reverted to Strathisla in 1951. During the 1960s, further stills were added bringing the total capacity to just below 2.5 million litres per annum. Today, the distillery remains under Chivas Brothers’ watchful eye and they themselves having recently been acquired by Pernod Ricard.