At the banks of the River Livet, by the Tamnavulin whisky distillery, there sits an ancient three storey wool carding mill. Built of rubble, the mill dates back to 1560 and accordingly the village Tomnavoulin - note the differing spelling - takes its name from the Gaelic for ‘Mill on the hill’. The Tamnavulin whisky distillery draws its water from underground springs in the surrounding hillside and takes its cooling waters from the River Livet, whose headwaters rise in the Grampians in Moray before flowing eleven miles until their confluence with the River Avon.
Founded in 1966 by a subsidiary of Invergordon Distillers Ltd, the whisky distillery has changed little during its relatively short life. Woefully, the Tamnavulin is rather typical of 1960s-constructed distilleries and the exterior is decidedly industrial, in stark contrast to its markedly stunning locality. The three pairs of stills have a total capacity of four million litres annually, though this has yet to be reached.
The Tamnavulin distillery has been under the ownership of United Spirits since their acquisition of Whyte and Mackay in 2007. The whisky distillery had previously been silent for over a decade, having been mothballed in May of 1995. Under the new ownership, there has been the addition of new staff as well as increased working hours; Tamnavulin now operates seven days a week, which should bring production to near full capacity.