Meet our Whisky Distillery Manager

Each year our Distillery Manager, John MacDonald, selects whiskies that have reached the peak of perfection.   A measured, precise process. We say process, but there’s nothing mechanical about Balblair. Not our whisky. Nor our methods. John lets our Vintages follow a natural course, and complements this with traditional distilling methods.

Judging a Vintage is a time-earned art. Understanding the alchemy of process and environment takes dedicated craftsmanship.

A Lifetime's Experience

A Lifetime's Experience

A native Highlander, John, has a lifetime's experience in creating unique whiskies having worked in the whisky industry since leaving college. 

John’s first position in the whisky industry was at a distillery not too far from Balblair and was supposed to just be a year out from studying  but he ended up staying for 17 years! 

During his time there, John spent 18 months in warehousing before spending a year as mill-man. He was then promoted to mash-man where he spent three and a half years followed by five and a half years as a still-man before being offered the chance to become Assistant Distillery Manager.

Despite spending 17 years here and enjoying every minute, when the position of Balblair Distillery Manager came up in 2006, John saw this as his dream job. He had always been a big fan of Balblair whisky and greatly admired the distillery and its location. 

Distillery Tours

Distillery Tours

In addition to distilling whisky, John also offers visitors to Balblair personal tours of the Distillery.

John is fiercely proud of his dedicated workforce and beautiful, traditional Distillery set in the tranquil village of Edderton, near Tain. He often comments on his enjoyment at seeing visitors reactions when they take a tour and they realise that people make Balblair and not a computer.

Since I came here not a lot has changed other than décor and some items of machinery. Change is not always a good thing – consistency of product is the name of the game for a distiller.

Distillery Manager, John MacDonald

The Balblair Collection

John continues to examine the stock in the warehouses at Balblair to make sure they reach their optimum point of maturation and believes there really are some wonderful casks for future release. With a beautiful bottle and packaging together with a fantastic whisky it is no surprise that Balblair continues to attract a growing number of enthusiastic admirers.

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