Monday, May 27, 2024

Lightly Peated

Whisky, Blabber 'n' Smoke


Deanston Linked With Loch Lomond

I thought I had closed my book on Deanston but what do you know – research is never finished as there is always something new or overlooked. In this case it was something overlooked – just a small thing; so this post is nothing more than a tiny addendum. 

There is another building that was once part of a cotton mill which is used for whisky. The old bleaching works at Catrine are now used as a warehouse and bottling plant. Although it is not a distillery it is nevertheless a link between Deanston and another distiller. Perhaps it is even more direct way than the one with Clynelish as the relationship between Deanston and Catrine mills was always close.    

Archibald Buchanan spent the last 40 years of his life at Catrine after managing Deanston. He also bought up and instructed his nephew James Smith, who later became Deanston’s pioneering manager. Additionally both mills were owned by the same company, James Finlay and Company, of which Archibald Buchanan was also a partner. There was also a cross-fertilisation between the two mills: Deanston introduced gas lighting in 1813, followed a year later by Catrine. Catrine built the largest waterwheel in Britain, Deanston followed with the slightly smaller Hercules (though the distillery and Wkipedia claim it was the largest waterwheel in Europe, the wheels at Catrine were 50 feet in diameter, Hercules was 36 feet six inches). In other words best practice within the mills of James Finlay Company was copied and adapted by two technically innovative managers. 

The Catrine mill buildings are now demolished but the bleaching works survive and are home to The Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse is part of the Loch Lomond Group.

If there was going to be a ‘Cotton Industry Blend’ then Loch Lomond would offer more scope than the Clynelish ‘Clearance Blend’ as it produces different styles of whisky, including smokey.

Something for me to play with at home. 

P.S. Whisky tourism might be a big thing now but visiting industrial wonders is nothing new. The big water wheels at Catrine were also a big tourist attraction in their time. The photo on the home page is of these ‘Lions of Catrine’

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