Inchgower was built in 1871 by Alexander Wilson & Company to replace the Tochineal distillery. The original equipment from Tochineal was even used in the establishment of the site.
Official bottlings released from the Speyside distillery of Inchgower are few and far between, making them an extremely valuable addition to any collection. There are only three official bottlings for buyers to choose from, which consist of the 14 year old bottling that was released as part of the Flora & Fauna range, and the 'Rare Malts Collection' bottlings, which have included a 22 year old and a 27 year old.
In comparison, independent bottlings are quite plentiful. Bottlings have been performed by Hunter Laing, Gordon & MacPhail, as well as Douglas Laing. There is a strong variety of age and vintage among the independent bottlings, making the process of choosing a single bottle even more difficult.
One of the reasons for the scarce amount of official bottlings from Inchgower distillery is that the vast majority of the single malt produced at the site is used in blending. Only 1% of the spirit distilled at the site is actually sold as single malt. The Bell's family owned the distillery for a significant portion of time and as a result Inchgower became an important component in the Bell's blends, as well as Johnnie Walker and the White Horse Blends.
The water used in the production of Inchgower is drawn from a burn in the nearby Menduff Hills, which lay to the south of the town of Buckie, where the distillery is located. Because Inchgower draws its water from this source, the spirit is technically classed as a 'Lower Speyside Malt'. The distillery has a production capacity of almost 3 million litres.
Inchgower is powered by four pot stills: two wash, two spirit. All of the stills have a 'pear' shape, with extremely wide spherical lids and tall, conical necks. The flat top of the still results in a slightly higher degree of reflux, as the progress of the vapours is not as gradual and progressive than it is with the necks of the more common 'Speyside'-style still. The wash stills have a capacity of 12'500 litres, while the spirit stills sit at a slightly smaller capacity of 7'200 litres.
Inchgower has a history of being a fairly self-sufficient distillery. The site even housed it's own cooperage, which was pretty unique. The distillery used to use it's own floor maltings, but nowadays it sources its malt from a Diageo-owned malting facility in Burghead, 20 miles to the west of Buckie. The malt that is used is unpeated.
Despite the fact that it is a fairly small-scale distillery, Inchgower has a pretty impressive warehouse facility. It boasts 13 dunnage and racked on-site warehouses, which can house up to 60'000 casks. The distillery uses a combination of sherry and American oak casks, although sherry is used more often than American oak. Interestingly, the majority if the spirit housed in these warehouses isn't actually Inchgower single malt.