Glenora Distillery

  • Novia Scotia, Canada
Glenora Distillery

Glenora’s story starts in the early 1800’s, when Scottish immigrants flocked to Cape Breton Island off the northern tip of Nova Scotia, a place with a beauty so like the highlands and islands of Scotland that they decided to settle here and make it their permanent home. In fact, the name Nova Scotia literally translates to ‘New Scotland.’ Being a part of Nova Scotia’s heritage means that Cape Breton Island is one of very few places on Earth where Gaelic culture and language thrive. As Scottish descendants, the people who live there passionately keep the dearest aspects of their ancestors' colourful culture alive, not the least of which is the tradition of whisky in the Scottish style. In the late 1980’s, the founder of Glenora Distillery, Bruce Jardine, launched his plan to build his single malt whisky distillery in Glenville. Determined to “get it right”, he sought out the expertise of Bowmore Distillers in Scotland; they lent their hand with production training and the sourcing of authentic Scottish copper pot stills and a mash tun for the distillery. After the construction of the distillery in 1990, initial production yielded 20 barrels of the first single malt whisky produced in North America. In 1994, Glenora and its maturing whisky was acquired by its present owners who, like Bruce, are of Scottish ancestry with Cape Breton roots. The whisky they produce is on par with the great single malts in Scotland. As with all great Scotch, water is an essential ingredient in the production process: Glenora’s comes from MacLellan’s Brook; the purest and cleanest source of water in Cape Breton. The brook tumbles out of the Mabou Highlands, runs through Glenora Distillery’s grounds, and can be found in every whisky they produce.


When Glenora Distillery started production in 1990 it was the first step to Canadian single malt. There had of course already been different kinds of whiskey in Canada but up to that point no distillery had produced in the Scottish way and used nothing but malt.

Glenora and Bowmore had a strong connection from the beginning and the collaboration in the first years helped the new Canadian distillery to learn and develop. Since 1994 the distillery is under control of Lauchie MacLean from Bedford. The Glenora Distillery is situated in the town of Glenville, Inverness County, and is a real picturesque jewel, visited by 12.000 tourists annually.

The Mashing - The barley that is used at Glenora is shipped to Canada from Scotland after being malted. The water used here is taken from MacLellan’s Brook that flows through the distillery’s property. A lauter mash tun is used for mashing.

The Fermentation - During 60 hours in three wooden washbacks the wash is fermented until it ends up with 8% ABV.

The Distillation - Two 5.600 liter pot stills had been installed by Forsyths of Rothes but they were already second handed: They formerly stood in the stillroom of Bowmore distillery on Islay.

A View of Glenora Distillery