Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

Ardmore Distillery former maltings, kiln house, mill room and Warehouses 1 and 2, excluding all other structures, KennethmontLB49668

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 55221 29263
355221, 829263


Buildings that form part of a large whisky distillery designed by Charles C Doig and established in 1898 for William Teacher & Sons. The maltings, kiln house, mill room and warehouses 1 and 2 date from 1898 to before 1928. They are little-altered components of a wider complex that was extensively modified and extended in the later 20th century.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: all structures apart from the former maltings, kiln house, mill room and Warehouses 1 and 2.

The late 19th and early 20th century buildings are constructed predominantly of squared coursed granite rubble with tooled margins and long and short quoins. The masonry is slaistered, with mortar overlapping the stone blocks around the joints. The roofs are predominantly of pitched slate with stone skews and skewputts but some buildings have sheet cladding. There are several ornamental hoppers (mostly cast iron) to the rainwater goods, particularly to the maltings and warehouses.

The north section of the site has a long range of buildings laid out along the south side of the railway track. At the east end is the triple gable former maltings. Adjoining this to the northwest is a square plan kiln house with a pyramidal roof surmounted by a louvered pagoda cupola with a ball finial. To the west is the former mill room, a stone building with a pitched, slated roof aligned east / west. The attached buildings to the west and south of this structure are not included in the listing. The warehouses lie across a road to the south.

The former maltings is 2 storeys and comprises 3 adjoining ranges with gables to the north and south. The west and central ranges date from 1898, while the east range was added before 1928. There are 13-bays to the east elevation, the bays divided by slim buttresses. There is a forestair leading up to a timber-boarded door in a dormer-headed opening that breaks the eaves at the 4th bay. There are predominantly 12-pane timber windows to ground floor, with timber-louvred openings to the 1st floor, and small rooflights. There are large door openings to far left and right (the latter is modern). On the south elevation there are large sliding timber-boarded doors to the left sides of the 3rd and 5th bays from the left. The windows are predominantly 12-pane glazing in fixed timber frames, with 4-pane glazing to 2 bays to left to ground floor. The north elevation of the maltings is similar to the south, however the windows have been predominantly blocked to the ground floor. There is 2-pane glazing to the 1st floor. To the left is a projecting loading platform. The interior of the former maltings has cast iron supporting columns to the ground and first floors, with steel beams, timber floors and a kingpost roof. The west part of the building has waist-high concrete divisions that were part of Saladin boxes, containers in which malt could be turned by vertical screws.

The former malt kiln is part of the 1898 layout. It has no openings to the north and is abutted by a modern metal-clad structure to the south that is excluded from the listing.

The former mill room building to the west also dates to 1898. It is 3 bays to the north elevation, with a door opening to the left and two 16-pane timber windows in fixed timber frames with central mullions. The mill room contains a single cylinder horizontal steam engine by G Chrystal of St Johns Foundry, Perth.

Warehouses 1 and 2 are the earliest parts of a long range of bonded warehouses, located across an access road to the south of the maltings. Warehouse 1 dates from 1898 and Warehouse 2 was added before 1928. They have 4 gables each and to the north every gable end has a central 2-leaf timber-boarded door flanked by windows to the ground floor and a single window above. To the south elevation the gables have 3 windows to the ground floor with a single window above. The interiors have rammed earth and ash floors. These are dunnage warehouses, in which barrels are stacked and kept in position using loose timber.

Statement of Special Interest

Ardmore Distillery has several buildings that date from before 1928, survive largely intact, and retain features characteristic of their building type and for their date. The buildings also include some now rare components, such as the horizontal steam engine in the mill room. The distillery is associated with Charles Doig, who was a pioneer in distillery design, inventing the Doig Ventilator, now probably the most distinctive feature of a Scottish distillery. The distillery is prominently set in the landscape. More widely, the site lies to the east of the main concentration of Scottish distilleries in Speyside, and is a rare example in central Aberdeenshire, which adds to its interest in listing terms. These buildings, which have been in continued use since the late 19th century, are a tangible historic link to whisky distilling, Scotland's most iconic industry.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: all structures apart from the former maltings, kiln house, mill room and Warehouses 1 and 2.

Age and Rarity

The early layout of the distillery is visible on the Ordnance Survey 25 inch map surveyed in 1899 and published in 1901. The map shows the two early maltings ranges, the kiln house, the mill room, and Warehouse 1, together with other structures that have now been demolished or extensively altered. The map evidence is corroborated by an early photograph hanging in the distillery that shows the north elevation and confirms the maltings initially had only two gabled ranges. Aerial photographs taken in 1928 (see Canmore record) show the addition of a third gabled section to the maltings to the east. They also show the construction of Warehouse 2, adjoining Warehouse 1 to the east.

There was little change to the distillery between 1928 and 1955 apart from the addition of new warehouses (Ordnance Survey 1:10560 map, sheet NJ 52 NE, revised 1955, published 1961), but in subsequent decades the number of stills was increased from two to four, then from four to eight. Buildings such as the mash house and tun room were much altered and the still house and spirit store were demolished and replaced. Buildings such as warehouses 3-10 date to several decades after the establishment of the distillery. Many of the later buildings use different construction materials such as concrete blocks or render. The buildings that are extensively altered or date to after 1928 are excluded from the listing.

The maltings went out of use in the 1970s when on-site malting ended, but the building was retained substantially unaltered, though some modern office accommodation exists in the northeast part of the structure. The kiln house, mill room, and warehouses 1 and 2 also contain much surviving fabric that predates 1928.

Industrial scale whisky production in Scotland developed in the 1770s and 1780s, and distilling has remained one of Scotland's most important industries. In 1823, an Excise Act that cut the duty on spirit production had a dramatic effect on the industry and over 200 new distilleries were licensed in two years. Many of these new distilleries soon disappeared, but the survivors form the nucleus of today's Scotch whisky industry.

By the 1890s the industry was booming again following the introduction of blended whisky in 1860. New distilleries were founded and existing ones were rebuilt on a larger scale, many in Moray and Banffshire. Between 1894 and 1899 around 20 new distilleries were built, including Ardmore, which Teachers founded to provide malt whisky for their Highland Cream blend. The majority are still in operation but have been largely remodelled, though some original buildings have been retained, particularly kilns and warehouses. Examples can be seen at Glenfiddich, Glentauchers, Balvenie, and Glendullan (not listed). Distilleries of this period which are largely unaltered have usually ceased production. Examples include Parkmore (LB1586) and Coleburn (LB8435) listed at category B or Dallas Dhu (LB8689) listed at category A.

While the buildings at Ardmore are not early in the overall context of the whisky industry, the maltings, kiln house, mill room and warehouses 1 and 2 retain many distinctive characteristics typical of their building type and date. These include the malt kiln roof with Doig ventilator (see below), the maltings building with largely intact external elevations, roof and malting floors, and two early dunnage warehouses. These buildings, which have been in continued use since the late 19th century, are a tangible historic link to Scotland's most iconic industry. In addition, the single cylinder horizontal steam engine in the mill room is a rare survival. The only other Scottish distillery we know to have a steam engine inside is Longmorn Distillery, in Speyside.

Architectural or Historic Interest


The former maltings retains a number of features which are typical for its building type and date, including decorative cast iron columns at ground and first floors, steel beams, timber floors, and king-post roofs. There are also some interesting interior structures (see Technical excellence or innovation, material or design quality below).

Warehouses 1 and 2 have a timber framed roof structure, which is typical of an industrial building of this date and function. They retain traditional use of dunnage, or loose timber, to keep barrels stable.

Plan form

The plan form of the maltings, kiln, mill room and warehouses are typical for buildings of this date and type. The layout is the same as that also used by Doig at Dallasmore Distillery (later named Dallas Dhu, see LB8689).

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

The buildings (maltings, kiln, mill room, Warehouses 1 and 2) largely retain their traditional form (characterised by gables, small openings, some with timber shuttering) and they are constructed in traditional local materials. The design and stone construction is typical for a distillery of this date. The malt kiln has an ogee/pagoda roof with a Doig ventilator (see below).

Charles Chree Doig was a specialist in designing distillery buildings. He was born in Alyth in 1855 and went to Elgin in 1882 as assistant to H M S Mackay, land surveyor. Doig quickly became a partner in the business, and extended it to civil engineering and architecture, specialising in distillery work, his practice in that field extending to Ireland.

Doig's most noted achievement was the invention of a ventilator in 1889 which improved the efficiency of the chimneys at Daluaine Distillery Maltings. This innovation was later known as the Doig Ventilator, and its pagoda-like shape has become the most characteristic single feature of Scottish distilleries. There is one on top of the malt kiln at Ardmore. It was highly practical but also carefully designed in the 'golden ratio' and thus visually pleasing. Doig died in 1918, leaving an extensive legacy of distillery architecture across the country, such as in areas of Banffshire, Morayshire, Inverness-shire and Angus.


The distillery is located in Kennethmont on a site bounded by a railway line to the north and the B9002 to the south. The siting of distilleries next to railways is typical in the later 19th century. The listed buildings still form part of an operational distillery and retain their industrial setting which has been largely modernised to the south and west. The establishment of the distillery brought extra employment to Kennethmont. Additional contextual interest of this setting is found in the former workers' houses facing the distillery across the main road through Kennethmont.

The distillery is clearly visible from the road, and is prominent in the landscape.

Regional variations

Almost half of the country's malt whisky distilleries are in Speyside where they are a key part of its architectural character. This distillery lies east of Speyside, outside the main distribution of distilleries. It is characterised by its use of local granite as a building material.

Close Historical Associations

None known at present.



Canmore: CANMORE ID 87567


Ordnance Survey. Aberdeenshire 043.03 (includes: Kennethmont)

(surveyed in 1899, published in 1900). 25 inch to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey. Sheet NJ52 (revised in 1960, published in 1961). 2.5 inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Printed Sources

Third Statistical Account of Scotland (1960) Vol VII. The County of Aberdeen. Glasgow: Collins. p633.

Hume, J.R. (1977) The Industrial Archaeology of Scotland (Vol 2): the Highland and Islands. p104.

Moss, M. and Hume, J. (1981). Making of Scotch Whisky: The History of the Scotch Whisky Distilling Industry. London: James & James Ltd. pp 118,121, 122, 176, 186, 247.

Shepherd, I. (1994). Gordon: An Illustrated Architectural Guide. Edinburgh: The Rutland Press. p53

Sharples, J. Walker, D., Woodworth, M. (2015) The Buildings of Scotland: Aberdeenshire: South and Aberdeen. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. p586.

Online Sources

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, entry from Charles Chree Doig: [accessed 15/03/2017]

The Whisky Exchange; The Lost Distilleries of Scotland: [accessed 17/03/2017]

Other Information

Other information courtesy of the owner (2017)

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Former Maltings, Ardmore Distillery, principal elevation, looking west. during daytime, on a cloudy day.
Bonded warehouses Ardmore Distillery, principal elevation, looking southwest, during daytime, on a cloudy day.

Printed: 21/02/2024 12:36