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Glenglassaugh stands on raised, open ground near the sea and near the pretty fishing village of Portsoy, Banffshire. In Napoleonic times, smugglers used to gather in the Star Inn North High Street; even then it was already a century old. In the 18th century a pink and green serpentine stone was mined here, which went into fine houses all over Britain and Europe. Several chimneypieces in the Palais de Versailles are made from Portsoy marble, the latter so-called because Lord Boyne was able to have imports of foreign marble to Britain banned to protect sales of the Portsoy stone came from his estates. Boyne Castle, east of town, was the home of Mary Beaton, one of Mary Queen of Scots' Four Marys in the old song. Glenglassaugh was founded in 1875 and was bought by present owners, Highland Distilleries, during the 1890s, then closed again in 1907. The distillery was in production only for very short bursts during the period 1907-1960, amounting to a meagre four or five years in all. It was rebuilt in 1960 to an advanced design for the time and has stayed in production until the present except for a silent period in the late 1980s. The buildings are functional and unremarkable in appearance. In 2008 the Scaent Group bought the distillery from Highland Distillers for a sum of £5M. Peat used to be cut from the Crombie moss nearby and the distillery grew its own barley on an 80-acre farm. The fast flow of the River Glassaugh was utilised from the outset and the distillery was entirely water-powered for a long time. The distillery has only ever had a single pair of stills but it succeeded in doubling production capacity simply by installing new stills of double the previous size. These have 'boil pots balls' on the necks - round bulges that create a kind of reflux, to yield lighter spirit.


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