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Balmenach Distillery was established in 1824, at a time when the area was full of smugglers' bothies and illicit drinking was a way of life. Situated in the village of Cromdale, one of the crossing points of the River Spey, the distillery stands on historic soil. On the nearby hill of Tom Lethendry stand the ruins of an old castle where in 1690 Jacobites took refuge after the battle of the Haughs of Cromdale. Balmenach Distillery was established in 1824 by a family of smugglers called Macgregor who came over the hills from Tomintoul. Situated in the beautiful district of Cromdale on the banks of the River Spey, a part of the country that clings the air of romance inevitably associated with smuggling, the distillery stands in historic soil beneath the nearby hill of Tom Lethendry where the Jacobites were defeated in battle in 1690. Balmenach Distillery is one of the earliest distilleries sanctioned as a result of new legislation in 1823. Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart, who spent his childhood in Cromdale, wrote of the time his great grandfather was visited by an excise officer just after the Excise Act had been passed. He was shown round the farm and in typical hospitality, introduced to a bottle of fine whisky. The Officer then pointed out an outbuilding and asked what it was used for. That's just peat came the reply. After a few more drams, the officer made to leave. ?If I were you, he said, I'd take out a licence for that peat shed' Mr Macgregor took the hint which is why the licence to distil dates back from 1824.