Matheson eventually sold the distillery to three brothers of the Mackenzie family. With them came their family crest, a 12 pointed Royal stag, which adorns each of the company’s whisky releases. This crest dates back to 1263 when Colin of Kintail, the chief of Clan Mackenzie, saved King Alexander III from a charging stag. Among other things, the right to use this as their clan crest was awarded to them by the King.
The distillery remained in family hands up until 1960 when it was sold to Whyte & Mackay, which in turn has been owned by a huge array of differing parent companies. One of the main figures to have seen the distillery grow over the past 53 years is the enigmatic Richard Paterson, the company’s master blender and well known whisky figure, who has carefully watched over the numerous releases.
The distillery has recently been undergoing a facelift which has seen a new visitor’s centre at its site on the banks of the Cromarty Firth. Renovations to its main production areas are also ongoing. The current capacity is around 4.3 million litres per annum.