Bottle of Drambuie with contemporary packaging
Type Liqueur
Manufacturer The Drambuie Liqueur Company Limited
Country of origin Scotland
Introduced 1910
Alcohol by volume 40%
Colour Gold
Ingredients Scotch whisky, heather honey, spices and herbs
Website www.drambuie.com

Drambuie /dræmˈbi/ is a sweet, golden coloured 40% ABV liqueur made from scotch whisky, honey, herbs and spices.[1]

The brand had been owned by the MacKinnon family for a hundred years but was bought by William Grant & Sons in 2014.[2] It has been produced under contract at the Morrison Bowmore Distillers facility at Springburn Bond, Glasgow since 2010.[3]


The name "Drambuie" derives from the Scottish Gaelic phrase an dram buidheach, "the drink that satisfies".[4]


Drambuie in an older packaging style

After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Prince Charles Edward Stuart fled to the isle of Skye. There, he was given sanctuary by Captain John MacKinnon of Clan MacKinnon. According to family legend, after staying with the captain, the prince rewarded him with this prized drink recipe. This version of events is disputed by historians who believe it to be a story concocted to boost sales of the drink.[5]

The legend holds that the recipe was then given in the late 19th century to James Ross by Clan MacKinnon. Ross ran the Broadford Hotel on Skye, where he developed and improved the recipe, initially for his friends and then later for patrons in the 1870s. Ross then sold it further afield, eventually to France and the United States. The name was registered as a trademark in 1893.[4][6]

Ross died young, and to pay for their children's education, his widow was obliged to sell the recipe, by coincidence to a different MacKinnon family, in the early 20th century. The latter MacKinnon family has been producing the drink since.

Drambuie was first commercially produced in Union Street in Edinburgh in 1910. In c.1940, the company moved to bonded premises in Dublin Street Lane where the liquor was compounded (the process of flavouring and sweetening the whisky spirit). The bottling plant was in the same lane while the company office was in York Place. After a short period at Broughton Market nearby, the operation was moved, in 1955, to premises at the foot of Easter Road in Leith. Further expansion led to a move to purpose-built premises on the western edge of Kirkliston in 1959. These premises were vacated in 2001 and thereafter production was contracted out, in the first instance to the Glenmorangie bottling plant at Broxburn and, in 2010, to Morrison Bowmore Distillers.

Only twelve cases were originally sold. In 1916, Drambuie became the first liqueur to be allowed in the cellars of the House of Lords, and Drambuie began to ship world-wide to stationed British soldiers. More recently work has been done to strengthen the reputation of the brand after a downturn in popularity and sales.[7]

In 2009, Drambuie launched The Royal Legacy of 1745, an upscale malt whisky liqueur. The 40% alcohol by volume spirit won the Drinks International Travel Retail Award for Best Travel Retail Drinks Launch at the TFWA, Cannes, France in October 2009.[8]

To celebrate the centenary of Drambuie's being bottled in Edinburgh, the makers launched a new style of bottle and embarked on a television and print advertising campaign in 2010. The new bottle is clear which allows the colour of the liqueur to be seen. It has a new interlocking ‘DD’ Drambuie icon behind the brand name and this also appears on the neck.

In September 2014, Drambuie was sold to the makers of Glenfiddich, William Grant & Sons for an estimated price of around £100 million.[9]


Drambuie received the highest possible score, a "96-100", in the Wine Enthusiast's 2008 spirit ratings competition.[10]

See also


  1. "Drambuie Taste". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  2. "William Grant & Sons buys Drambuie brand". BBC News. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  3. "Morrison Bowmore seals deal to make Drambuie". Retrieved 2014-07-03.
  4. 1 2 "A new Dawn". Drambuie. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  5. Banks, Iain (2003). Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram. London: Century. ISBN 978-1-84413-195-2.
  6. "The Broadford Hotel is The Original Home of Drambuie". broadfordhotel.co.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  7. "Drambuie", Leisure and Tourism PR Campaign, Public Relations Consultant Scotland, Profile Plus. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  8. "Drinks International Travel Retail Awards winners announced". 21 October 2009. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  9. "Glenfiddich owner William Grant buys Drambuie" (Press release). Reuters. 8 September 2014.
  10. "Proof66.com Liquor Ratings and Reviews Summary Page for Drambuie". Proof66.com. Retrieved 2012-10-21.

External links

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