Glenturret has teamed up with Lalique to create a lavish experience.

Steeped in tradition but with an eye to the future, Scotland’s whisky industry increasingly draws on its heritage to heighten the country’s tourism offering. On the outskirts of Crieff in bucolic Perthshire, The Glenturret ( exemplifies this approach. Emerging from an historic renovation, the 250-year-old distillery, previously home to The Famous Grouse Experience, now pairs its traditional visitor experience with gastronomy, lavish design and fine wines.

The multi-million-pound revamp comes after the Lalique Group, best known for crystal production but also the name behind several wineries and châteaux hotels in France, acquired Glenturret through a joint venture with Swiss entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss. Since announcing the acquisition in 2019, Lalique Group, led by chairman Silvio Denz, has forged ahead with ambitious development plans.

French-Canadian François Chartier has made a name for himself

In 2020, Glenturret unveiled its new core collection. Whisky maker Bob Dalgarno, who was previously with Macallan before joining Glenturret in 2019, created a range consisting of four expressions: Triple Wood, 10-year-old Peat Smoked, 12-year-old and 15-year-old, along with 25-year-old and 30-year-old limited editions, all in Lalique-designed bottles.

The Lalique-led transformation was then revealed in July. The newly renovated home now combines the original architecture of these distillery buildings with the luxurious design that’s synonymous with the crystal company founded in 1888.

Situated in the centre of the distillery, the Glenturret Lalique Restaurant – the first for Lalique outside France – pairs the exposed brickwork and beamed ceilings of the centuries-old building, with soft golden barley tones and the blues and reds of the Glenturret and Murray clan tartans.

Barley crystal motifs adorn polished oak and two Lalique Champs Elysées chandeliers hang overhead.

The 30-cover restaurant is headed up by Glasgow-born chef Mark Donald, who was previously at Michelin-starred Number One at The Balmoral. Donald creates contemporary tasting menus that highlight produce sourced and foraged in the region, with inspiration taken from Scottish whisky-making tradition. Playfully presented plates range from the chef’s take on a tattie scone with black truffle and pecorino to a lobster-shaped “Bisque-it” consisting of lobster coral wafers, a thermidor crème pât and a dusting of smoked lobster cocktail powder.

This seven-course tasting menu comes paired with wines from the site’s new cellar. The restaurant’s Alsace-born sommelier, Julien Beltzung, is on hand to introduce guests to the extensive wine collection, which earned the Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator immediately after opening.

The largely French 420-bin wine list is categorised by region with a particular focus on Bordeaux and the inclusion of exceptional bottles from Silvio Denz’s private collection. Look out for the 1920 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey Premier Grand Cru Sauternes.

French-Canadian François Chartier has made a name for himself

Wine tasting sessions are hosted in this new cellar, as well as upstairs at the more recently launched Vinotheque where private sessions are held around a table for 12. A 236-label whisky offering, including whisky flights, is then presented at the gleaming hand-crafted Lalique Bar, along with signature cocktails like the Glenfizz comprising Triple Wood whisky, dandelion syrup, Bourgoin verjus and soda.

The distillery itself remains the same, with original hand-operated machinery still in use, but the tasting at the end of each tour now takes place at a dedicated Lalique-designed whisky-tasting bar distinguished by its dark wood, crystal barley motifs and Lalique chandeliers. An afternoon tea encompassing whisky-infused treats, like Glenturret sherry cask-soaked fruit scones, is served in the new salon and the distillery’s whiskies sit alongside Lalique objets d’art and fine wines on the shelves of a new boutique.

Ultimately, the team is adamant that the transformation will enhance, not change, the Glenturret experience.

“We’re still very much a distillery that people can come to for a classic tour and if they just want to enjoy a dram of whisky at the bar,” says restaurant general manager, Colin Hart. “But we’ve also now got the other side of that, which is beautiful afternoon teas and multi-course tasting menus.

“The wine element brings in a touch of our sister Lalique venues and that experience you get in France.”

French-Canadian François Chartier has made a name for himself

Hart predicts the Glenturret Lalique partnership will be successful. “Glenturret is one of the oldest working distilleries around and Lalique is one of the oldest crystal manufacturers,” he says. “The tradition and quality in both bring the brands together.”

Glenturret now hopes to further enhance this experience by developing additional areas of the distillery, including a small boathouse on the hill-flanked shores of Loch Turret, for whisky tasting sessions. By bringing the two together, a distillery tour and whisky-inspired gastronomic experience can be combined with time spent soaking up the Scottish grandeur and outdoor splendour Gleneagles is known for.

The author was a guest of Glenturret.

French-Canadian François Chartier has made a name for himself