Balblair is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, having been officially founded in 1790 (although illicit distilling is believed to have taken place on the site for some time before that).
The present distillery buildings date from the 1890s. Alexander Cowan, who had built the new distillery, was forced to close the distillery in 1911, after which time it remained silent until 1948-49, when it reopened under new management. The distillery's ownership then changed hands a few times, before finally being sold to Inver House in 1996.
Despite having moved premises more than 100 years ago, Balblair still uses the slightly peaty water from the Ault Dreag burn, which has to be tankered to the premises, and which is credited by some for the malts lightly smoked character. In 2007, Balblair was given a successful packaging re-vamp and replaced its core range with three vintage releases, 1979, 1989 and 1997. A 1975 expression has since been released to replace the 1979 which sold out quickly. Independent bottlings are relatively rare.