Region: Highland, Scotland PH19 1AB
Water source: Allt an t’Sluie Burn
Mash tun: Full lauter
Washbacks: 6x wooden
Stills: 1x wash 1x spirit
Capacity: 2.2 million litres per annum
Dalwhinnie distillery, in the Highland village of Dalwhinnie in Scotland, produces Single malt Scotch whisky classified among the Speyside Single Malts. The distillery was founded with the name of the nearby town Strathspey in the late 1890s. The site was chosen for its access to clear spring water from Lochan-Doire-Uaine and abundant peat from the surrounding bogs. Set in splendid mountain scenery, Dalwhinnie is the one of the highest distilleries in Scotland. The name Dalwhinnie is derived from Gaelic word Dail-coinneeamh, which means meeting place, referring to the meeting of ancient cattle drovers’ routes through the mountains.
In 1897, John Grant, George Sellar and Alexander Mackenzie founded the Strathspey distillery. Production started in 1898 but unfortunately the partnership was bankrupt the same year.
The distillery was sold to AP Blyth in 1898 for his son who renamed it Dalwhinnie. Later in 1905 the Cook & Bernheimer took control over the distillery. The distillers were looking for malts to produce blended whiskies for the US market. This was the very first US investment in the Scotch whisky industry. The US adventure continued until the prohibition in the US in 1920 and the distillery returned to Scotland when it was purchased by Lord James Calder, shareholder of whisky blender MacDonald Greenlees. MacDonald Greenlees was later acquired by Distillers Company; Dalwhinnie later became part of the blender group James Buchanan.
A fire in 1934 stopped production for 3 years, and the reopening in 1938 was short-lived because the second world war brought restrictions on the supply of barley. Since reopening in 1947, the distillery has continued to operate through to the present day, although on-site malting ceased in 1968.
Dalwhinnie has become famous worldwide because it is marketed by its owners, United Distillers unit of Diageo, under their Classic Malts brand, launched in 1988. Despite this, only 10% of the production is marketed as single malt, the remaining being used in the Black & White blends.
Our visit: 2nd September 2011