The Dalwhinnie Distillery was founded in
1897 by the Scotsmen George Sellar and Alex Mackenzie,
and sold just a few years later (in 1905) to an American
company. However, the prohibition in America made the
venture unprofitable for the new owners and Dalwhinnie
soon ended up back in Scottish possession. Today the
distillery is owned by Diaego.
In 1934 the distillery was severely damaged by a fire,
and as a result production was shut down for four years.
Only two years later, in 1940, the distillery had to
close again; this time due to government restrictions on
barley because of WW2. The distillery was reopened in
The Dalwhinnie Distillery sits at the base of the
mountain Meall Cruaidh. With their 327 meters
above sea level they claim to be the highest situated
distillery in Scotland. With an average temperature of
only 6°C, they just might be the coldest as well. With
these conditions, some people might find it slightly
comic that Dalwhinnie is Gaelic for ‘the meeting
place’. But then again, this is the Highlands, where
people are not affected by something as trivial as the
weather. Dalwhinnie 15 won gold medal at International
Wine and spirits 2004 for best Highland Malt aged 15-17.
Dalwhinnie 15 yo 43%
Dalwhinnie 1973 29 yo 57,8%
Dalwhinnie 1966 36 yo 47,2%
Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition 1988 43%
Dalwhinnie is one of the
whiskies in the ‘six classic malts’ collection.
Mild and slightly smoky.
Citrus and pears.
The water is
taken from Lochan a Doire-uaine and the Allt an t’Sluic
burn (burn=small stream). Most of the water is snowmelt,
and has flowed through the hills from approximately 600
metres above sea level before reaching the burn.
Dalwhinnie started buying their malted and slightly
smoked barley in 1968 and has done so ever since. The
mill is a Boby. The mash tun holds seven tons and is
made from stainless steel. The distillery has six wooden
washbacks. Five of them are more than 50 years old and
are made from Siberian larch. They have one wash still
and one spirit still, both onion-shaped. The stills are
broad with upward-leaning necks which allow for a longer
distillation time. The whisky is stored on-site. The
cold climate is said to limit the evaporation. The
bottling is done in Leven, Fife.
Open January – Easter, Monday – Friday, 1pm–4pm
Easter – June, Monday – Friday, 9.30am–5pm
July – September, Monday – Saturday, 9.30am–5pm
October, Monday – Saturday, 11am–4pm
November – December, Monday – Friday, 1pm–4pm
The visitors centre was built in 1991 to better serve
the increasing number of visiting tourists. The gift
shop has a full line of Dalwhinnie bottlings. Guided
tours start every 15 minutes at a £4 admission which is
refundable upon purchase. The last tour starts one hour
before closing time.
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