History of Dalwhinnie Distillery

Situated high in the Grampian mountains, Dalwhinnie is near the geographical centre of Scotland. For centuries Dalwhinnie has been a meeting place, principally for the cattle drovers travelling down from the North, or over from Kintail, Skye and the Hebrides,to the main markets at Crieff and Falkirk in the south. It is probable that an illicit still existed at that time at Dalwhinnie to meet these travellers needs. The drovers journey was long and arduous, requiring frequent resting periods.

1897

John Grant of Grantown-on-Spey, George Sellar of Kingussie and designer, Alexander Mackenzie, also of Kingussie and already designer of a distillery there, put up an estimated £10,000 to build the Strathspey Distillery at Dalwhinnie between the Great North Road and the Highland Railway.

1898

Shortly after production began it went into liquidation and AP Blyth bought the distillery for his son and renamed it Dalwhinnie.

1905

The largest distillers in the U.S.A, Cook & Bernbeimer, buy the distillery at auction for just £1,250. Many fear the take-over of the Scotch whisky industry. A huge warehouse in Leith blends DALWHINNIE with other whiskies "to suit the American palate".

1919

Prohibition hits America. DALWHINNIE returns to Scottish hands; they are those of Sir James Calder, chairman of Macdonald Greenlees, also belenders in Leith.

1926

Macdonald Greenlees is itself acquired, by The Distillers Company. Dalwhinnie gains its fifth owner in under thirty years, and is licensed to James Buchanan and Co, famous for the Black & White and Buchanan blends.

1934

Disaster. A fire in the early hours of 1 February closes the distillery for four years; perhaps coincidentally, this is also the year in which electricity first comes to the village, replacing the paraffin lamps.

1938-1940

After four long years a Dalwhinnie reopens rebuilt and refreshed... and shuts again, in common with most distilleries, as a result of wartime restrictions on their use of barley.

1961

The wash and spirit stills are converted to steam heating from the coal-fired boiler.

1968

The maltings cease production. Barley is now brought in from specialist maltsters for greater control over peatiness and alcohol yield.

1969

British Rail closes the distillery's private siding; DALWHINNIE now leaves for the South by road.

1972

Oil-firing replaces coal as modernisation continues.

1989

DALWHINNIE 15 year old becomes one of six CLASSIC MALTS of Scotland.

1991

New visitor centre opens.

1994

Dalwhinnie is confirmed by the Met. Office as having the coldest average recorded temperature (6.0C) of any inhabited region in Scotland and probably, the UK.

1996

Distillery refitted. Traditional worm tubs are reinstated.

1998

Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition 1980 is released, double matured, the second maturation in Oloroso sherry casks.

1999

DALWHINNIE 15 year old and the DALWHINNIE Distillers Edition 1981 are both awarded Monde Selection Gold Medals.

2002

Dalwhinnie 36 year old is released as a limited edition

2003

Dalwhinnie 29 year old is released as a limited edition

2004

DALWHINNIE 15 year old wins a Gold Medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

2006

Dalwhinnie 20 year old is released as a limited edition

2009

Dalwhinnie 15 year old wins Gold (Best in Class) International Wine and Spirit Competition

2010

Dalwhinnie Manager's Choice 1992 is released as a limited edition.
Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition wins Gold in the Scotch Whisky Masters 2010 Highlands and Islands Special Edition.

2012

Dalwhinnie 25 year old is released as a limited edition

2014

Dalwhinnie Triple Matured released limited edition of 6,000 bottles.

2015

Dalwhinnie 25 year old released limited edition of 5916 bottles.
Dalwhinnie Distillery is awarded 5 Stars by the Scottish Tourist Board.

2016

Distillery Only Bottling released, only available to buy at the distillery limited edition of 6,000 bottles.
Dalwhinnie Distillery is awarded the Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor.
Dalwhinnie 15 year old wins Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2016.
Dalwhinnie Distillery is awarded Gold level in the Keep Scotland Beautiful - National Award for Environmental Excellence.

Today

Bruce Mackenzie who started in 2011 has just retired and Paul Hooper has taken over, and we now have a team of 6 permanent staff producing our Dalwhinnie single malt,between them they have over 160 years of experience. We have a busy visitors centre and well stocked whisky shop, with 9 permanent staff and 6 seasonal guides.

To find out more, please visit our distillery.

To find out more, please visit our distillery.

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