The Dalmore distillery was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson. He had a colourful history and used the money he’d made from illegally buying and selling opium in Asia, to kick start The Dalmore. Clan Mackenzie, one of the greatest Scottish clans, owned The Dalmore for the best part of a century, helping cement the distilleries legendary status among scotches.
In 1917 the British Royal Navy started to use a neighbouring estuary (firth), as a location for the production of deep-sea mines. During 1920 an accident at the deep-sea mine plant caused a huge explosion and subsequent fires, which destroyed much of The Dalmore distillery. Following the incident, a lengthy legal battle commenced between the manager of the distillery, Andrew Mackenzie, and the Royal Navy. It lasted more than 5 years and at one stage even reached the House of Lords. Eventually the distillery was rebuilt, and production resumed.
The decade of 1960 brought huge change for The Dalmore. Firstly, in 1966, they doubled their capacity from four to eight stills. This development placed them in the top 25 distilleries in the world for production capabilities. Secondly, Clan Mackenzie’s company, Mackenzie Brothers Ltd, merged with Whyte & Mackay who were and still are a distilling giant. Over the following years ownership of The Dalmore changed hands several times, with it currently being owned by Diageo who have acquired the majority share.
Due to the distillery’s heritage and its legacy for breaking records at auction with their single malts, The Dalmore produces some of the most famous and sought-after scotches in the world. One of their 62-year-old bottles fetched £25,000 at auction which at the time was the record for a single bottle and rumour has it that the bottle was consumed within the same night!
Due to the capacity of the distillery to produce high volumes of single malt, there is a range of bottlings available to purchase and consume from The Dalmore. The most popular is the 12-year-old, however you can get 15 and 18-year olds too with some older but rarer bottlings also available. Unfortunately, independent bottlings from The Dalmore are very few and far between and don’t happen very often at all. The taste profile tends to have citrus and floral hints, with strong notes of sherry.
As previously mentioned, the distillery underwent a large increase in production capacity during the 60’s. More recently the capacity increased from 3 million litres in 1991, to 4.2 million litres today. The whisky is then normally matured in bourbon casks however a variety of casks have been used. At The Dalmore the warehouses are a renowned feature. They have a total of 9 warehouses with most of them being multi levelled, meaning they can store up to 65,000 casks at once. The Dalmore warehouses are home to some of the world’s oldest single malts.