Dalmore view from the water uploaded by Ben, 17. Feb 2015
Dalmore Distillery uploaded by Ben, 17. Feb 2015


Dalmore is high quality Highland distillery with a good whisky and a elegant bottle design. It was founded in 1839 and extended very often. Read more about it below.↓

Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

The Dalmore distillery, hometo one of the most renowned of all single malt whiskies, sits elegantly on the shore of the Comarthy Firth in the Northern Highlands. The high production capacity of the distillery has resulted in a variety of official bottlings from which whisky enthusiasts can choose. The distillery’s most typical bottling is the 12 year-old, although they also produce a 15 year-old, an 18 year-old, and older ones. Independent bottlings are very rare at the distillery, with Gordon & MacPhail being one of the very last independent bottlers to do so. 

The Production

The water used in the Dalmore is taken from the stunning river Alness, which runs through the small town of Alness, where the distillery is located. The waters of the river flow from the nearby Loch Morie, located deep in the heart of the Northern Highlands. The location of the Dalmore’s distillery and its smooth, floral flavour qualify it as a Highland malt.

The distillery has undergone a number of expansions throughout its history, which have gradually increased its production capacity. Most recently, the capacity increased from 3 million litres in 1991 to its current production level of 4.2 million litres. 

The distillery house.
View of the Dalmore Distillery.

The Pot Stills

The Dalmore has four wash stills and four spirit stills, each with two differing levels of production capacity. Two of the wash stills have a capacity of 16,500 litres, and the other two have a capacity of 8,250 litres. The wash stills at the Dalmore have a constricting piece in the intermediate section of the stills, between the spherical lid and the neck, which results in a higher level of reflux. 

The two smaller, two larger stills distribution is reflected with the spirit stills; two have a capacity of 11,000 litres, while the other pair have a capacity 7,300 litres. The Dalmore uses Lomond stills for the distillation process, which have three perforated plates that can be cooled separately, therefore allowing the distiller to produce different kinds of whisky in the same still.

The Dalmore wash stills.
The Pot Stills of the Dalmore Distillery.

The Malting

From its founding in 1839 to 1982, the Dalmore used its own maltings and matured the whisky onsite in the Dalmore’s warehouse. In 1956, the distillery replaced the floor maltings with a Saladin Box. The Saladin Box (named after its inventor, Charles Saladin) is a large, flat device that mechanically turns the germinating barley inside and allows air to pass through. Very seldom the Dalmore uses peated malt to achieve distinctive smoky notes. In 1982, the distillery retired its own malting process, opting instead to source its malt from an industrialised distributor. 

The malt mill of Dalmore.
The Dalmore distillery malt mill

The Warehouse

The warehouses at the Dalmore are something of a pilgrimage site, holding some of the oldest whisky stocks in the world. There are nine warehouses on the distillery’s site, with four being dunnage and five racked. Many of them are multi-floor, meaning that the altogether warehouse capacity of the site is a whopping 65,000 casks. The Dalmore uses a variety of cask types, although the mainstay is bourbon.

The Dalmore warehouse.
A warehouse of the Dalmore Distillery.


Looking at the history of the Dalmore, it’s impressive to think that such a small corner of the Northern Highands could hold such a colourful past. Alexander Matheson founded the distillery in 1839 with the fortune that he’d procured from the illegal opium trade in Asia. The Dalmore was destined to take a legendary place among scotches, being in the possession of Scottish nobility, Clan Mackenzie, for almost a century. Operations ran fairly smoothly at the distillery until 1917, when the British Royal Navy began to use the firth next to the distillery as a site for the production of deep-sea mines. In 1920 much of the distillery was destroyed by an explosion and fire that came as result of a mine denotation incident. The subsequent legal battle between Andrew Mackenzie, then manager of the distillery, and the Royal Navy lasted over half a decade, even reaching the House of Lords. The distillery eventually recommenced production, and continued moving from strength to strength.

In 1966, the number of stills at the site was increased from four to eight, placing Dalmore in the top 25 distilleries in the world in terms of capacity. During the 1960s, the Mackenzie clan’s company, Mackenzie Brothers Ltd, merged with the distiller’s giant Whyte & Mackay. Since then, the distillery has undergone a number of different corporate mergers and buyouts, most recently with Diageo buying the majority stake in the distillery’s parent company. The Dalmore is one of the more famous single malts in the world, due to its record-breaking legacy for reaching high auction prices. For a while, it held the record of being the most expensive whisky ever sold at an auction, with a 62-year old bottle reaching a fetching price of £25,000. Apparently the bottle was finished the same night that it was purchased, so unfortunately we’re not going to see it resurface on the Market to break any more records. 

The Visitor Centre

The distillery has an excellent visitor centre, which includes a shop and small café. It’s also possible to take a tour of the distillery.