The Dufftown single malt whisky distillery is tucked away between the dense leaves of the Spey Valley. It produces mainly for the Blend Bell's. Read more about it below.↓
The Dufftown single malt distillery is tucked away between the dense leaves of the Spey valley. Official bottlings have been sparse the last few years, but have consisted of the “Singleton of Dufftown”, as well as the “Dufftown 15-year old”, part of Diageo’s Flora and Fauna range. More official bottlings occurred during the 1990s and are still possible to source on the market. There have only been a handful of independent bottlings during the distillery’s lifetime, with the few that have occurred being carried out by Signatory, Whisky Galore, and Murray McDavid. Only 3% of the single malt produced by the distillery is marketed as single malt, with the vast majority of the alcohol produced being used as an important component in Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd’s blend.
Over the years, the town of Dufftown has been home to six distilleries. This high concentration of production has caused conflict, particularly when it comes to water sources. Dufftown’s water source, Jock’s Well, has been highly disputed over the years, with the nearby Mortlach distillery being caught many times trying to divert the course of the spring to their distillery. The Dufftown distillery has had multiple capacity expansions throughout the years, resulting in it becoming one of the most cramped distilleries in Scotland. These expansions have also increased the capacity of the distillery to its present functioning volume of 5.8 million litres of pure alcohol a year. The distillery also has a full lauter mashtun, with a capacity of thirteen tonnes, making it one of the biggest in the entire Scotch whisky industry.
The building in which the distillery is housed was originally an old mill, converted by the Glenlivet-Dufftown Company when they founded the distillery. The buildings’ lack of customised design has contributed to its becoming overcrowded over the years. Today, Dufftown has three wash stills with a capacity of 13,100 litres, and three spirit stills with a capacity of 15,300 litres. Both the wash and spirit stills have a distinctive “pear” shape, with a wide spherical lid and a gradually narrowing neck.
Dufftown used its own peated malt from the launch of production in 1895 until 1968, when the malting floors were decommissioned. Today the distillery sources its malt from one of the Diageo-owned industrial malting sites.
There are eight warehouse buildings at the Dufftown distillery, which collectively house almost 100,000 bourbon barrels and sherry casks of malt whisky.
The town of Dufftown has the highest concentration of distilleries in the world, also being home to the Mortlach, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, defunct Convalmore, Glendullan and Kininvie distilleries. The local adage goes that “Rome was built on seven hills, Dufftown stands on seven stills.” Due to its high production ability, Dufftown is one of the most powerful towns in the whisky industry. It has been said that Dufftown raises more capital for the British government per head of population than any place else in the country.
Dufftown was founded by the Dufftown-Glenlivet Company in 1895, and was initially creatively named the “Dufftown-Glenlivet Distillery”. In 1897, just one year after production had launched, Mackenzie & Company acquired the distillery and retained responsibility for the site for the next forty years. During the early twentieth century, Arthur Bell and Sons, purchased the distillery, marking the beginning of the use of Dufftown single malt in their blend. Responding to an increase in demand, Bell’s doubled the amount of stills used at the site from two to four in 1974 and added two additional stills in 1979. These expansions in terms of production have made Dufftown one of the best-functioning distilleries in Scotland in terms of production.
In 1985, United Distillers (UDV), now owned by Diageo, Scotland’s largest single malt whisky provider, acquired the Dufftown distillery. Today, Dufftown’s reputation as a single malt brand has taken a backseat to its contributing role with Bell’s. With the appearance of the Singleton of Dufftown brand the distillery starts to gain new reputation.
The distillery is closed to the public, but it is possible to take a tour of the facility if you contact the distillery in advance.