Dalmore distillery was built in 1839 by Alexander Matheson, who immediately leased it to the Sunderland family, who ran it for over thirty years until 1869, when the lease was taken over by three Mackenzie brothers, Alexander, Charles and Andrew.
The number of stills was doubled from two to four in 1874 and following Alexander Matheson's death the distillery was sold to the Mackenzies in 1891.
In 1917 production ceased as the Royal Navy were using the warehouses as factories to produce mines. After they left in 1920, part of the distillery had been damaged by a fire following an explosion in the warehouses and Dalmore only resumed production in 1922, while Andrew Mackenzie took the Navy to court in a row over compensation.
A Saladin box malting system was installed in 1956, which remained in operation until 1982, the last time any barley was malted on site. The distillery remained under sole ownership until 1960, when it was merged with Whyte and Mackay. The new company increased the number of stills from four to eight in 1966.
In the period between 1970 and 2002 ownership of Whyte and Mackay changed hands a few times and the company went through a bit of an identity crisis. According to the Whyte & Mackay website: "The company became part of Sir Hugh Fraser's SUITS group in 1971. Two years later Tomintoul and Fettercairn distilleries were purchased. SUITS was acquired by Lonrho in 1981 and subsequently Whyte & Mackay was sold to Brent Walker in 1988 and then to American Brands (now Fortune Brands) in 1990."
The company then acquired Isle of Jura and Tamnavulin in 1993 when they bought Invergordon Distillers. Tomintoul was sold to Angus Dundee Distillers in 2000, but Fettercairn, Jura and Tamnavulin remain part of the W & M stable.
The Whyte and Mackay company name was changed in 1996 to JBB (Europe). American Brands had become Fortune Brands by the time JBB (Europe) staged a management buyout in 2001, changing their name to Kyndal Spirits. This name-change proved a confusion too far, though, and the following year Kyndal returned to being called Whyte and Mackay.
Despite all the upheaval, during this period Dalmore were releasing some of the finest malt whisky ever to come out of the Highlands, thanks in large part to the abundant talents of one of the most well-respected ambassadors the whisky industry has: Whyte & Mackay's master blender, the irrepressible Richard Paterson.
Shortly after the JBB/Kyndal management buyout, Paterson's most famous creation, The Dalmore 62 year old, broke the world record at auction for a single bottle of whisky: nearly £26,000. Another bottle that sold to a private individual a few years later in 2005 exceeded even that extraordinary figure, going for over £37,000.
Dalmore is now under Indian ownership, with parent company Whyte & Mackay having been bought by Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya's United Brands group in 2007.
- Additional Information
Name The Dalmore 12yo Country Scotland Region Highlands Age 12 years ABV% 40% Size 700ml Dietary Information No