Dalwhinnie Highland WhiskyBetween the Grampian and Monadhliath mountain ranges of Inverness-Shire lies Scotland’s highest working distillery, Dalwhinnie. This remote location was chosen for the profusion of local peat, a wonderfully clean water source and, being in the central Highlands, lies not far from the Highland Railway Line, proffering an easy means of transportation. The distillery was founded at the very end of the 19th century and named Strathspey.
Following monetary hardship, the three founding members: Alexander Mackenzie, John Grant and George Stellar were forced to sell to John Sommerville & Co and A P Blyth & Sons, who changed the name to Dalwhinnie and employed the famed Charles Doig of Speyside to redesign parts of the distillery. Today, the distillery serves a dual purpose; malt whisky aside, Dalwhinnie is a station for the Meteorological Office and the manager must take daily readings for the temperature and the weather.
The distillery changed hands several times over the early 20th century, closing in 1934 following a fire in February of that same year and reopening once more in 1938. Dalwhinnie previously had its own floor maltings though they were shut down in 1968. Dalwhinnie is in Diageo hands and the drinks giant has included the distillery in the Classic Malts range, releasing a Distillers Edition matured in Oloroso casks.
In 1987, during a modernisation of the Dalwhinnie plant, the traditional worm tubs were removed and shell and tube condensers installed. However, eight years later the distillery was refitted and (hooray!) the traditional worm tubs were reinstated. The distillery celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1998, of course commemorating the occasion with a special centenary bottling of Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old.
2008 was the first time in many years that the full production capacity of Dalwhinnie was properly utilised. The number of 'mashes' was increased by 50%, from 10 to 15 mashes per week. 2015 saw the release of The Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold, the distillery’s first regular expression without an age statement.