Dalmore distillery

Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The wash stills at Dalmore have flat tops, and are also in two sizes. Three are 13,000-litres in capacity, the fourth is double that. The spirit stills all sport water coolers around their necks to assist in reflux. Again, one of the quartet is double the size. Because of this discrepancy in size and the fact that the spirit stills are charged when the low wines and feints receiver is full, the strength of the charge to those stills varies, creating different end flavours.  Though it seems random to an outsider, thankfully it is controlled by high experienced stillmen. All these distillates are vatted before being casked.

Condensing is also unusual. The spirit stills have external shell and tube condensers which lie horizontally. This mirrors the old worm pipe which lay in the burn which runs outside the stillhouse.  

Ex-Sherry casks are the most commonly-used maturation vessel and unlike many distilleries, ex-solera casks soaked in oloroso and PX Sherry for decades are preferred over the oak-driven bespoke casks now common across the industry. 

  • Region
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status

Dalmore History

The northern distilleries seem to have a disproportionately high number of wealthy backers. Dalmore is typical of this. It was founded, in 1839, by Alexander Matheson who had made his fortune as a partner in Jardine Matheson the trading firm which took over from the East India Company and which, by that time, was controlling exports of opium trade into China.

The lease (and eventually ownership) was taken by the Mackenzie family in 1878 and it remained family-owned until 1960 when one of Dalmore’s main customers, Whyte & Mackay, took control. A significant contributor to W&M’s blends, for many years Dalmore’s presence in the world of single malt was restricted to a 12-year-old expression. In recent times however the range has expanded dramatically, with a core range of 12, 15, 18 and 25-years-old, plus no-age-statement specialities like King Alexander III, Cigar Malt, and an ever-growing selection of luxury expressions such as the 21-strong Constellation range (comprising vintages from 1964 to 1992) and 1951 ‘Sirius’. Prices at the top end regularly top five figures.

W&M itself has gone through a dizzying number of hands in recent times. Its current custodian is Emperador of the Philippines.


  • 1839 Dalmore is founded by Alexander Matheson
  • 1878 The lease is acquired by the Mackenzie family
  • 1891 Sir Kenneth Matheson sells the distillery to the three Mackenzie brothers for £14,500
  • 1917 The distillery is used by the Royal Navy to manufacture American mines
  • 1920 By the time the Royal Navy depart, the distillery is badly damaged
  • 1922 Dalmore returns to production again
  • 1960 Dalmore merges with Whyte & Mackay
  • 1966 Dalmore's stills are increased by a pair to eight
  • 1982 The distillery ceases use of its Saladin box
  • 1990 Whyte & Mackay is purchases by American Brands
  • 1996 Whyte & Mackay becomes JBB (Greater Europe)
  • 2001 JBB becomes Kyndal Spirits briefly before changing its name to Whyte & Mackay
  • 2007 India's United Spirits buys Whyte & Mackay
  • 2012 The Constellation Collection is launched; the visitors' centre is upgraded
  • 2014 Filipino group Emperador purchases Whyte & Mackay

Dalmore Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
  • Filling Strength i
  • Grist Weight (t) i
  • Heat Source i
    Steam coils
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Fixed Lauter
  • New-make Strength i
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Onion with boil ball and water jacket on neck
  • Stills i
    4 wash, 4 still
  • Warehousing i
    Racked and dunnage
  • Wash Still Shape i
    Lantern with cropped head and lyne arm extending from upper deck
  • Washback Type i
  • Washbacks i
  • Water Source i
    Loch Morie
  • Wort Clarity i
  • Yeast Type i


Parent company

Current owner

Previous owners

  • Mackenzie Brothers Company 1891 - 1960
  • Alexander Matheson 1839 - 1891


Dalmore Distillery
IV17 0UT
United Kingdom
+44 1349 882362
Visitor Opening Hours
11am to 3pm (Nov-Mar), 5pm (Apr-Oct)
11am to 3pm (Nov-Mar), 5pm (Apr-Oct)
11am to 3pm (Nov-Mar), 5pm (Apr-Oct)
11am to 3pm (Nov-Mar), 5pm (Apr-Oct)
11am to 3pm (Nov-Mar), 5pm (Apr-Oct)


See also

  • Fettercairn Fettercairn Fettercairn Distillery & brand


    Aberdeenshire site in the W&M stable.

  • Jura Jura Jura Distillery & brand


    Single malt from the island of Jura.

  • Tamnavulin Tamnavulin Tamnavulin Distillery & brand


    Speyside provider of malt for blends.

  • Invergordon Invergordon Invergordon Distillery & brand


    W&M’s Highlands grain distillery.

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