Dalwhinnie 2002 bottled 2017 Oloroso Cask Finish Distillers Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 13 December 2018
The site for the distillery was chosen for its access to clear spring water from Lochan-Doire-Uaine and abundant peat from the surrounding bogs. Set in splendid mountain scenery, Dalwhinnie is the highest distillery in Scotland at 1,164 ft (355 m) above sea level. The name Dalwhinnie is derived from Gaelic word Dail Chuinnidh, which means meeting place, referring to the meeting of ancient cattle drovers’ routes through the mountains.
In 1897, John Grant of Grantown-on-Spey, George Sellar of Kingussie, and designer Alexander Mackenzie, also of Kingussie and already a designer of a distillery there, put up an estimated £10,000 to build the Strathspey Distillery at Dalwhinnie between the Great North Road and the Highland Railway.
In February 1898, production begins but by the summer the venture was already in liquidation. In October A. P. Blyth buys the distillery for his son and renames it Dalwhinnie announcing ‘considerable improvements on the building and plant’.
In 1905 the largest distillers in the United States, Cook and Bernheimer, buy the distillery at auction for just £1,250. Many fear the take-over of the Scotch whisky industry. A huge warehouse in Leith blends Dalwhinnie with other whiskies, “to suit the American palate.”
Due to the Prohibition in 1919 in America, Dalwhinnie returns to Scottish hands. It is taken over by Sir James Calder, chairman of Macdonald Greenlees, and also blenders in Leith.
In 1926, Macdonald Greenlees is itself acquired; by the Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL). Dalwhinnie gains its fifth owner in under thirty years and is licensed to James Buchanan and Co. (famous for the Black and White and Buchanan blends).
The distillery becomes part of United Distillers in 1987. United Distillers was a Scottish company formed in 1987 combining the businesses of Distillers Company and Arthur Bell & Sons, both owned by Guinness. During a modernization of the Dalwhinnie plant the traditional worm tubs were removed and shell and tube condensers were installed.
Dalwhinnie 15 year old becomes one of the Six Classic Malts of Scotland, marketed by United Distillers and Vintners (now owned by Diageo). Here is a list of the six “classic” malts:
Whisky Age Alc. %
Region – Notes
Dalwhinnie 15 year old 43%
Highland – “Nice sweet fruity start”
Talisker 10 year old 45.8%
Isle of Skye
Cragganmore 12 year old 40%
Oban 14 year old 43%
Lagavulin 16 year old 43%
Islay – “Author’s Favorite”
Glenkinchie 12 year old 43%