Photograph: Rogargon

Dalwhinnie Distillery

Dalwhinnie distillery, in Scotland, produces Single malt Scotch whisky, classified among the Highland Single Malts. The distillery was founded with the name of the town it is near, Strathspey, in the late 1890s. The site 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. The name Dalwhinnie means meeting place, which refers to the meeting of ancient cattle drovers’ routes through the mountains.

In 1897, John Grant, George Sellar and Alexander Mackenzie founded the Strathspey distillery. Production started in 1898 but unfortunately the society was bankrupt the same year. The distillery was sold to A.P. Blyth in 1898 for his son who renamed it Dalwhinnie. Later, in 1905, the American Cook & Bernheimer took control over the distillery. The American distiller was looking for malts to produce blended whiskies for the American market. This is the very first American investment in the Scotch whisky industry. The American adventure continued until the prohibition in the United States in 1920, and the distillery returned to the Scottish fold by the buying up by Lord James Calder, shareholder of MacDonald Greenlees, a whisky blender. After MacDonald Greenlees has been taken over by the Distillers Company Limited, Dalwhinnie became part of another blenders group, James Buchanan, famous for his Black & White blended whisky.

A fire in 1934 stopped production for 3 years, and the reopening in 1938 was short-lived because the second world war brought restrictions on the supply of barley. Since reopening in 1947, the distillery has continued to operate through to the present day, although on-site malting ceased in 1968.

Dalwhinnie has became famous worldwide because it is marketed by its owners, United Distillers, under their Classic Malts brand, launched in 1988. Despite this, only 10% of the production is marketed as single malt, the remaining being used in the Black & White blends.