Dalintober

The below is taken from The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard first published in 1887.

Dalintober Distillery, Campbeltown.

AFTER living in Campbeltown a few days we began to feel quite at home in the town, and were on familiar terms with most of the Distillers and a good many of the inhabitants. Before starting on our usual pilgrimage we accepted the invitation of Mr. MacCallam to join him in a sail. It was just the morning for a cruise; a brisk breeze was blowing off the land, and the white crests of the billows were gleaming and dancing in the sunbeams. Off we started, and were soon scudding through the water at a great rate, the white wings of the yacht skimming the rippling waves, and all of us enjoying the delightful sensation of rapid movement through the air without the slightest bodily exertion. We made almost straight for the bluff Isle of Davaar, and the view of Campbeltown we got from that point was very beautiful. Our friend landed us close to the Distillery, whither we proceeded. Dalintober signifies the valley of wells, of which there are upwards of a score in the district. The Distillery buildings cover nearly two acres of ground, and have a frontage to Kinloch Park of live hundred feet, hence they command the finest view of any of the Distilleries, which includes the town, mountains and bay. The works were erected in the year 1832, and are within a quarter of a mile of the Steam Boat Pier and Harbour. The establishment consists of a double range of stone building enclosed at each end, built with stone, of neat elevation and conveniently arranged for the various processes of Malting and Distilling. We entered beneath a stone archway and found ourselves in an oblong court, with the various buildings disposed all round. On the right hand are the offices, stores and warehouses, on the left the Maltings and Grain Loft, and also the Distilling and Brewing Houses. The Manager, Mr. Archibald Pursell, a well-known Distiller, not only directed us through the establishment, but spent several hours with us, in explaining the whole process of the manufacture of Campbeltown Whisky, which we here detail for the benefit of our readers. The Barley is carted direct from the Wharf in the Distillers’ own carts, and hoisted at once to the three Granary floors, which hold together 3,500 quarters of grain. When required the Barley is dropped through a sluice into the Steeps below, which are partly filled with water, where it soaks 48 to 50 hours, after which the water is drained off by means of false bottoms. The moistened Barley is next laid out by manual labour, on to the Malt floors, four in number, which are all concreted, capable of working 2,400 bushels per week. It is then spread out over the floors, and turned at frequent intervals according to the state of the atmosphere, until it is properly germinated, that is, until the “acrospire” is about two-thirds through the grain. It is now called Malt and is next removed to the drying kilns, where it is spread out on the floor some fifteen feet above the peat fires, to be thoroughly dried, after which the Malt is removed to the Stores which adjoin the Kiln, from whence when required it is dropped through a hopper into the Mill below. From the Mill-floor the crushed Malt is raised by elevators to the Grist-loft, which is situated over the Mash-house, and from whence it falls through a sluice direct into the Mash-Tun. This vessel is fourteen feet in diameter and five feet deep inside it possesses double action revolving stirring gear driven by steam. As the crushed Malt falls into this vessel, water of a sufficiently high temperature is added, followed by two similar processes at increasing temperature. After this, the liquor, which is now called worts, is drained off from the Tun, into a dish called the Underback, nine feet in diameter and five deep, placed on the floor. From this receptacle the worts are pumped to the coolers above, where they are naturally cooled, until they become of a suitable temperature, and afterwards run by gravitation direct into the Wash-backs or Fermenting Tuns. There are six of these large vessels, each of which holds nearly 8,000 gallons, placed against the walls of a lofty and well-lighted Hall. As soon as the liquor has run from the coolers into these six Tuns yeast is added and fermentation commences immediately, and continues for about 36 hours more or less. After this process the liquor is called Wash, and is pumped into the Wash Charger, a large timber vessel placed on a gallery in the Still House, which building we next entered. It is a spacious apartment and contains three Pot Stills heated by furnaces. The Wash runs by gravitation into the Wash Still, a copper vessel holding 3,293 gallons. From this Still the product goes into the worm or condenser; there are two sets of worms, each placed in a large timber tank placed at a lofty elevation in the open, continuously renewed with cold water. These worms are circular tubes of about eleven inches in diameter, decreasing to five inches at the end. From the worm, the spirit passes through a safe, an instrument for testing, into the Low Wines Receiver, a timber vessel 10¼ feet in diameter and 3½ feet deep, from which receptacle it is pumped up to the Low Wines and Feints Charger, a vessel placed at an elevation and which holds 2,462 gallons. This Charger is so placed that it commands the other two Stills, to which the impure spirit next runs to undergo redistillation. They are called Low Wines and Feints Stills and hold 1,073 and 1,066 gallons respectively. From these Stills the product again goes through condensing worms, emerging therefrom as a pure spirit and running direct into the Spirit Receiver, from whence it is afterwards pumped into a vat which holds 2,426 gallons placed in the Spirit Store. The spirit is next filled into casks, weighed and marked by the Excise Officers, and placed either in the bonded warehouses at the Distillery, or sent direct to the orders of customers. There are five Warehouses at Dalintober, which contained sixteen hundred casks. At the time of our visit an addition was being made to the No. 4 Warehouse, and we were informed that when completed it will be one of the largest in Campbeltown. Following our guide we next visited the Engine Department, which contains an excellent eighteen-horse power engine and a steam boiler, twenty feet long by six in diameter. Adjoining there is a capital cooperage and cask sheds, also clerks and Excise offices. The water used in the Distillery comes from the hills in front, and a deep well on the premises; the latter is of fine quality and highly suitable for mashing purposes.

The Whisky is Campbeltown Malts, and the annual output in 1884-5 was 120,000 gallons.

Images of Dalintober