Mortlach

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

Mortlach Distillery, Glenlivet, Dufftown, Banffshire.

ON leaving Keith, the railroad pursues its course through a beautiful hilly country, clothed with rich and variegated foliage, passing over several mountain streams, whose waters run in furious baste to join the larger river. On our way we passed Lochpark, a small but deep lake, confined by two almost perpendicular hills; this loch emits the parent head-stream of the Isla, and the railway runs for a mile along the banks of the loch. When we arrived at Dufftown Station, we were informed that the village and the Distillery were some considerable distance away, so we hired the only vehicle, an antiquated machine, deficient in springs and requiring renewals in several places. The horse was, however, a good one, and in less than half an hour we found ourselves at our destination, very little the worse for the jolting.

Dufftown is a quaint village, almost aspiring to be a town, and stands close to Mortlach Church. As you enter the village, the chief building that attracts your attention is the gaol, which stands in the centre of the square, and you fail to understand why the best position in the place should he appropriated to so large and unsightly a building.

The village is screened by Benrinnes, and there are two beautiful glens in the vicinity, Glenfiddich and Dullan. The former is one of the loveliest straths in Scotland, and the latter contains some fine bits of scenery, including the “Giant’s Chair” on the river Dullan, with the pretty little cascade called the “Linen Apron,” with its surrounding drapery of waving foliage. At the south of the village are Coryhabbie Hill and Cook’s Cairn, whose summits look down into Glenlivet.

Mortlach Church and churchyard are famous as having been the scene, in the year 1010, of the great battle between Malcolm II and the Danes, resulting in the defeat of the latter.

The Mortlach Distillery was built in the year 1823, and consists of an irregular pile of buildings on the right and left of the principal gateway. The Barley Lofts are 360 feet, and the Maltings 300 feet long, with a Kiln floored with metal plates, and where peat only is used in drying the malt.

On one side of the enclosure is the Mill building, which contains a pair of metal rollers, and to which is attached the Mash House, over which is the Grist Loft. In c1ose proximity is the Back House and Still House; the latter contains several Pot Stills. There is a capital range of five Warehouses, which contained 2,000 casks of Whisky at the time of our visit. The water used in distilling comes from the Conval Hills and the famed Priest Well, and is of excellent quality. That used for driving purposes comes from the same source.

The Whisky is Highland Malt, and the annual output is 85,000 gallons.

Images of Mortlach