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Dalmore distillery

Dalmore is a Highland single malt whisky, which is characterized by the use of sherry casks in the maturation. Most Dalmore whiskies show mild orange and chocolate aromas. The Dalmore 12 years is a great example of Dalmore’s house style.

Dalmore Whisky

Dalmore is a typical Highland Whisky from its basic character, although single malts from Dalmore are usually quite easy but complex. The Dalmore Distillery is located far north of Scotland, quite remote from the northern shore of the Cromarty Firth. About one hour by car from the ‘Highland Capital’ Inverness, it is a popular destination.

The distillery has been in place since 1839. Dalmore Single Malts are characterized above all by the dark fruity aromas. These are created by the generous use of Sherry casks in the maturation of the Highland Whisky. The name Dalmore translated means ‘big meadowland’.

House style

How does Dalmore Single Malt taste? Dalmore is a big, voluminous whisky. Their single malts are consistently very fruity and offer great flavors of orange marmalade, chocolate, malt and not least sherry. The malt for Dalmore is not smoked over peat and is therefore not smoky. However, flavors of tobacco and delicate smoke are often created by the ripening in the European oak barrels.


How is Dalmore Single Malt produced?In Dalmore, it is distilled in eight pot stills. There are four wash stills, two with 16,500 litres each and two with 8,250 litres capacity each. To this end, Dalmore distills on four fine spirit still, two with 11,364 litres each and two with 7,340 litres of capacity each. The form of the Wash Stills is unusual. These have a conically shaped head, which leads to the special character of the Dalmore.

That’s not the only curiosity in Dalmore’s Still House, it is quite uncommon in Scotland that the pot stills have different sizes. Dalmores stills differ greatly in size from one another, which theoretically leads to two very different distillates. Dalmore is given a constant character only by the skilful distilling and mixing by the distillers before being bottled.

The Spirit Stills also have a special feature. Water flows down on the outer walls of their necks during the distillation. This should cool from the outside and support the reflux in the interior of the stills. As a result of the reflux, heavy components of the alcohol vapor fall back and are distilled again. As a result, the fire will be milder. Aside from Dalmore, only its sister distillery Fettercairn in the eastern Highlands is using such an unusual method.

The water for Dalmore comes from the River Alness, the malt is bought externally. Dalmore uses a variety of high-quality oak barrels for the barrel maturation. Master Blender and Whisky icon Richard Patterson regularly selects special sherry, port and wine barrels for maturation.


To get to know the house style of the distillery, the Dalmore 12 years of age is recommended. The light Dalmore carries a combination of fine orange and vanilla tones. These are underlined by the Dalmore-typical sherry aromas of spices and tobacco notes. A great dessert whisky! Those with an interest in port casks whould explore Dalmore’s Dalmore Valour or Dalmore Port Wood Reserve.


The Dalmore distillery began its history in 1839 as a classic farmhouse distillery. For more than 100 years, Dalmore remained in the possession of the founding Mackenzie family. According to a legend, in 1263 Clan Chief Colin of Kintail rescued King Alexander III from being gored by a stag. As a thank you to the king, the Clan Mackenzie was allowed to carry on his coat of arms from now on to the Twelfth deer. The family coat of arms of the Mackenzies proudly decorates the bottles of the Dalmore Single Malts since age. The memorable bottle shape and the deer head have certainly contributed to the recognition value and success of the brand.

Thanks to the friendly connections of the Mackenzies to James Whyte and Charles Mackay, the Dalmore was a part of their famous blend early on. In 1960, Dalmore went so far as to merge with Whyte and Mackay to Whyte & Mackay Ltd., which was in the possession of the distillery until 2007. In 2007, the acquisition was carried out by United Spirits Limited, a subsidiary of The UB Group from India. Dalmore now belongs to the same owner as Isle of Jura, Fettercairn and Tamnavulin.

Dalmore factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Dalmore dal*moor Highlands Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 1839 - Present Malt Dalmore Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group
Richard Paterson Emperador Inc

Dalmore Timeline:

1839: Founded by Alexander Matheson, who lets it to the Sunderland family

1850: Mrs Margaret Sutherland ’sometime distiller’

1867: Robert Pattison. Alexander, Andrew, and Charles Mackenzie run the distillery

1870: Dalmore is the first malt whisky to be exported to Australia

1874: Number of stills increased to four

1878-1960: Mackenzie Bros, a local farming family, when merged with Whyte & Mackay Ltd. to form Dalmore-Whyte & Mackay Ltd.

1886: Alexander Matheson dies

1891: The Mackenzie brothers buy the distillery for £14,500 from Sir Kenneth Matheson

1917: Distillery closes. Buildings are used to assemble American mines by the Royal Navy

1920: The Royal Navy leaves again leaving behind a site that is damaged by an explosion

1922: Production is taken up again. There is a disagreement between Andrew MacKenzie and the Royal Navy about the compensation for the damages

1925: The disagreement between Andrew Mackenzie and the Royal Navy still goes on, and moves into the House of Lords

1956: Floor maltings replaced by a Saladin Box

1960: Mackenzie Brothers (Dalmore) Ltd. merges with Whyte & Mackay Ltd. to form Dalmore-Whyte & Mackay Ltd., now part of Whyte & Mackay Distillers Ltd.

1966: Extended from four to eight stills, which became all steamheated

1982: The Saladin Box is taken out of production

1990: American Brands buys Dalmore-Whyte & Mackay Ltd.

1996: Whyte & Mackay Ltd. changes name to Jim Beam Brands (Greater Europe) (JBB)

1999: Owned by Jim Beam (JBB)

2001: Because of a management buy-out Fortune Brands sells Jim Beam Brands (Greater Europe) (JBB), that changes its name to Kyndal Spirits

2002: Kyndal Spirits changes its name to Whyte & Mackay Ltd.

2004: Owned by Whyte & Mackay Ltd. A visitor centre is opened

2007: United Spirits buys Whyte & Mackay Ltd.

Can I tour Dalmore?

Yes Dalmore distillery is tourable. On Trip Advisor the distillery has been rated as excellent by 93 of 179 tours to date. This gives Dalmore an overall rating of 4.0

Latest reviews

A Good Place to Visit by Grumpy-Weegie

Booked a morning tour and arrived in good time (travelling by public transport as I fully intended to sample a dram or two). A chilly wind was blowing off the sea but we were warmly welcomed and shown to the museum to wait until the tour was due to depart. An interesting room with some background information on the Distillery and some of the early characters behind it. There was also a short audio visual presentation on nosing and tasting the cratur. Soon our tour guide (Paul) arrived and told us that we were the only two on the tour that morning. We had a great trip round the distillery from how the grain is processed and the distillation commenced right through to the maturation warehouses. Paul was very knowledgable and was able to answer all of our questions and also told us about the ideosyncrasies that make the Dalmore what it is.The tour ended in the sample room where we watched another video on the Dalmore and a refresher on tasting the samples. We were given two different drams and, with the tutorial and the tasting notes were able to learn from, "The Nose" one of Scotland's greatest whisky experts. Both were fine drams (12yo and Port Wood if I remember correctly). We then visited to shop where we met our guide again and Anne Marie (I think), tried a couple of samples, got additional info from the staff and then settled on the Cigar Malt and the Valour which were purchased and carried carefully home. An interesting distillery and worth a visit if you are in the area

Exellent Tour by Ecofi

Visited here today on a bit of a whim/take a chance after lunch in Alness as we'd not booked ahead or checked if there was 2pm tour in advance. Warm welcome from (Ann maire & Paul) booked on tour and had good look round shop, after being closed during some of the refurbishment works it was lovely to see what they'd done..and hear what else is being planned. The tour was excellent, very different stills compared to others, super explanation of the history of the distillery loved the Sensory Room. Super Tasting Room with short film. Driver bottles offered at once and great to see them pre labelled/branded.

Very Professional. by Bob T

Booked in the morning for an afternoon tour. Loved every minute of it. Place is very historic and extremely interesting. The lady tour guide was very knowledgeable and was able to answer all of my many questions.I bought a bottle of great whisky to take home with me.

Rating Reviews
Excellent 93
Very good 46
Average 23
Poor 8
Terrible 9