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Issue 131 - An Imperial Solution

Whisky Magazine Issue 131
October 2015


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An Imperial Solution

The state-of-the-art Dalmunach Distillery

Back in the 1890s the Scotch whisky business was booming. New distilleries were springing up all over the country, nowhere more so than Speyside.

In the summer of 1898 one such distillery began production in the hamlet of Carron, three and a half miles from Aberlour and just over one mile from the existing Dailuaine Distillery. It too, was owned by Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd, and in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, when construction began, the malting kiln was topped with an enormous gilt crown. Due to this, the distillery was christened Imperial.

Fast forward to the summer of 2015 and the Scotch whisky business is once again in boom mode. Distillery construction and expansion is at a level unprecedented since the 1890s, and where Imperial once stood is a brand new state-of-the-art distillery and now named Dalmunach.

Owners Chivas Brothers Ltd have taken pains to commemorate the old Imperial Distillery within Dalmunach, so it is worth reflecting briefly on the heritage of that venture before exploring the structure that has taken in its place.

Having been created as a ‘second distillery' to Dailuaine, and built not from stone but from Aberdeen red brick on an iron framework, Imperial operated for just one season before it fell silent until re-opening in 1919. However, the plant closed once more six years later, by which time ownership of Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd had passed to the Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) and Imperial did not ma...

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