Dailuaine Distillery lies tucked away around a mile off the main Aberlour to Grantown road in Speyside, Scotland, in what is the perfect location for a distillery in many ways. It has good quality water from the Bailliemullich Burn, access to the local supply of barley and close to the Railway Line for transportation of the whisky.
Dailuaine Distillery was established in 1851 by a local farmer named William Mackenzie. After his death in1865 his wife ran it for a while and later his son Thomas took charge. Thomas formed Mackenzie & Company with James Fleming in 1879. The distillery was rebuilt and renamed as Dailuaine-Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd in 1884.
The next few years were a period of rapid growth and it became one of the largest distilleries in the Scottish Highlands of the time. In 1889 Dailuaine was the first distillery to be fitted with a pagoda roof. More mergers followed and in 1898 Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd was formed when it was merged with Talisker Distillery Ltd along with Imperial Distillery. The group acquired Bon Accord Distillery in Aberdeen and renamed it North of Scotland.
In 1916 Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd was taken over by a consortium which included Johnnie Walker & Sons Ltd, James Buchanan and John Dewar. Unfortunately, there was a fire in 1917 and the distillery was rebuilt in 1920. Dailuaine-Talisker became a subsidiary of the DCL in 1925, although the distillery was run by SMD for decades. The Speyside Railway Line established a station at Dailuaine, linking it to Carron Station. Today one can see the steam ‘puggie’ that served the distillery that has been restored and is exhibited at Aberfeldy Distillery.
Major modernization occurred in 1959-60 when the distillery was expanded from four stills to six. It was one of the few distilleries to replace its floor maltings with Saladin Boxes. A Dark Grains plant built to process pot ale and draff into high protein cattle feed. Instead of using their old granite double-storey dunnage cask warehouses all Dailuaine whisky is sent in tankers to be filled into casks at a central warehousing complex. After 1983 the distillery no longer carried out its own malting.
The whiskies produced at the near by Cardhu distillery and at Dailuaine are the major components of the Johnnie Walker blends. Dailuaine Distillery produces a full-bodied Speyside spirit which seems an unusual product if one looks at the stills; both the wash and spirit stills are large and have features that could cause additional reflux. Only 2% of the product is marketed as single malt and, the rest is used in the blends. When its production capacity is considered, Dailuaine Distillery is one of the largest distilleries in Diageo’s portfolio.