Dallas Dhu Distillery

The best place to find out hands-on how exactly a distillery in Scotland works is to visit Dallas Dhu Distillery. This was the last distillery to be built in the nineteenth century. It was constructed in 1898-9 by a whisky blending company known as Wright and Grieg Ltd. Today it is a living Scottish museum run by Historic Scotland.

The distillery was built on the Sanquhar estate of Alexander Edwards between the rivers Findhorn and Lossie. Water for the distillery came from the Altyre Burn. Dallas Dhu was located about six miles away from Dallas near Forres in the North and Grampian region of Scotland. The distillery was originally to have been called Dallasmore. It was built by Wright and Grieg mainly for their main blend, called Roderick Dhu. This blended whisky was popular in the 1880s and 1890s and sold especially well in India, Australia and New Zealand.

In the twentieth century however Dallas Dhu suffered from several ups and downs of fortune. It changed hands two times before its owners were acquired by DCL in 1929.
The distillery was closed from 1929 to 1936. Unfortunately soon after it reopened the stillhouse burned down in 1939. By the time it was rebuilt it was shut once more because of World War Two.

The distillery was revamped after 1950 and was completely rebuilt in the 1960s and 1970s which made the distillery quite modern and up-to-date. In 1983 Dallas Dhu Distillery was owned by the Distillers Company. Due to over-production they were compelled to close some of their smaller and older distilleries in order to reduce their capacity and costs. Unfortunately Dallas Dhu was one of those to be closed down.

Even today it is complete and in original condition, ready to be reopened at any time. It was however opened as a visitor attraction in 1988. Now it is a hands-on museum without the heat and smells of a working distillery. Here one can actually try to operate the spirit safe and get inside the mash tun. One can also visit a malt barn and see how the barley was steeped and germinated.

Take a look at the kiln with its characteristic head or pagoda on top. Witness how the crushed malt is soaked in hot water in a copper topped mash tun. You can see the huge barrels or wash- backs in which the initial fermentation took place. The two stills used at Dallas Dhu and the cask-filling area are also worth seeing.

whisky had a good reputation and is still bottled by Gordon and MacPhail, though not much is now available. Other rare products include Dallas Dhu – 23 Years Queen’s Golden Jubilee Bottling and Dallas Dhu – “Rare Malts Selection” 21 Years 1975.

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