At the time of my visit to Dalmore in 1985 the distillery had already been in the hands of the Glasgow blenders, Whyte and MacKay, for a good quarter of a century. Prior to that, it had been owned by the Mackenzie family for nearly a century, their having bought it in 1867 from the original founder, Alexander Matheson, who had established it in 1839.
I remarked that the distillery had altered very little from the time of Barnard’s visit 100 years prior, at least in terms of the basic layout of the distillery buildings. He seemed much taken by Dalmore, as was I, not least because of its superb setting looking over the Cromarty Firth and the Black Isle. It oozes history, consistency, charm and permanence in a way, which is both reassuring and comforting to the visitor. However, what has changed since my visit over 30 years ago – although I have been back since – is the profile of the whisky. Despite the demands of the blenders, Dalmore was always bottled as a single malt, although as something of a sideline. The rise of Dalmore to the heights of the super deluxe is a tribute both to the marketing skills of management and to the quality of the product.
We have a couple of old Dalmore’s to act as a counter weight to the more sophisticated current range.