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Construction on the Dalmunach distillery in Speyside was begun in 2013 with the demolition of the site’s previous incumbent: Imperial distillery, which Dalmunach’s owners Chivas Brothers had acquired in 2005 following their takeover of Allied Distillers. With Chivas seeking to expand production the decision was taken to start again at Imperial and build a new distillery rather than upgrade the existing one.
Imperial distillery had been built in 1897 but endured a somewhat fractured production history with frequent closures and unfortunately-timed changes of ownership meaning the distillery was active for less than half of its lifespan. The last production at Imperial had taken place fifteen years prior to the decision to demolish the site; the distillery had been mothballed for the final time in 1998, a year after its centenary.
Stills: 4 Wash 4 Spirit
Water Source: Ballintomb Burn
Capacity: 10 Million Litres
Owners: Pernod Ricard
Dalmunach’s future looks rather rosier than its predecessor. The distillery was perhaps built as a response to Chivas Brothers’ rival Diageo’s construction of the enormous Roseisle distillery a short distance north in Speyside. Certainly, the new distillery is far grander than Imperial and much larger, with a capacity of 10 million litres per year - Imperial at its height only produced around 1.6 million litres.
Dalmunach is a £25 million statement distillery, consciously designed to be beautiful as well as functional. The eight large stills are arranged in a circle in the enormous stillhouse, feeding the hexagonal spirit safe with unpeated spirit destined mainly for Chivas Brothers blended whiskies Ballantine’s, Royal Salute and Chivas Regal.
Bottlings of Dalmunach have so far been scarce; the first official release was a four year old that appeared without fanfare in Chivas distillery shops in 2019. Independent bottlings of Dalmunach also began to emerge from 2019 from bottlers including The Vintage Malt Whisky Company and Duncan Taylor.
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