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Dallas Dhu Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Forres, Morayshire, IV36 2RR Scotland
Tel: +44 01309 676 548
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The picturesque distillery of Dallas Dhu was built in 1898 to produce malt whisky for Glasgow firm Wright and Greig’s popular ‘Roderick Dhu’ blend. The distillery gets its name from the Gaelic term "Dalais Dubh" which means, "black water valley."

Dallas Dhu distillery only changed hands twice before it was acquired by Distillers Company Limited (DCL) in 1929. The distillery was silent from 1930 until 1936 and in 1939 a fire destroyed the stillhouse. By the time it was rebuilt, it was shut again due to World War II. It was not until 1947 it was reopened.

The distillery was modernized in 1950 and significantly updated in the 60s and 70s. In 1983, while it was in perfect working condition, DCL closed Dallas Dhu due to overproduction and the need to reduce capacity and costs. Today the last distillery built in the nineteenth century is a living Scottish museum run by Historic Scotland.

Dallas Dhu whisky had a good reputation and is a much sought after single malt. It is still available from private bottlers, although the supply is dwindling since production has ceased. Other rare products include Dallas Dhu - 23 Years Queen's Golden Jubilee Bottling and Dallas Dhu - "Rare Malts Selection" 21 Years 1975. House style: Full bodied, with honey and chocolate as common aromas.

Douglas Laing

Buy Dallas Dhu Single Malt Scotch Whisky Here!  Photo Courtesy of Master of Malt

Bottling Note: A single cask Dallas Dhu distilled in March 1972, matured for 32 years in refill butt number 748, and bottled by Douglas Laing in October 2004. A release of 605 bottles.


Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery

Dallas Dhu Distillery lies just south of Forres on a minor road that branches off the A940. It is adequately signposted, but you do have to overcome the sense of being sent into a housing estate at one point. The distillery was built in 1898-9 on the estate of Alexander Edward of Sanquhar by a Glasgow based whisky blending company, Wright and Grieg Ltd. Their main blend was called Roderick Dhu and sold well in the 1880s and 1890s, especially in India, Australia and New Zealand.

Dallas Dhu was located on the Altyre Burn to ensure a good supply of the most important raw material, water. Excellent barley was also available nearby, and the site was served by the (now long closed) railway line from Forres to Aviemore.

Dallas Dhu's fortunes fluctuated over the following 80 years, and its ownership changed more than once. The distillery was closed from 1929 to 1936; and the stillhouse burned down in 1939, being rebuilt just in time to be closed once more during World War Two.

Significant investment in the 1960s and 1970s helped bring the distillery up to date, but by the early 1980s it was clear that there were more distilleries than could possibly be needed to meet forecast demand. By 1983 Dallas Dhu was owned by the Distillers Company, who took the decision to close some of their smaller and older distilleries to reduce their capacity and costs. One was Dallas Dhu.

At the same time, the importance of distilling to Scotland's heritage was becoming more widely recognised. The organisation that is now Historic Scotland was therefore looking for a distillery to preserve. Of all those it looked at, Dallas Dhu was about the most complete and original: and it had the added advantage of being smaller than most and relatively easy to manage and maintain. Dallas Dhu therefore reopened as a visitor attraction in 1988.

A visit to Dallas Dhu begins, as with most distilleries, at the Visitors' Centre. Here you are issued with an audio "wand" that gives a running commentary on each of the key stages in the distilling process as you stroll around. This is a great idea that allows you to tour at your own pace, or even take a second look at areas of particular interest. The first important element in the tour is one that is becoming increasingly rare in visits to working distilleries, the malt barn. Here you get a real sense of the way the barley was steeped then laid out to sprout. You then proceed to the kiln, the building surmounted by the kiln head or pagoda that is so characteristic of distilleries, yet which is now no longer used in so many of them.

After the kiln, the going becomes more familiar to visitors of working distilleries. The next main stage involves the copper topped mash tun in which the crushed malt was soaked with hot water. This feeds through to the huge barrels in which the initial fermentation took place: the wash-backs. Anyone who has ever stuck their nose into a wash-back at a working distillery will notice the absence of some very characteristic smells at Dallas Dhu; but against this must be set the ability to look as closely as you like at the equipment.

This is especially noticeable in the still room. This houses the two stills used at Dallas Dhu, and it takes you a while to realise the main difference from a working distillery: the absence of the usually oppressive heat of the still room. Other differences are equally striking. We'd never before, for example, seen the insides of a still. And you'd certainly not be invited back if you tried to photograph inside a still in a working distillery. And when you come to the spirit safe, you again appreciate the differences from a live distillery. Perhaps you lose the sense of the stream of clear spirit flowing through the safe. But you would most certainly not be able to manipulate the controls yourself if spirit was still involved.

Moving on again, visitors are taken through the cask-filling area to the bonded warehouses; and finally back to the Visitors' Centre. Here one tradition well known to visitors of working distilleries is maintained. You are offered the chance to taste a dram of the product, though (understandably) a blend rather than the increasingly scarce and expensive single malt still available from the years before Dallas Dhu ceased production.

Visitors to the unique time capsule of Dallas Dhu can see and hear how whisky was made here – there is an audio-visual presentation and free audio guide – and sample a free dram.

2km south of Forres off the A940.

North and Grampian.
Grid reference NJ 035566.
Post code IV36 2RR.

Cycle Routes
Site on the National Cycle Network

Public Transport
From Inverness train station, take Scotrail train (Aberdeen) to Forres (25 mins). Walk 15 mins to the Distillery.

Tel 01309 676548

Opening Times
Summer (1 April - 30 September), Monday to Sunday, 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Winter (1 October - 31 March), Saturday to Wednesday (closed Thursday and Friday), 9.30 am to 4.30 pm

2007 Admission Prices
Adult £5.00 Child £2.50 Concessions £4.00

The visitor centre and shop are all on ground level. Due to the many stairs, visitors using wheelchairs should visit only the ground floor levels. There is a picnic area within the grounds although grassed areas can be soft. The visitor centre has a multilingual presentation and an audio tour is available to all visitors.

Sound Loop available in the audio visual theatre and cash till area.

Parking available beside visitor centre.

Courtesy of Undiscovered Scotland