Dalmore: Distillery Tour

Dalmore sits on the picturesque banks of the Dornoch Firth in a tranquil setting just outside  Alness. It is one of my favourite locations and a polar opposite to the panoramic heights of Dalwhinnie or the rugged, salty and weather battered Islay distilleries. The tour is free but spaces are limited so there is a need with such an iconic brand to book ahead. Sadly cameras and phones are not allowed on the tour so I can only offer external shots. It is disappointing as the interiors ooze class and branding but remain firmly off camera.

Dalmore is instantly recognisable due to its use of the stag and refined imagery and marketing. The distillery has been revamped much like the Dalmore bottles themselves  and the centre is a stark, modern environment that emphasises style - even the flooring is marvellous. If you prefer tartans and tourist souvenirs then this isn't the tour for you. The luxurious styling a of the distillery may divide opinion but I am a fan as this fits Dalmore. This is perfectly pitched towards the modern whisky enthusiast and the rooms upstairs for those financially endowed investors wishing to discuss their next purchase.
The most surprising aspect about Dalmore is the size of the distillery; small but perfectly formed. It may have been extended in recent years but it retains the character of the original distillery and old sits alongside the new in perfect harmony. The stills themselves are unique with their flat tops adding unique characteristics to the malt. The actual production areas are compact and circled by photos and props.
 Also worth mentioning are the staff who were more than happy to add further depth and assist with questions even as they worked. Dalmore is a hive of production yet you were made to feel at home by its friendly team. Another feature is the range of new spirit where you could see the effects of distilling on the sample visually and using your senses.

At the end of the tour you are lead into the sampling room, seated at a gloriously opulent circular table, ready for a short film and then a taste of the 12 year old. It is very drinkable yet it's hard to concentrate in a environment that features 2 of the most expensive and luxurious whiskies ever. They need no introduction as their 6 figure sums are mind boggling and beyond you and I, this is the closest we will come to such a bottle. It makes for splendid drinking company and I was also fortunate enough to be shown the latest Dalmore extravagant release; The Constellation in its entirety laid out before me. A marvellous experience and to see these bottles together, naked without their luxurious packaging, is something I will remember. 

Interestingly in the warehouse we did see the 1951 cask. With Bowmore setting a new standard recently with their 1954 release I'm predicting bigger things from Dalmore when this hits the market, probably in 2013. It will be another luxurious entry in the Dalmore annuals and another out of my reach!

As always the complete set of photographs (33 in total) are available here for further viewing.

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