Silent Distillery Profile; Dallas Dhu (Dallas Doo) – Scotch Whisky History

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Silent Distillery Profile; Dallas Dhu (Dallas Doo) 

by Lawrence Graham

Operational: 1899, silent from 1929-36 and from 1939-47

Closed: 1983 and the last cask filled on March 16th, October 1983

Region: Speyside (Findhorn)

Last Operational Owner: Scottish Malt Distillers, a subsidiary of the Distillers Company Limited (DCL).

Current Owner: Historic Scotland

Address: Mannachie Road, Forres, Morayshire, IV36 2RR 

The original meaning of the name “Dai leas dubh” means “Field by the Black Water fall” or “BlackWaterValley”, although some accounts list the Gaelic name as “Dalais Dubh”. William de Ripley (1165-1215) was given lands on Dallas, Scotland by King William the Lion. The distillery was briefly known as “Dallasmore” and the distillery was for a time served by the now defunct Forres to Avimore rail line. In it’s time the output from the Dunnage warehouses contributed to the blends of Roderick Dhu and Benmore. 

The construction of the distillery was commenced in 1898 on the estate of Alexander Edward of Sanquhar who was a prominent Speyside distiller. Early on (sometime in 1898 or 99) Edward sold the rights to the distillery to the blending firm Wright & Greig Ltd of Glasgow and the architect was the famed Charles Doig. 

In 1921 after one other owner (JP O’Brian & Co) the distillery was sold to Benmore Distillers Ltd, an English consortium who also owned Benmore and Lochhead distilleries in Campbeltown and Lochindaal distillery on Islay and in 1929 DCL took over Benmore Distillers. 

On April 9th, 1939 a fire destroyed the still house and much of the equipment however later in 1939 the still house was rebuilt. The distillery was extended in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Electricity did not reach Dallas Dhu until the 1950’s and the water wheel still contributed to the power pool into the 1970’s. 

At the same time in 1983 that Dallas Dhu was closed by the Distillers Company Limited, they also closed Banff, Brora, Glen Albyn, Glen Mhor, Knockdhu, NorthPort and St. Magdalene. 

Dallas Dhu has been operated as a non working distillery museum by Historic Scotland since 1988 and also includes a shop, picnic area and refreshments. The tour is in the self guided audio-visual style and full details including open times can seen at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk

The water source for the distillery was the Altyre Burn which is known locally as the Scourie Burn. 

Sadly, the license to distill was returned in 1992 however visitors comment that the distillery looks like it could start production anytime as all the plant and equipment are in place. 

Sources; Scotch Missed by Brian Townsend, The Scottish Whisky Distilleries by Misako Udo, The Scotch Whisky Industry Record by Charles Craig, The Whisky Trails by Brian Townsend and our very own Charles Mclean writing in the Mitchell Beazley Pocket Guide “Scotch Whisky”. 

Dallas Dhu Historic Scotland

Dallas Dhu Historic Scotland

This article was originally published on the Malt Maniacs and is reprinted here with permission of the author.

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