Dalwhinnie: Strathspey, Highland.
Owning Company: J. Buchanan & Co.
Location: Stands at the Drumochter Pass at the head of Strathspey.
Visitors Centre: Open all year, Tel: (Scotland) 01528 522208, Fax: 01528 522240.
Daily opening hours: Jan to Dec: Mon to Fri 0930 to 1630, Jun to Oct: also Sat 0930 to 1600, Sundays in Jul & Aug from 1230 to 1630.
Dalwhinnie, the highest distillery in Scotland stands in an area steeped in history. The placename itself means 'meeting place', where cattle drovers and smugglers met on their way to markets in the south.
The distillery was originally named Strathspey when it was established during the whisky boom of the late 1890s by two men from Kingussie. They chose the site for its access to a supply of clear spring water from Lochan-Doire-Uaine, above the snow line, and abundant peat from the surrounding moors.
The business was not a great success, however, and in 1905 Dalwhinnie was sold to the largest distilling company in America, Cook & Bernheimer. This gave rise to a great concern within the whisky industry in Scotland, which feared that the Americans might attempt to take over the market. Worries were dispelled by the introduction of prohibition in 1922, and in 1926 the distillery passed into the ownership of the Distillers Company Ltd., which licensed it to James Buchanan & Co.
Until 1988/89, the brand was only available locally, but it was chosen by United Distillers for their Classic Malts series, and is now much better known as a result.