The only bottles that have been available for sampling for the last decade or so have been the independent Whisky bottlings. These tend to be older casks - most with 16 or more years of aging. They tend to be very light and bright in character with no smoke at all. Everything is fruit-forward with brittle toffee notes and summer fruits and a clean, dry finish.
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"Dallas Dhu" translates from the local Gaelic dialect as "black water valley."
The orginal name during construction was "Dallasmore," and the alternate "Dallas Mohr." It was changed to Dallas Dhu, after its first sale within months of starting production.
Dallas Dhu is in the town of Forres -- along with Benromach -- the site where legend says King Macbeth met the three prophetic witches at the crossroads.
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Dallas Dhu is about as far as you can get from the Spey River, and still be called a Speyside. It sits about fourteen miles west of the Spey River, and about one mile east of the River Fendhorn. One of its challenges has been its location-- off of the main road from anywhere.
The main route through the area is A96, and Dallas Dhu is a mile south of that (Benromach sits right on A96). But Dallas Dhu does sit on the Manachy burn, which was its traditional water source when it was active.
Dallas Dhu was the last distillery to be opened by the famous Alexander Edward. Construction started in 1898, but wasn't finished until 1899 when production started on May 29th. The first cask was filled on June 3rd of that year.
Alexander sold the place immediately after production started (there was active investment in Whisky at the time), and got his asking price due to his strong reputation of building winners. Like so many other distilleries that -- in our opinion -- were the victims of speculation, this distillery changed hands no fewer than five times in 40 years.
It was closed during the darkest days of Prohibition -- from 1928 through 1936 -- and then suffered a serious fire in 1936. Then World War II intervened, and it was not opened again until 1947. So there is a twenty-year gap with very little production at all.
A few of the processes and machines were upgraded and modernized here and there. But overall, the economics of modern distribution, and a few dry years when the local streams ceased their flow, encouraged their corporate owners to close them down in 1983.
This might have ended the story of Dallas Dhu, but the Historic Scotland Society purchased the site, refurbished the buildings, and opened a Whisky Heritage Museum there in 1992. The new signages and tidy landscape might fool you into thinking that it is still an operational distillery, but it's all pomp and circumstance at this point.
Dallas Dhu was never a high volume shop. And from day one, production was destined for the blender's of Scotland. Things might have turned out differently if they had instead established a single malt.
When you are selling a non-established brand into a commodity market, after a basic level of quality is achieved, the rest is dertermined by price of goods and cost of distribution. Being a small shop, economies of scale would suffer.
Being far from a main road or rail service means distribution costs more. But setting the economics of production aside, Dallas Dhu has never had an official distillery-sponsored single malt release.
But Diageo owned them during the 1970s and released a bit in the rare malts special editions. A few other independent bottlings were undertaken as well, from the likes of Gordon & Macphail and others. You can still find a few bottles on the open market, but they are expensive and getting harder and harder to find.
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
OwnerHistoric Scotland Society
No. of stills1 wash, 1 spirit
AddressDallas Dhu Distillery, Mannachie Rd, Forres IV36 2RR, United Kingdom