Imperial was dogged by poor timing. Its chequered history meant that it never had a chance to become established as a single malt brand. Too late for the very earliest wave, by the time the category was becoming popular in the 1970s it was already committed to supplying fillings. When the single malt market came of age in the early 1990s, Imperial was closed. Bar one half-hearted Allied Distillers bottling, it has only ever been seen under independent bottlers and, for many years, was also somewhat ignored.
Then, slowly, Imperial's gentle, floral, American cream soda style began to win friends. While it has not reached the cult status of Brora or Port Ellen, its reputation continues to grow. Sadly, there isn't much stock left. Bad timing again.
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A royal crest was emblazoned on the kiln of the distillery, a reminder of Royal Family.
Warehouses still remain on site, even though the distillery was demolished.
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The Imperial distillery was located just next to Aberlour, in the Speyside region. It was founded by Thomas Mackenzie in 1897, and named in honor of the Royal House. Charles Doig was the architect of the distillery.
In 1898, just 18 months after the distillery opened, it was closed due to the Pattison Crisis. In 1919, the distillery reopened. It was bought by Distillers Company Limited, and owned through a dual partnership of Dewars and Johnnie Walker.
By 1925, DCL had a total control over the management. But it closed its doors again twice, in the 1920s and in 1985. In 1998, the distillery was mothballed and in 2013 Pernod Ricard built the Dalmunach Distillery on its site.
Six large washbacks of 56,500 liter capacity were installed on site. Two 18,500 liter wash stills and two 20,500 liter spirit stills were installed. The unpeated barley was floor malted, until a Saladin's Box was introduced in 1965.
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
AddressImperial Distillery Carron Moray AB38 7QP United Kingdom