The Whisky

The Dalmore – Scotland

Founded in 1839, by Alexander Matheson who had made his fortune as a partner in Jardine Matheson the trading firm which took over from the East India Company and which, by that time, was controlling exports of opium trade into China. The lease (and eventually ownership) was taken by the Mackenzie family in 1878 and it remained family-owned until 1960 when one of Dalmore’s main customers, Whyte & Mackay, took control. For many years Dalmore’s presence in the world of single malt was restricted to a 12-year-old expression. In recent times however the range has expanded dramatically, with a core range of 12, 15, 18 and 25-years-old, plus no-age-statement specialities like King Alexander III, Cigar Malt, and an ever-growing selection of luxury expressions including the 21-strong Constellation range (comprising vintages from 1964 to 1992) and the Dalmore Sirius 1951.

Cabarfeidh and Richard Patterson of The Dalmore

When descendants of the Clan Mackenzie became owners of The Dalmore distillery in 1867, the Royal Stag became the recognisable icon that proudly adorns each bottle of The Dalmore today.

Glen Ord – Scotland

Founded in 1838 by Thomas Mackenzie of Ord, who, having seen the potential for distilling by Muir of Ord’s Allt Fionnaidh (the White Burn) promoted his idea locally and then leased land to a group of village businessmen for 1 shilling per annum, the distillery has gone from strength to strength in a century and a half. Now, in the 21st century it is under the ownership of Diageo and it can rightfully claim to be one of the very major distilleries north of lnverness, having in the early 1990s invested half a million pounds in opening an extremely well-designed exhibition and visitor centre. Mackenzie tartan is judiciously and very fittingly incorporated into its interior design. The distillery crest bears the Mackenzie motto “l shine not burn”.

From left to right, Kenny Gray (Manager.
Glen Ord Distillery), Robert E. Harrison, Cabarfeidh and Alan McKenzie in 1996.

Kenneth Mackenzie, 1st of Killichrist, 4th son of Kenneth Mackenzie, 7th of Kintail, had a 2nd son, Thomas of Lochluichart, who, in 1598, obtained from Kenneth, 7th  (afterwards first Lord  Mackenzie) of Kintail a tack (or lease) of the lands of Ord on the Black Isle.  It was his son, John, however, who was the first of the family to possess Ord outright. He obtained a charter from Lord Mackenzie of Kintail, of the lands and mill of Ord dated 23rd July, 1607, and on the 15th of September, 1637, George second Earl of Seaforth granted him a regular free charter of the whole. Ord House was originally built in 1602 by Thomas Mackenzie, who leased land around Muir of Ord in 1598. In 1810, another Thomas Mackenzie enlarged the house in keeping with its original style, giving it its present-day appearance (some further remodelling also took place in 1850). It was this Thomas Mackenzie who promoted the building in 1838 of the local distillery, Glen Ord Distillery.

Dailuiane – Scotland

William Mackenzie, a farmer from the Speyside town of Carron, built the Dailuaine distillery in 1852. Dailuaine derives from the Gaelic An dail uaine, meaning “green valley”, reflecting its idyllic location among the gentle green undulations of the Spey valley. By the 1860s it was being serviced by the Strathspey railway and was also one of the most innovative in terms of design. In 1865, William’s widow Jane leased the distillery to James Fleming, a banker from nearby Aberlour and in 1879, Jane’s son Thomas and James Fleming formed “Mackenzie & Company”. A complete rebuild in 1884 saw the installation of Scotland’s first pagoda on a kiln whose pitch was deliberately steep to minimise the contact time between peat smoke and drying malt, apparently one of the clearest indications of how the old “Strathspey” style was changing. In 1898, it merged with Talisker to form Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd. This architectural gem was tragically lost in 1917 after a devastating fire. After being forced to close the distillery opened again in 1920. The second expansion in the distillery’s history came four decades later, in 1960, when the distillery expanded from four to six stills. It is now part of the industry giant Diageo.

William Mackenzie’s branch of the Mackenzies had a rather colourful history and reflects the way in which family solidarity characterised the way the Clan navigated its way through the turbulent years of the Jacobite uprisings. The Mackenzies of Dailuaine were descended from Hector Mackenzie, the 3rd son of Alexander Mackenzie, the 5th laird of Gairloch. Hector was a Cornet in the Regiment of his mother’s kinsman, Sir George Munro. Hector’s sons, John, Murdo and Duncan joined in the  Rising of 1715, and consequently found it necessary to leave their native county, crossing in an open  boat from the Black Isle to the town of Nairn, from which they  naturally found their way to the neighbourhood of the family of Hector’s second cousin, Murdo Mackenzie, Bishop of Moray and subsequently of Orkney, in  the upper districts of Morayshire and Inverness-shire, a place in  which several of these relatives held  influential positions in the  Episcopal Church, as merchants and burgesses. Some of Hector’s sons can be subsequently found not many years after in the Strathspey district, John, the  eldest, having two farms on the  estate of Edenvillie, in the parish of  Aberlour, and their descendants continued as Episcopalians for some time after settling there.

Finger Lakes Distilling – USA

The Finger Lakes Distilling story began in 2007, when Brian McKenzie, of Elmira, N.Y., met Thomas Earl McKenzie, of Monroeville, Alabama, at a craft distiller’s conference. The two men aren’t related, but they share a passion for high-quality distilled spirits. Brian had a background in finance and was looking to start a business in the Finger Lakes, while Thomas Earl was a winemaker, brewer, farmer, and a consultant for many distilleries. They combined their complementary skills and their shared passion to bring you Finger Lakes Distilling.

Finger Lakes Distilling is unique to wine country. In the simplest terms, they start with fermentation much like a winery or brewery. They take things a step further, however, by heating the fermented liquid, which vaporizes and concentrates the alcohol, before recondensing it back to a higher proof spirit. By altering the raw material used, the proof to which they distill, and the aging process, they are able to put together our wide range of products.

The architecture of the distillery was inspired by the clean lines of classic Scottish whisky distilleries. In that tradition, their building has a pagoda roof (historically used for ventilation of malting operations) and a white stucco finish with black trim. The oak floors are reclaimed lumber, once the siding from a Kentucky tobacco barn, the still’s shipping crates are now storage shelves, and the wood bordering the tasting bar was recycled from old barn wood. The distillery also boasts a spectacular view of Seneca Lake and four acres of 100 year old Concord and Niagara vines.