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Imperial Distillery Picture: Imperial
Click to see large map in separate window   Location: Carron, Morayshire AB38 7QP
Roads: Off the A95 and B9102
Hours: Please telephone for information about visits
No reception centre
Phone: 01340-810276

Text from The Whisky Trails, Copyright © Gordon Brown 1993:

Imperial was built in 1897 and so named in rather oblique tribute to Queen Victoria whose Diamond Jubilee fell on the same year. The malting kiln of the original construction was topped out with an enormous gilt imperial crown. It lasted until the 1955 refit of the distillery when, with its golden colour having given way to that of rust, it was taken down. Thomas Mackenzie set up the venture to keep up with the 1890sí demand for whisky. No one could have been expected to foresee the 1899 collapse of the whisky market, and Imperial closed within just two years of its opening.

World War I came and went before it opened again and this time it lasted six years before closing in 1925 and passing to new owners. It was 1955 before production began again, this time with completely rebuilt equipment. Imperial was silent yet again in the 1980s but it changed hands in 1989 and is now operational.

Stone-built constructions have traditionally held sway in Scotland, but in planning Imperial, Charles Doig decided to use red Aberdeen bricks for the external skin of the buildings.

At around 36,000 litresí capacity, the original stills were very large; compare this with the 11,000-litre wash stilland the 3,600-litre spirit stills at Macallan. A forest of belts and pulleys was driven by a turbine and when it broke down a farm tractor had to be backed into position to get things going again.

It was at Imperial that research was carried out into converting the waste material from distillation into nourishing cattle feed.


The Whisky
Text from The Whisky Trails, Copyright © Gordon Brown 1993:

Another of the rich, simmering, smoky malts that Speyside offers intermittently. It is not pungent or aggressive, but rather soft and gracious with a slight perfumed flavour. No official self whisky from Imperial was bottled but the occasional vintage, such as recently 1979, becomes available from independents. Source of water
Ballintomb Burn