Aultmore is a single malt distillery located on the eastern edge of the Speyside whisky region of Scotland. This workhorse sits within the John Dewar & Sons estate. Production is primarily for the popular Dewar's range of blended Scotch whiskies. However, in 2014, Aultmore was thrust into the limelight with the launch of its own single malt range. A brand identity, story and contemporary packaging were created. So now, the distillery known as 'Foggy Moss' can no longer be ignored.
Aultmore is known for a light and delicate style of single malt. This style is particularly popular with blenders and shows an usual grassy and zesty freshness with a medium body and peppery finish. This style matures well in ex-bourbon barrels. The current range has age statements at 12, 18 and 21 years old. There is also The Exceptional Cask Series, featuring three 22-year-old whiskies finished in different wine casks.
The key function of Aultmore remains to fulfil blending contracts, despite the single malt range. Historic bottlings from the distillery were sporadic and limited to United Distillers' Flora & Fauna and Rare Malts collections in the 1990s. Availability outside of that was via independent bottlers such as Douglas Laing, Gordon & Macphail and Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
The annual capacity of Aultmore is 3.2 million litres. The distillery has a large 10-tonne stainless steel mash tun and operates 16 mashes per week. Each mash goes to one of six wooden washbacks constructed from larch. The fermentation time for each batch is 56 hours. The resulting wash is fed to one of two wash stills for the first distillation. These in turn feed two spirit stills, where the second distillation takes place. One feature of the still house is a huge roll-up shutter window that stretches its entire length. The window allows regulating the temperature easier.
The Aultmore distillery was founded in 1896 by Alexander Edward. It is located near the Speyside town of Keith. Aultmore was Edward's third distillery, who already had the fellow Speysiders of Benrinnes and Craigellachie in his portfolio. The name is derived from Allt Mòr, the water source for the distillery, and this translates as 'big burn' from Gaelic. The area where the distillery was built is known as 'Foggy Moss' due to the boggy terrain and regular mist that is created by the microclimate.
Edward sold Aultmore to John Dewar & Sons in 1923 and it has remained within the company ever since. That said, the company has been part of other larger groups within that time. Most notable are Distillers Company Limited (DCL) in 1925, Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD) in 1930 and United Distillers in 1987. The current owners are Bacardi, who took control in 1998. John Dewar & Sons is Bacardi's Scotch whisky part of their business.
The distillery was completely rebuilt in the early 1970s, which was a boom time for the whisky industry. This action was replicated at numerous locations around Scotland and saw many historic buildings lost forever. The project at Aultmore was overseen by architect Leslie Darge. The result is that no original buildings from 1896 remain. They were replaced by a functional 'copy and paste' style design that could be adapted to each location's production capacity.