Dufftown is a famous distilling hub in the heart of the Speyside region. The town produces more whisky per head of population than anywhere else in Scotland. The distillery that shares the town's name was the sixth to be built within its borders when it was founded back in 1895.
Dufftown distillery is owned by Diageo and produces spirit for their various blended Scotch brands. The Dufftown also contributes to The Singleton brand, along with malts from Glen Ord and Glendullan.
Dufftown produces a sweet, fruity malt. The mature whisky is light to medium-bodied with tasting notes of gentle spice and butterscotch.
Dufftown is distilled from unpeated barley grain. The distillery is equipped with six pot stills of simple design. Unusually, the spirit stills are larger than the wash stills, increasing copper contact in the spirit run.
The production method has undergone some changes in recent years. A longer fermentation process has helped to create a grassier spirit in line with the blender's requirements.
At 6,000,000 litres per year capacity, Dufftown was Diageo’s largest malt distillery until Roseisle came online in 2009.
Spirit matures in a combination of ex-bourbon whiskey and ex-sherry casks. The eight onsite warehouses are capable of storing up to 100,000 casks.
In 2006, Diageo launched The Singleton, a single malt brand consisting of whiskies from three distilleries. Dufftown was chosen along with Glen Ord and Glendullan to supply the liquid. The Singleton is now one of the top-five best-selling single malt brands in the world.
The Singleton of Dufftown was originally intended for European markets. The Singleton of Glen Ord was for Asia and Glendullan for the US and Canada. Today all three are available worldwide in a bid to challenge the sales of Glenlivet and Glenfiddich.
There are 12, 15 and 18-year-old versions of The Singleton of Dufftown. Since 2014, three new non-age-statement expressions have been released. They are Spey Cascade, Tailfire and Sunray.
Since 1991, a 15-year-old Dufftown has formed part of Diageo’s Flora & Fauna range. In 2020, a 17-year-old cask strength version was included in that year's Special Releases.
In 1895, an old mill in Banffshire was converted into the Dufftown distillery. It was the sixth distillery in the town. When a seventh was added the town earned the slogan “Rome was built on seven hills but Dufftown stands on seven stills”. The seven distilleries were Mortlach, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Convalmore, Glendullan, Kininvie and Dufftown.
Dufftown was purchased by MacKenzie and Co in 1897. They later sold it on to Arthur Bell and Sons in 1933.
Over the years, the distillery occasionally found itself in conflict with its neighbours. On more than one occasion, distillers at Mortlach attempted to divert the water source to better serve their own needs. Today, the two distilleries are under the same ownership and no longer rivals.
Dufftown still operates in its original building. Expansion over the years has led to an incredibly cramped layout within.
Increased demand in the ‘70s led to the construction of a second distillery. Pittyvaich ran alongside Dufftown until 1993. It was demolished in 2002, leaving the original distillery to carry on as before.