The distillery was built in 1895 by Benrinnes-owner Alexander Edward, who sited it just north of Keith in the heart of Speyside. Just two years later, the company was under the management of Oban & Aultmore Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd and production was greatly increased with the addition of a steam engine to power the facilities - in fact the distillery would employ the ten horsepower steam engine twenty-four hours a day for the next seventy years.
Following the Pattison Crisis, Aultmore (pronounced ‘Ollt-MORE’) closed for several years. The distillery briefly reopened in 1903, but was forced into closure once more owing to the barley shortage during the First World War. In 1923, the distillery was acquired by John Dewar & Sons for £20,000 and, two years later, became part of Distillers Company Limited, today a subsidiary of Diageo.
In 1969, Aultmore switched from steam to electricity and a further two years later increased its capacity and doubled its stills to four. The original steam engines are still on display at the distillery. Aultmore, which derives from the Scotch Gaelic for ‘Big burn’, takes its water from the Burn of Auchinderran. The great majority of the spirit produced at Aultmore is used in Dewar’s blended products, but following Bacardi’s acquisition of the company an official twelve year-old bottling was released in 2004. There have been independent bottlings from bottlers including Blackadder and Douglas Laing.