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Imperial Whisky

The Ballintomb Burn rises in the Mannoch Hills before running some two and half miles to the Imperial distillery, not far from the village of Aberlour. The decidedly colonial-sounding Imperial was named for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897; construction having commenced that same year. Thomas Mackenzie founded the Imperial. The distillery was designed by the prolific architect Charles Doig.

The distillery lies in Moray, an eminent whisky region, though aesthetically the whisky distillery bares little semblance to its distilling neighbours; Imperial is made of Aberdeen red brick and utilizes an iron framework to protect the buildings from fire damage. Production was halted for two decades following the Pattison Crisis. Imperial reopened in 1919 following its acquisition by a group headed by Distillers Company Limited three years prior.

Closing once more in 1925, Imperial did not reopen until it was transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers in 1955. The maltings were upgraded a decade later with the addition of a Saladin box. Two further stills were also installed. The distillery had been closed for four years when Allied acquired it in 1989. Allied renovated Imperial and reopened it in 1991. It was mothballed in 1998 and passed on to Chivas Brothers in 2005 following their acquisition of Allied. The distillery remains woefully silent to this day, though there are, however, several independent bottlings and an official expression - a fifteen year-old.

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