Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Imperial has had something of a stop-start history. It was founded in the town of Carron in central Speyside in 1897 by Thomas Mackenzie, who also had a share in both Talisker and Dailuaine (Carron's other distillery). Imperial was initally built as a second distillery for Dailuaine, and the name 'Imperial' was to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, which occurred the same year.

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ImperialSingle Malt Scotch Whisky

Mackenzie consolidated his interests in the three distilleries under the company Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd in 1898, the year Imperial started production. Unfortunately, it was the also the year that the Edinburgh blender Pattison's of Leith crashed, precipitating a major crisis in the industry. Demand for malt whisky slumped and Imperial was mothballed the following year, remaining closed until 1919.

During this silent period Thomas Mackenzie died and Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd was taken over by a partnership of three very famous names in the blending industry: James Dewar, James Buchanan and John(nie) Walker. The distillery opened again in 1925, the year that the company was amalgamated into Distiller's Company Limited (DCL, which was eventually to become Diageo), but Imperial closed again in 1926 and remained shut until 1954, during which time only the maltings floors remained in use.

The distillery was refurbished and re-opened in 1955 under the stewardship of DCL's subsidiary Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD), and the number of stills was increased from two to four in 1965.It carried on producing until 1985, when it fell silent again during another downturn.It was re-opened in 1989 after being sold to Allied Distillers (later Allied Domecq). Production ceased again, however, in 1998 and the distillery was officially closed in 2000. In 2005 Imperial became the property of Pernod Ricard following their takeover of Allied, but it remains to be seen what will become of the distillery.

Throughout its lifetime the production of Imperial was almost exclusively used for blends, notably Teacher's, Old Smuggler, Long John and Ballantine's. However, there is an old 15 year-old bottling, as well as several independent expressions on the market. The house style tends towards the fruity end of the spectrum, with a residual smokiness not uncommon.


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