Previously disregarded in favour of prettier and better known distilleries, Aultmore has no website, no visitor centre, and is situated off a small back road in the middle of a boggy moor. The area is renowned for its foreboding thick fog known as the Foggie Moss that often cloaks the village and distillery in a mysterious shroud.
Aultmore comes from the Gaelic An t-Allt Mor, meaning ‘big burn’ and referring to the nearby Burn of Auchinderran, the distillery’s water source. When it was built in 1895 by Alexander Edward, the power of the burn was harnessed with a water wheel. This was replaced by a steam engine, but the wheel continued to be used as a backup for when the engine was under maintenance. The steam engine itself powered the distillery for 70 years.
The first few years were troublesome, with a closure due to bankruptcy in 1899 until 1904, and again in WW1 due to barley shortages. During the 1950’s, Aultmore pioneered the use of draff, a by-product of whisky production, as animal feed. In 1968, the maltings were closed and the whole distillery rebuilt with the addition of two more stills. The distillery resumed production in 1971 and is now owned by Dewars, a subsidiarity of Bacardi.
Recently, Aultmore has ventured into the single malt market, releasing a 12 year old expression bottled without chill filtration at 46%; this is light, delicate and floral in style.