Circa 1897. Whisky distillery complex comprising malt barn, kiln and warehouses on large site next to river Dullan. Rubble with harl pointing, some tooled dressings, graded slate roofs to all buildings.
2-storey, 14-bay former malt barn (now a store) with integrated taller 2-bay square-plan kiln with piended roof and pagoda cupola (known as No 2 Kiln and No 5 Store).
Set of warehouses to south west of the site (at NJ 32753 39770, known as No 3 and No 4). Range of 6 gabled bays, 2 storey gables, single storey and attic to long elevations.
Variety of glazing patterns in timber frames; former malt barn with boarded timber shutters below 3- or 6-pane fixed glazing. Metal bars to window openings of warehouses.
The interiors were seen in 2013. The former malt barn warehouses have timber floors supported on cast iron columns and I-beams, and timber roof trusses. Kiln divided into ground and first floor. Water tanks at first floor of former malt barn.
Statement of Special Interest
The former malt barn, kiln and warehouses at Mortlach distillery are likely to date to the 1897 expansion of the distillery and together represent a good example of a large traditional whisky distillery at a time when the industry was expanding in Speyside. The buildings survive predominantly intact and retain original details such as gabled elevations, small openings with timber shutters, slate ogee roof to the kiln and internally the cast iron columns supporting timber floors. The traditional form and good quality construction of the buildings at Mortlach distillery are indicative of their original function. Whisky is intrinsically associated with Scotland and a distinctive architecture developed to house the distilling process. These buildings are an important part of Scotland's architectural heritage, particularly in Speyside which has almost half of the country's historic malt whisky distilleries. Mortlach is one of the earliest distilleries founded in Speyside and is still in operation.
Mortlach distillery was founded in 1823 and was the first distillery in Dufftown. The same year an Excise Act was passed, which cut the duty on spirits produced, allowing a rebate on malt tax and opening the export trade to all distillers. The Excise Act had a dramatic effect on the industry with the licensing of over 200 new distilleries within two years. Though many of these new distilleries soon disappeared, the survivors, like Mortlach, formed the nucleus today's Scotch whisky industry.
The footprint of the former maltings and kiln and warehouses are first evident on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey Map (published 1902). The distillery was expanded in 1897 which included the doubling of the stills from 3 to 6 (an unusually large number for the time), and a railway siding was constructed so the site could utilise the railway network. It is likely that the former maltings and kiln and warehouses were constructed as part of this expansion. Additional warehouses adjoining or linking to the extant warehouses are also evident on this map, but were demolished in the 1990s. The central core of the site has been comprehensively altered so that the 1897 warehouses and the kiln and malt barn are the only intact historic buildings remaining.
As noted by Moss, the industry boomed in the 1890s to satisfy ever growing consumption. Scotland was regularly consuming over six million gallons a year and exporting ten million. To meet this demand new distilleries were constructed and existing distilleries were rebuilt on a larger scale, such as Mortlach. Many of these were in Moray and Banffshire due to the popularity of the fruity Speyside whiskies. Distilling remains a major industry in Scotland with malt whisky exported worldwide.
Mortlach distillery was the first distillery in Dufftown and forms a significant part of the town's social and industrial history. It remained the only distillery in Dufftown until Glenfiddich distillery was founded in 1887 by William Grant, a former manager of Mortlach. In 2013 Dufftown had seven working distilleries and one disused.
The1960s additions to the north elevation of warehouses 3 and 4 were not considered of special architectural or historic interest at the time of the listing review (2014).
Category changed from B to C, statutory address and listed building record in 2014. Previously listed as 'Mortlach Distillery, No 2 Kiln and No 5 Store'.
Elgin Courant (21 February 1862 and 1 October 1869).
Ordnance Survey map, 1st Edition (surveyed 1868, published 1872). Ordnance Survey map, 2nd Edition (surveyed 1902, published 1905).
J R Hume, The Industrial Archaeology of Scotland 2: The Highlands and Islands (1977), p182.
B Spiller, 'Mortlach Distillery' in The Distillers Company Limited Distillery Histories Series (1981).
M S Moss and J R Hume, The Making of Scotch Whisky (1981). Further information courtesy of owner (2013).
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Printed: 14/12/2018 03:15