Mortlach distillery was founded in Dufftown in 1823, making it the very first distillery in the town which now produces more whisky than any other in Scotland – the second distillery here was Glenfiddich in 1887. Mortlach was founded by James Findlater but within 10 years the facility was sold and then repeatedly changed hands for a number of years – even going out of use for some years after being purchased by John & James Grant of Glen Grant.
It was converted back into a distillery in 1852 and was partially acquired by George Cowie Senior in 1853, finally entering into a period of stability. The facility was later passed to George Cowie Junior and significant upgrades were made in 1897 with the expansion of three to six stills and the addition of a railway slider connecting the distillery to Dufftown train station.
The distillery was purchased by Distillers Company Limited (which later became Diageo) in 1923. Mortlach is one of the Diageo owned distilleries which is used predominantly for the production of spirit to be used in blended whiskies. The facility has a production capacity of around 2.9 million litres per year. There are traditionally very few official single malt bottlings available, with the only bottle in semi-regular circulation being the 16 year old Flora & Faunaexpression which was released in 2010. However, a new core range launched in 2014 including the no-age statement Rare Old (matured in bourbon and sherry casks); 18 year old; and 20 year old expressions.