Imperial distillery is located in Carron, near to Aberlour in Speyside and was founded in 1897 by Thomas Mackenzie. In 1898 it was taken over by Dailuaine-Talisker distilleries, only to be closed a year later in 1899. In 1916, whilst still closed, it was bought by DCL Group and eventually opened again in 1919.

1925 saw a further closure and it remained closed until 1955 when it once again reopened and was even expanded in 1965, only to close yet again in 1985.


Allied Distillers took over Imperial in 1989 and began production again, but this only lasted until 1998 when they mothballed the distillery. 2005 almost saw the end of Imperial but the latest owners; Pernod Ricard saved it from demolition, at least temporarily.

General whisky characteristics: Explosive bouquets of herbs and flora. Butterscotch & liquorice if older.


More great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness


Distillery photos with kind permission by Teimei Horiuchi



  Imperial (IB)    

A.D. Rattray, Imperial, 17y, 53.1% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold

Nose: Fresh tropical fruitiness, perhaps pineapple? This also reminds me of those little fruit salad chewy sweets from my childhood.

Palate: Dry, fresh and definitely fruit salad sweets.

Finish: Long with that tropical fruitiness.

Overall Impression: Another lovely reminder of my childhood.




BBR for, Imperial, 17y, 55% ABV

Taiwan Mountain Series - Yushan Mountain

Hogshead Cask No.50347, istilled 6.10.1995

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold

Nose: An aromatic and mildly floral maltiness is my first thought. After a couple of minutes in the glass it's now warming and perhaps gently toasted΄wholemeal bread.

Palate: I initially detect an oily mouth-feel but it's light with a faintly peppery maltiness. There's also a much stronger flavour here reminding me of liquorice, but not quite.

Finish: Very long and rich.

Overall Impression: Gentle nose with a surprisingly rich palate, very nice.





G&M, Imperial, 1991, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Nose: Leather, fresh air, countryside, wet leaves, Mmmmmm a good weekend hike!

Palate: A large floral explosion with dashes of honey and faint aniseed which all envelope the palate before gently fading into berries and nuts.

Finish: Long and fresh.

Overall impression: A big whisky hitting the palate almost unexpectedly. A jolly good whisky.



G&M Imperial, 1997-2010, 12y, 61.6% ABV

First-fill Sherry Cask No. 4969

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Dram-atics "Advent-urous" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Golden honey

Nose: Very floral with the addition of an olde worlde sweet shoppe filled with aromatic sweet goodies. Also separate hints of butterscotch and (pink) candy floss. Mmmm I could nose this one all day or even until it evaporates!

Palate: Malt and toffee with a hint of liquorice but the alcohol is very intrusive, let's add some water....

With 4 drops of water: A slightly more delicate nose gives way to a palate with a little more toffee and the appearance of some wood too.

With 4 more drops of water: The nose is now dominated by sweet, fragrant butterscotch and slightly floral wood.

With a further 4 drops of water: A most enjoyable nose of light butterscotch, whilst the palate is much smoother with only light toffee and wood.

Finish: Extremely long.

Overall Impression: Another excellent Imperial filled with bouquets of sweets, flora and fragrant wood, but it does need some water.



G&M Imperial, 1991-2010, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow gold

Nose: Malty vanilla with a suggestion of popcorn whilst retaining a herbal freshness. There's also a fruitiness in the background.

Palate: The background fruitiness from the nose now combines with the herbal freshness to create a very interesting palate, but the fruit then fades to leave honey and herbs which carry into the finish.

Finish: Long with malt and honey.

Overall Impression: A very decent light dram, perfect for a summer's evening aperitif on the patio.





Ian Macleod "Chieftain's" Imperial, 18y, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

"Dram-atics" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale, lightly coloured water, quite unusual for an 18y whisky?

Nose: Unlike the colour, this has quite a strong nose and immediate too. It has vanilla overlaid with aromatic grasses, some hay and the very faintest hint of light rubber.

Palate: Distinctive with perfumed grasses and a suggestion of liquorice.

Finish: Long, gentle pepper dominates light liquorice, fading very slowly.

Overall impression: Lots of flavour but not so complex. I just feel it lacks a little 'something'.

I have decided to revisit this a few days later:

Glass: Classic Malt / Colour as above / Nose: As above

Palate: Still perfumed grasses, just a hint of liquorice, but today I detect a little citrus (lemon) in there too.

With 3 drops of water: A little more rubber on the nose. The palate is slightly smoother, with vanilla, lemon and fresh, but less perfumed grasses.

Finish: Much longer with more pepper when water added.





Signatory Imperial, 1982, 27y, 58.3% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

"Dram-atics" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Gold (18ct) / oak

Nose: Immediate aromatic wood, lightly perfumed, an olde worlde sweet shoppe! I really could nose this for the next couple of hours.

Palate: Rich, smooth and very warming. It even grows or expands across the palate as the seconds gently tick away. There's aromatic wood, light butterscotch, peach and melon flavoured ice cream with an extremely faint hint of raspberry coconut!

Finish: Very long. The fruit on the palate actually leads perfectly into the finish and just lingers, almost forever.

Overall impression: A very intriguing nose makes promises which the excellent palate delivers well and then passes the baton to a very good finish. Delightful, I love this whisky!

I have decided to revisit this a few days later:

Glass: Classic Malt / Colour as above

Nose: Similar to above, with the addition of some well-polished aged oak.

Palate: Pretty well the same as above.

With 3 drops of water: The nose loses the sweet shop aspects, but gains in richness with extra wood, wax polish for that aged oak and still a hint of butterscotch. The palate has more peppery tingle, lots of wood, still some sweetness, but not quite so much and the fruit has diminished to almost zero.

With 4 more drops of water: Aged oak, marzipan, more nuts and a slight bitterness as it leads into the finish.

Finish: Long, very long.

Overall Impression: Still excellent, possibly even better with a few drops of water.




  Duncan Taylor

Four sister casks


Duncan Taylor, Imperial, 19y 1990-2009, 53.1% ABV

Cask 445, drawn from cask on 4.4.2009

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ to €€€€€

Live Dram-atics review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark gold - light oak

Nose: Initially offers some semi sweet notes of floral malt and candy floss. After some minutes in the glass this develops a mustiness in the background which is reminiscent of an old musty or dusty library shelf.

Palate: Ths sees that mustiness turn more into a leafiness which is accompanied by a suggestion of slightly bitter fruit, perhaps star fruit or apple in character.

Finish: Quite long and also quite dry.

Overall Impression: A most enjoyable nose but a slightly bitter palate lets this down a little. In some ways I'm reminded of a mix between a grappa and obstler style.



Duncan Taylor, Imperial, 19y 1990-2009, 53.7% ABV

Cask 446, drawn from cask on 6.4.2009

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ to €€€€€

Live Dram-atics review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale bronze

Nose: Surprisingly fruity with a big burst of apple and passion fruit and a faint leafiness in the background.

Palate: Wonderfully smooth mouth-feel and again very fruity, but this time with mainly peach and cantaloupe melon. This really is smooth, gentle and very approachable!

Finish: Long with a delightful fruity tingle.

Overall Impression: I love that peach and melon. A very good whisky.



Duncan Taylor, Imperial, 19y 1990-2009, 55.7% ABV

Cask 448, drawn from cask on 12.2.2009

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ to €€€€€

Live Dram-atics review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light oak

Nose: Immediately suggests fruit but with a gentle hint of furniture polish. Then comes musty oak and after some minutes further fruity notes, this time cherries or cherry wood and vanilla.

Palate: This has a mild pepperiness alongside a suggestion of coconut and again cherries. Overall this one is really quite fruity.

Finish: Long and mildly peppery concentrated mainly on the front of the palate.

Overall Impression: Nice fruity tingle with an emphasis on cherries.



Duncan Taylor, Imperial, 19y 1990-2009, 53.4% ABV

Cask 449, drawn from cask on 5.5.2009

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ to €€€€€

Live Dram-atics review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Vivid oak or perhaps even light amber

Nose: Lots of furniture polish and even a faint hint of rubberiness with oak and vanilla in the background.

Palate: Very light and mild and has an equally mild suggestion of oaky aniseed. It also has a faint fruitiness but one which is difficult to identify.

Finish: Long with a further suggestion of aniseed.

Overall Impression: Furniture polish and aniseed? Interesting, very interesting.












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