The industrious little town of Dumbarton can be found on the North bank of the river Clyde, with its rich history of shipbuilding, whisky and war, it still manages to be relevant in the ever-changing world.
The history of Dumbarton can be traced back at least 1500 years to the late 7th century but, it more than likely goes back much further. It was a major stronghold of the kingdom of the Goidelic Celts until it was destroyed in 872 by the Vikings. This loss of power to the Goidelic Celts paved the way for the emergence of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Although the name Dumbarton itself harks back to this time, in Scottish Gaelic, Dùn Breatainn means fort of the kingdom of the Goidelic Celts.
It wasn’t until 1220 that Dumbarton became a power again when King Alexander II built a castle on the iconic volcanic plug, known locally as ‘The Rock’, to defend the settlements further up the Clyde from the ravages of Norwegian Vikings and the Sea Kingdom of the Western Isles. Since then the Rock has been besieged many times, defending against attacks from King Olaf of Norway and the infamous Ivar the Boneless, son of the legendary Ragnar Lothbrock, and yet its walls were never breeched.
The Rock has played host to many important guests over the centuries, amongst them Sir William Wallace, who galvanised Scotland against the tyrannical English occupation. Sir William was finally captured after the battle of Falkirk and handed over to the traitor Sir John Monteith who held him at the Rock prior to handing him over to the English in 1305. Sir William’s remains were mostly returned to Scotland later that year, his limbs were paraded around Scotland as a warning to other rebels whilst his head remained atop a spike at Westminster.
As the medieval era passed, so did the bloodshed and the Rock stood to watch over the bustling little town as it grew and flourished. From the mid-18th century, the town became famous for glassmaking, shipbuilding and then whisky. The Cutty Sark was built here, one of the final and certainly the fastest Sea Clipper ever built. In 1936 Canadian distillers Hiram Walker bought the local Glasgow-based distiller George Ballantine and Son and built a huge distillery on the site of a former shipyard.
With juicy, rich flavours and a real depth of character, Dumbarton Rock Blended Malt carries its head high knowing that it holds a proud name and promises a bold dram worthy of its name.