Once you arrive, you are greeted by a pretty and picturesque scene: it’s safe to say that Glenkinchie is a beautiful and quaint looking distillery and it sets the scene for the rest of the tour. To start, you have roughly 20 minutes in the museum before you spend some time going through the production areas of the distillery itself. You are then met with your guide who then spends the next half an hour guiding you through the distillery itself and explaining in depth into how Glenkinchie is made. We started off , of course, with the malting and where the distillery’s malted barley comes from. In the past, like most distilleries Glenkinchie had their own floor maltings but that is no longer the case (in fact, their old floor maltings are now the museum where we started our tour). You then move on to the processes of milling, mashing and fermentation whilst being shown Glenkinchie’s Lauter mash tuns and wooden washbacks. The most impressive part of the tour though is certainly Glenkinchie’s two copper pot stills which just happen to be the biggest on mainland Scotland, and which stand out as a highlight of the tour. After that it was time for a quick view of their earth floor dunnage warehouse before sampling some of the final product, Glenkinchie 12 years old, at the bar, alongside many other whiskies from Diageo’s distilleries for comparison. Glenkinchie offers a fantastic tour for any whisky aficionado but it also caters towards any amateurs who wish to know more about Scotch whisky. Find out more about the Classic Malts selection, and about booking a distillery tour at Glenkinchie here. Only in the city for a short break? Come and find us at the Scotch Whisky Experience! Take a whisky tour here in Edinburgh and explore the different whisky producing regions of Scotland from the comfort of our central location.
Lagavulin was jointly owned by the Graham family and James Logan Mackie & Co, a partner in which was Peter Mackie who went on to build the Craigellachie Distillery and establish the White Horse brand. As an experiment Mackie set up the Malt Mill Distillery in 1908 within Lagavulin itself, and aim being to recreate old traditional working methods. The kiln had a haircloth floor and was heated by open chauffers fired entirely with peat. Malt Mill had its own washbacks but shared Lagavulin’s mash tun, and heather was added to the mash (Mackie believed this to be the original practice). The two pear-shaped stills were the same as those at Laphroaig. Mackie even poached Laphroaig’s brewer to work on his new venture. However, if he was secretly trying to duplicate Laphroaig’s product (Lagavulin lost the agency for Laphroaig in 1907) the experiment was a failure. Mackie’s family line ended in 1917 when his son James was killed outside Jerusalem, but Malt Mill survived until 1962, its maltings now converted into Lagavulin’s visitor centre.
Aged in refill and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts. Nose: Without peat to mask any notes, toffee overpowers the dram. Baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg linger, while citrus and spun sugar pop in at the end. Palate: Heavy with cereal and sawdust. Very much like a spiced cake with baking spices, ginger, and cacao nib. The char from the barrel provides a smokey tar flavor. Final Thoughts: This whisky is a solid winner in my book. Vital Stats: 43.2% ABV. Lowland single grain scotch aged in refill American oak hogsheads. Nose: Funky like some rice whiskies or apple cider vinegar; very pungent. 2 pencil during a test. The mouthfeel is extremely soft. Just the faintest bit of sweetness with a slice of orange. Final Thoughts: I’d prefer not to sniff this dram. Tasting isn’t much better until the finish with the bit of orange. I don’t know if it’s a case of older doesn’t always mean better, or the single grain used that gives this whisky its funk.
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