Thursday, May 7th, on our way back to our humble caravan we spotted the sign for Glenfiddoch Distillery (part of the William Grant Group). As I recall, Glenfiddich was the second single malt I ever tasted and it has had a calling for me ever since, so, in we go for a visit. Glenfiddich came well recommended by a women we met in the Information Bureau, who said to the lovely Catherine “it’s a great tour, but wait till you visit the ‘ladies’, that sold it ! I had a job keeping up with Catherine to get to the visitors centre, first stop of course for Catherine was the ladies. She came back grinning from ear to ear “look at these photos” she said, “no time the tour has started “ says I – come on.
The tour started in the cinema with a short film on how William Grant with his sons and daughters built the Distillery with their own hands in 1886 and had it operational by Christmas Day 1887 using second-hand stills purchased from his old employer at Mortlach from where he had learned his trade in the past 20 years. Our tour guide, The very lovely Kirsty, then showed us how the lightly peated malted barley was ground to grist then mixed with water from the Robbie Dhu spring in the stainless steel mash tuns to produce the wort, to which has yeast added in one of the Douglas Fir washbacks (where the eye watering smell came from). Kirsty then took us to the still room Photo where she pointed out the 3 original stills as well as the other 15 later additions fashioned in the same style. From the still house Kirsty took us into no1 Warehouse where she showed us a short film of the Glenfiddich Cooperage showing these master craftsmen displaying their skills and showed a race between father and son building a cask and according to Kirsty the father usually wins with a time of around 7.5 minutes.
After the film show we walked further into the Bond where we were offered a nosing into a Cask containing 15 year old Glenfiddich. This was in a Bourbon cask, Kirsty also unbunged a 16 year old in a Sherry cask – Catherine liked this one a lot and asked if she could nose it through a straw ! Then it was the turn of an 18 year old Glenfiddich in a new oak cask giving off a totally different nose through the lightly peated spirit. Finally came the tasting, and we were not disappointed. The 12 year old with its light, fresh nose and its medium body carrying citric fruit with a fine blend of malt and peat appealed to both of us. Catherine says I scoffed another glass when Kirsty wasn’t looking, but I would never admit to doing such a thing!!!!
Before I finish, I am sure I read somewhere that Glenfiddich had been producing spirit from heavily peated malt, can’t wait to try that sometime. Hope someone at the distillery keeps us informed on its progress. Cheers !!!
Dougie & Catherine