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The Glenlivet

The wonderfully bleak, and remote location for one of the definitve Speyside malts. It all looks even more dramatic with one of the many blizzards I encountered that day about to engulf it.

The wonderfully bleak, and remote location for one of the definitve Speyside malts. It all looks even more dramatic with one of the many blizzards I encountered that day about to engulf it.

Ballindalloch, Banffshire, AB37 9DB, 01340 821720. www.theglenlivet.com

 

APPEARANCE AND LOCATION:      *****      With its brand new production area, this mish-mash of buildings has reached new levels of eclectic design. Its position in the glen, however, is utterly stunning, and I could still appreciate it despite the freezing hail stinging my face.

TOURS PROVIDED:

‘Standard Tour’: FREE. See ‘My Tour’ below, although please note that it is the newly expanded area of the distillery which you will be taken round.

‘Ambassador Tour’: £25. Led by a brand ambassador for The Glenlivet, this takes in some of the older warehouses and a peek at some casks which may become the next Cellar Collection bottling. Friday mornings only. Pre-booking essential.

DISTILLERY-EXCLUSIVE BOTTLINGS:      N/A

My Tour – 20/04/2010

THE RUNNING COMMENTARY:      **

THE PROCESS AND EQUIPMENT:      **

Notes:      When I went round, the distillery was waiting on its certificate of completion which would allow them to take visitors in. It was in full production, however, and Cathy from The Whisky Castle has toured along with other industry insiders and says that it is mightily impressive but a touch ‘Theme Park’ with the viewing gantry running round the inside of the outer walls with all of the process happening beneath you. The mashtun I was shown is now redundant.

GENEROSITY:      * (Choice of 12YO, Nadurra 16YO and the 18YO)

VALUE FOR MONEY:      **

SCORE:      7/10 *s

COMMENT:      What a pleasure it was to return to this, the distillery which has set the last two years, and essentially the last two weeks, in motion. The new still house is tastefully done, but does stand out when you reach the car park. This is now a seriously big site. The grounds are genuinely lovely. There is a duck pond beside some of the older dunnage warehouses and their island has a nifty little pagoda roof. Men were pressure-washing the sides of the other warehouses, and the far-flung water droplets combined with the fierce and perishing wind meant that I changed in the vestibule between the outer and inner doors. The tour itself is well-orchestrated. Unlike the last time when we had a French girl take us round, on this occasion it was a Scottish gent. He gave us some local colour about the winter just gone. Diane at the Argyle Guest House in Tomintoul revealed that they had had a combined total of 22 feet of snow. The Glenlivet has its own back up generator and huge reserves of malt so production was largely unaffected. The council has its obligation to get the kids to school, and so a foot of snow on the roads was no real problem for their Swedish-style road hoovers. Three inches of snow, as I remarked to the two Englishmen on the tour with me, is a national emergency where we come from. The mash tun was an odd encounter. They are now using the new one in the new plant, but unfortunately we couldn’t see it because the latest facility doesn’t have its certificate of completion, even though it is now in production. I felt disconnected from the process, knowing it was going on in the next room. The washbacks are enormous: 60,000 litres each. The stills are very handsome indeed, and the middle cut was being taken from one of the four pairs of stills in the old still house. Out into the cold we went for the warehouse. The smell didn’t strike me to the same degree as it had 30 months ago, but all the same we enjoyed an excellent explanation of the maturation process. I learnt that Jack Daniels – the whiskey distillery where The Glenlivet sources some of its bourbon wood from – is aged for maybe 2 years tops. To our right was a cask that had been sleeping for much longer: a 1962. The next Cellar Collection, maybe. The tour was completed with a dram. I had the Nadurra and thoroughly enjoyed it. I then crammed in a lot of warm, calorific stuff from the excellent cafe. I sat at a window and contemplated the wild beauty of the glen, changing by the minute courtesy of the wind which did not let up all the way back.

The newly-completed expansion. The Glenlivet is now a 10 million litre giant.

The newly-completed expansion. The Glenlivet is now a 10 million litre giant.

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Author:
saxon
Date:
April 22, 2010 um 8:21 am
Category:
The Tours
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