Muir 0f Ord, Ross-shire, IV6 7UJ, 01463 872004. Diageo. http://www.discovering-distilleries.com/glenord/
APPEARANCE AND LOCATION: **** The countryside between Speyside (rural Banffshire) and Inverness-shire is profoundly interesting. There are hints of the unforgiving wildness of the North and West. This distillery is perhaps closer to the fecund Black Isle, but the juxtaposition of sea and mountains is an enthralling one. The distillery itself is rather removed from all of this but only by trees and the more immediate knuckles of hills.
‘Exhibition-Only Tour’: £2. A view round the excellent exhibition space which focuses not just on Glen Ord but distilling in the Black Isle, in addition to other aspects of the economy of the region, and more general historical information. There is a video and a dram of the lovely Glen Ord 12YO.
‘Glen Ord Flavours Experience Tour’: £6. See ‘My Tour’ below.
‘Glen Ord Tasting Experience Tour’: £10. The standard tour plus two other drams from around Scotland.
NB: Groups of £20+ can be admitted at £4 each (phone ahead) and as with all Diageo distilleries the tour price earns you a money-off voucher for all 70cl purchases.
DISTILLERY-EXCLUSIVE BOTTLINGS: As Glen Ord is sold only in Asia, the official bottlings are all UK-exclusives, available only at the distillery.
My Tour – 29/04/2010
THE RUNNING COMMENTARY: **
THE PROCESS AND EQUIPMENT: **
Notes: All of the product goes to Asia but you can still see it being made and it is one of the best, most spacious distilleries to allow for the easy comprehension of it all. Diageo’s Flavour Boards are designed to help the initiated and uninitiated alike gain an understanding of what the principal flavours are in the whisky they are presently learning about and which stage of the process creates those flavours. I think it is an initiative that works well. The mash tun and some of the washbacks are to be replaced this summer. The mash tun is comprised of three different metals!
GENEROSITY: (1 dram)
VALUE FOR MONEY: *
SCORE: 5/10 *s
COMMENTS: Like all of the Diageo distillery tours I have been on so far, I can summarise this one as thorough and professional. There is an exhibition dealing with the local area stretching into the Black Isle, the history of distilling in Glen Ord and the present day distillery regime. Then you head off around the buildings. I learnt that the mash tun and some of the washbacks are to be replaced over the summer. No-one mentioned as to whether this would be with wood or stainless steel. At each stage of the process, there are to be found flavour boards which take the overall flavour profile presented at the beginning of the tour and segment it into which flavour is derived from which part of the process. This takes things on one stage further from the Cardhu experience which provided a flavour wheel at the beginning of its tour and seven jars containing the aromas of the seven principal flavours Diageo believes are to be found in single malt whisky. I think this is a very good approach to educate those new to whisky (even if I would question how closely the jars resemble the aromas they are intended to represent). This, together with the Flavour Map, is a fine way of re-classifying their stock of distilleries and the different expressions of them they offer. In the warehouse there are two casks with whisky in to nose: both 11YOs; one in Sherry, the other Bourbon. There are too more brief exhibitions to enjoy and these focus on coopering and coppersmiths. This is done in the rooms ajoining the very plush Classic Room, which has all of the Classic Malts arranged along the wall in addition to the other principal malts from Diageo, such as Royal Lochnagar, Glen Elgin, Knockando, etc. It is here that you get your nip of Glen Ord, which I thought was jolly nice. There are some older bottlings in a display case and a viewing window into another warehouse. The whole arrangement is top class. They even had some screwdrivers so that I might repair my shoes!