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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Loch Ewe, Aultbea, Scotland

Don't bother looking for this one in your standard guidebooks or whisky books.  It won't be there.   This is quite literally a distillery built in a garage at the back of a hotel.  The owner of the Drumchork Lodge Hotel exploited a loophole in UK law (now closed) which requires stills be 1800L or more to get approval for 120 L still and makes his own spirit.  He even allows you to come to his garage and make your own spirit (remember it is only called whisky if it stays in oak cask for 3 years).  You can read more on his website (http://www.lochewedistillery.co.uk) but I can tell you it was simply amazing to see everything done on this small scale by hand, including lighting the gas under the alembic styles stills to fermenting the wash in a wheelie bin (yes a wheelie bin) and maturation in small wooden casks .  The small size accelerates maturation to where it is quite drinkable in a matter of weeks – they usually bottle at around 6 weeks.  What Loch Ewe produces is probably the closest thing to traditional Uisge Beatha you can buy today (including the new make spirits that some distilleries sell).  The hotel by the way is a great, remote spot in Wester Ross and as you might expect the bar is very well stocked with Loch Ewe and lots of other whiskies.  Well worth the trip and one day I will be going back to make my own batch of whisky in a wheelie bin.

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Glenturret (Virtual Tour), Crieff, Scotland

Glenturret (Virtual Tour), Crieff, Scotland

This was my 8th Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#8) and I have visited this distillery in person as well. As I said at the time “no-one is coming here because of their love of the Glenturret single malts. This is the home of a whisky themed tourist attraction, The Famous Grouse Experience, based on the fact that Glenturret is one of the malts used in that blended scotch. It also claims to be the oldest distillery in Scotland but that honor is claimed by several others.”  

I had a great visit in person and their virtual tour (as you might expect for a site that has such a major brand associated with it) is excellent. The same 3-D self guided technology that others like Talisker used but with embedded links to mini videos on Youtube that allow you see how the whisky making process actually works. For me this created overall the closest experience to an actual distillery tour that I found during the COVID-19 2020 “lockdown” and while Glenturret probably won’t make anyone’s favorite single malt whisky list anytime soon this tour is definitely worth checking out…. https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=bZMbquUCthj&play=1

What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

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