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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Glen Garioch, Oldmeldrum, Scotland

Perhaps one of the hardest distillery names to pronounce correctly (other contenders include Bunnanhabhain and Bruichladdich) Glen Garioch is 17 miles from Aberdeen and only about  11 miles from my office, so this was my nearest distillery when I lived in Scotland.  However a combination of limited visitor hours and my first tastings of Glen Garioch at a conference in 2009 leaving a less than positive impression meant there were many others distilleries I wanted to see before this one.    Then a couple of things happened, including in 2010 Glen Garioch revamped their line and produced a no age statement Founders Reserve and they were at Whisky Live London in March 2011 and I got try some of their new expressions and liked them.  A few weeks later I was driving through Oldmeldrum and on whim I stopped by the distillery (I didn't even have my note book so very little notes) and did the tour.  They still have their original floor maltings, kilns and even the tools used in maltings, although they are no longer used, so it makes an interesting part of tour as few other distilleries still have these.  As they now produce unpeated single malts, I bought a vintage bottling of their peated whisky and enjoyed it very much.

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Glengoyne, Dumgoyne, Scotland

Glengoyne, Dumgoyne, Scotland

If the Mayans were correct, the world was going to end on December 21st 2012. I decided that if that was going to be my last day I was going to spend a little time that day at a distillery. Glengoyne has a picture perfect setting with a waterfall outside the very nice visitor center. They offer a variety of tours (based on the tasting at the end) and allowed our daughter to come along as well.   Overall I thought tour was good, a short video at the beginning along with a dram of Glengoyne 12 year old and a well stocked shop, (but they did charge us for the tour). One observation was that they use one wash still with two spirit stills, rather than the usual wash still and spirit still pair. However what was most interesting to me was that they were very proud of fact they are technically a Highland distillery and even pointed out that the road that runs outside the distillery is the boundary between the highlands and lowlands. If they were on other side of road they would be a lowland distillery. I have stated before that I don’t think it would be a bad thing for them to style themselves as a lowland distillery, as today they are just another Highland distillery, but they obviously feel differently. But the thing is, and I think it is quite a thing, that they mature their whisky across the road; technically in the lowlands. Most people suggest maturation accounts for around 60% - 70% of taste of final product and Glengoyne mature their spirit in the lowlands! So you could argue the final product is more lowland than highland.

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