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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

The Glenlivet, Speyside, Scotland

If Glenfiddich is now the heavyweight champion of Speyside and in many ways the father of the modern industry, then The Glenlivet certainly deserves an honorable mention and perhaps should be considered the grandfather.  When the 1823 Excise Act was passed one of the first to apply for a license was George Smith of Glenlivet, and in 1824 The Glenlivet was born.   It was such a popular and presumably good whisky that soon many regional distillers were using the name Glenlivet on their whisky as a sign of quality.  So many whiskies in fact claimed to be Glenlivet that it became known as the longest glen in Scotland.   In the end it went to court in 1880 (when Glenfiddich was still a twinkle in the eye of William Grant) but it only resulted in a partial victory for the Smith family, and some whiskies continued to use the name in part, and today you can still see old bottles or marketing material that refer to "Craigellachie-Glenlivet" and other similar hyphenated names.  Anyway this is one of the "must visit" distilleries, considering it is the third most popular single malt in the world, and one of the increasingly few that still offers free tours and samples (at least they did in April 2010).  They have a great visitor center, which was rebuilt in 2009, with a cafĂ©, shop and nice tastings including their 12 and 18 year old expressions and the 100% bourbon cask matured Nadurra.  

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Kilchoman, Islay, Scotland

Kilchoman, Islay, Scotland With seven much more famous distilleries on Islay, why would you visit this one?  Well because this is the newest distillery on Islay and a great contrast to the older, Victorian distilleries the island is famous for.  Also this is one place where every step of the whisky making process is done on site.  Every single step.  From growing barley on the farm, to the traditional floor maltings through to distillation and maturation of their whisky and even bottling.  Not many grow barley, only six other scottish distilleries have their own floor maltings, many now mature their whisky offsite and few bottle their own product.   What better reason do you need to go and see it?

OK , well here's another.  Kilchoman also has a great cafe on site which is worth a visit in its own right.

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