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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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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Speyside Cooperage, Speyside, Scotland

Speyside Cooperage, Speyside, Scotland OK - I admit this is isn't a distillery.  I would argue if you had toured distilleries fifty years ago then the cooperage would no doubt have been a part of the tour as most distilleries would have had their own cooper.  Today few distilleries have full time coopers (Glenfiddich and Midleton are the only two I am aware of) and so it is places like the Speyside Cooperage that carry on those traditions. So if you are interested in whisky and in Speyside then this is somewhere you have to visit, because I think it is fair to say that the quality of cask has probably just as much, if not more, impact on the final product than the new make spirit that comes off the still (at Macallan they suggest the final flavor can be attributed, approximately, 30% to the spirit and 70% to the wood).   At the Speyside cooperage you can watch the coopers build casks and a video explains the history of this craft.  All in all a great whisky related experience and definately worth the detour. 
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