Whisky Distillery

Ardbeg Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland

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Ardbeg was the last whisky distillery that we visited on Islay in 2016, and I must admit, I went a bit over board on the photos, its a very photogenic place. Using malted barley sourced from the maltings at Port Ellen, Ardbeg claims to produce the peatiest whisky in Islay, so of course my husband really enjoyed his tastings…..he had mine as well.

Ardbeg lies solitary, in a small cove off the south coast of Islay. It was once a stage for illegal distillation, when smugglers took advantage of the remote location and exceptional conditions for whisky production. Eventually, excise men seized the original, illegitimate buildings from the smugglers and destroyed them. It was not until 1815 that a legal distillery was established and founded by John McDougall. Sitting nearby leviathan distilleries; Laphroaig and Lagavulin, Ardbeg has always produced a very sought-after single malt, despite its production scale being less than half that of its neighbours.

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Glengoyne Distillery, Dumgoyne, Scotland

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Glengoyne Distillery is a picture postcard whisky distillery, which we visited in 2016.   It was a shame that the sky had clouded over on our arrival, but that didn’t take anything away from tasting this whisky, which is unpeated, due to the fact the water is unpeated and the malt used is similarly devoid of peat.  Which I actually liked, husband likes them peaty, but he still bought a bottle for his collection.

The Glengoyne distillery sits at the foot of Dumgoyne Hill near Loch Lomond. The distillery burn, as it is known, tumbles down the Dumgoyne Hill providing water for the 1.1 million litre capacity whisky distillery. In the past, the woodlands and undulations which covered the surrounding area gave superb shelter for the illegitimate distillations that were brought about by heavy spirit taxation. During the early 19th century, it is rumoured, there were as many as eighteen illicit Stills in the area. The whisky that came from these Stills was taken to the local blacksmith, who filled earthenware pots with the rough, wild spirit and employed local girls to walk the 14 miles to Glasgow with the whisky concealed beneath their hooped skirts. The dense woodland once provided shelter for Rob Roy MacGregor who secreted himself in a little hollow when pursued by the English army.

In 1833, the local farmer, George Connell was granted the license to legally produce whisky in the area. He founded the Burnfoot Distillery, which became Glenguin Distillery in 1861, then, in 1906, became Glengoyne. The previous owners Lang Brothers were acquired by Robertson and Baxter. The distillery was renovated and a further still was installed. In 1984, Lang Brothers received a Royal Warrant, having supplied whisky to the Queen Mother. In April of 2003, Ian MacLeod acquired Lang’s blended products and the Glengoyne distillery from the Edrington Group for £7.2 million.

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Tullibardine Distillery, Blackford, Scotland

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Following on from Deanston Distillery, May 2016, we visited Tullibardine Distillery.  This was a new Whisky for me, not so to my husband, but it was interesting to find one that I had not heard of before. The distillery stands at the western end of the village of Blackford, which itself stands in the shadow of the Ochil Hills and on the north side of the main A9 about half way between Stirling and Perth.

Tullibardine whisky distillery was founded in 1949 on the site of an old brewery, one which was said to have brewed ale for King James IV’s coronation back in 1488! The brewery itself dated back to the 12th century so it’s fair to say that the site has had an incredibly long brewing and distilling history.

Named for Tullibardine Moor, the distillery draws its water from the Danny Burn and lies to the south-west of Blackford. The area is renowned for the purity of its water, indeed Highland Spring is bottled locally. Queen Helen, the wife of King Magnus of Alba, drowned in a ford after falling from her horse not far from the town and Blackford was named accordingly.

Following purchase by Invergordon in 1971, Tullibardine’s stills capacity was increased from two to four. Two decades later, Invergordon was acquired by Whyte and Mackay and a year later the whisky distillery was shut down. In December of 2003, the distillery was put back into production following the June acquisition of Tullibardine for the sum of £1.1 million. A year later a Café and Shop were opened at the Tullibardine distillery, which today has a capacity of 2.5 million litres per annum.

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Deanston Distillery, Deanston, Nr Stirling, Scotland

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 We are in Scotland at the moment, so its bit, hit and miss if I can post, but at the moment, I can.  As we are more than likely going to add to the ‘Whiskey Distillery Tour’  I’m adding some more that we visited last year, 2016.   Deanston Distillery is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery located on the banks of the River Teith, eight miles from the historic town of Stirling, at the gateway to the dramatic Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.  Having been a cotton mill for 180 years, Deanston was transformed into a distillery in the 1960.   Part of the Ken Loach drama “The Angels’ Share” was filmed at the distillery, hence the wonderful signed poster, which unfortunately was not for sale.  

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Caol Ila Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland

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Nearing the end of our Whisky Tour of Isley, May 2016 and the one my husband really wanted to visit, was the very difficult to pronounce Caol Ila Distillery.  He really likes this whisky, we even had to drive down after it was closed, just so he could have a look, we had seen it on the ferry coming back from Jura and it did look quite intriguing, nestled in a small bay.  The next day we had a proper look and visited the shop for a couple of tastings

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Pronounced ‘cull-eela’ but say it very quickly and you just might get to hear how it should be pronounced.   The distillery is situated on the North Eastern shores of Islay, with magnificent views across the Sound of Islay to the spectacular Paps of Jura. 

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This is what the web site says……..Islay’s hidden gem, nestled down at the sleepy bay of Caol Ila lies the islands biggest distillery. Like all of Islay’s distilleries Caol Ila is surrounded in some if Scotland’s most beautiful scenery. Sitting on the edge of the sound of Islay, Caol Ila stands tall and proud alongside the fast flowing water separating Islay from Jura making it one of the most picture perfect settings for a distillery.  They are not far wrong, the scenery is spectacular, I should think, come rain or shine. 

Bowmore Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland

Carrying on with our whisky tour, we made our way to the south eastern shore of Loch Indaal on the Isle of Islay, in May 2016, to the Bowmore Distillery.  Bowmore is the oldest distillery in Scotland, and established in 1779.  There is a very nice tasting area, with wonderful views over Loch Indaal, which you can gaze at, while tasting your whisky.  

May 2016

Laphroaig Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland

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Laphroaig Distillery is very close to Lagavulin on the south coast of Islay, which we visited in May 2016, and which I posted about yesterday.  Laphroaig – pronounced La-froyg – and named after Loch Laphroaig, is one of the most divisive Scotch whiskies, loved by those who enjoy its medicinal, smoky flavour and looked on in amazement by those who don’t.  Husband likes it, it’s just a bit too smoky for me, but then I am not a true Whisky drinker……. I’m a trainee 🙂   We haven’t got that many distilleries to go now……husband is please with the progress.  I just hope we don’t visit too many next week when we are in Scotland.