The great thing about working in a small business is that you can choose who you do business with and how you do that business. Over the last couple of years, we've been much more particular about this, and we've been slowly discovering more about our products and our suppliers, to make sure they fit with the way we want Clachaig to trade.
|Benromach Distillery. Established in 1898.|
|Speyside Cooperage, Craigellachie|
First off, was a visit to the Speyside Cooperage at Craigellachie. You can't make a good whisky without a good cask, so we guess that learning what makes a good cask is fairly important if you're going to be distilling some whisky.
Rather than making new casks, the job in hand was to reduce the size of a batch of casks ready for a taking to a nearby distillery.
These guys are paid on piece rates. The more they produce, the more they earn. This might explain why they were going an incredible pace, running around the workshop floor like worker ants dressed in red polo shirts. It's a fascinating place, and should you find yourselves in Speyside, we can highly recommend that you call in for a look see. There's also the obligatory tea room for cakes too!
|A morning's work|
Next we moved on to Elgin and Gordon & Macphail's HQ. Our whisky has been coming from here for a couple of decades, so it was great to see who we've been dealing with for all these years. But best of all was the tour of the bonded warehouses and the racks and racks of maturing whisky. Just when you think you've seen it all, around another corner appears another endless tier of casks.
|I'm sure I saw the ark of the covenant stored in here somewhere|
|Trying to get to grips with the subtleties of flavour|
|Strangely enough, they didn't offer a tasting of this bottle|
|Gordon getting hands on with the cleaning in the wash back|
|The business end of the process|
|Yet more casks. First fill for these ones, for the best results.|
|Acres of bonded warehouses, again full of the good stuff|
|Some bloke called Charles seems to have signed this one. The first |
cask produced after the distillery was re-opened by Gordon & Machail in 1998
So all in all an absolutely tremendous trip. And a certificate to go with. Like, it seems, Prince Charles, we're now in the exclusive club of being Honorary Stillmen. A huge thank you to Richard and Stephen at G&M and Keith and Mike at the distillery for the hospitality and a very educational and worthwhile couple of days.
Right what are we doing next week? Where does our wine come from...?