Written by Jack on April 4, 2014
One cannot visit Scotland without taking a visit to a distillery to see masters at their craft. Steven and I had planned to visit the Auchentoshan Distillery (pronounced “Aw-ken-tosh-an”), but a bit of traffic caused enough of a delay that we missed the 10am tour. We quickly readjusted our plans and set out for Dumgoyne and the Glengoyne Distillery.
The drive was spectacular, up and over the hills and through tight, overgrown forests and thickets. Every bit the Scotland of your imagination. Upon arriving at Glengoyne, we immediately knew we were fortunate in missing the previous tour. The distillery is nestled at the base of a small mountain in a glen, on a pond, filled by a waterfall cascading out of the rocky forest behind. It simply could not have been more tranquil and picturesque.
The water from the pond is used to cool the whiskey, and comes from a reservoir a bit further up that is used in the whiskey itself.
The tour was relaxed and thorough, detailing every aspect of perfection they take to ensure the highest quality of whiskey at every part of the process. It’s only barley, water, and yeast, yet it’s so much more. Glengoyne prides itself at being the slowest distillery in Scotland, meaning the distilling process itself is carried out as slow as possible to add every bit of flavor they can from the copper piping, which gives the whiskey a bright, citrus-like taste. Every bit of metal involved is copper, including the stills, pipes, and even the nails and measuring sticks. Really quite fascinating.
I had already known a fair bit about the process, but seeing it firsthand really makes you wonder how anyone ever figured it out, hundreds of years ago no less. These distillers really are masters of their craft. They have some great videos on their website on their process if you’re really interested.
The only bummer about the visit was being unable to take many pictures. Much of the environment was (potentially) explosive and we had to shut our phones and cameras off. Oh well.