Whisky stills at Balvenie

Whisky stills at Balvenie Distillery

Today, we visited two Speyside distilleries and a famous Whisky Bar.

First stop was Balvenie, a sister distillery of Glenfiddich at Dufftown. here we joined an exclusive 3 hour tour which took us through the entire whisky making process from malting, mashing and fermentation to distillation and maturation. We also paid a brief visit to the distillery’s cooperage. Balvenie is one of the handful of Scottish whisky distilleries which still undertakes the entire end-to end process on site. Most distilleries have now contracted out malting and cooperage.

Whisky Tasting, Balvenie

Whisky Tasting, Balvenie, Scotland

Below is an image of a malt man moving the barley on the malt floor. This is a continuous task, not 9 to 5.

Malting Floor, Balvenie Distillery

Malting Floor, Balvenie Distillery, Scotland

 Here is the kiln where the malt (barley) is dried using a mix of peat and anthracite.

Oven at maltings at Balvenie
Oven at maltings at Balvenie Distillery

This is a mash tun where the whisky making process commences.


Mash Tun, Balvenie Distillery

Mash Tun, Balvenie Distillery, Scotland

The first stage is a weak beer produced in washback. this we sampled-quite tasty!

Sampling from washback at Balvenie

Sampling from washback at Balvenie Distillery

 Here is the cooperage where casks are made and repaired.

Cooperage at Balvenie

Cooperage at Balvenie Distillery

 Here is a very rare 1964 vintage. Will be very expensive when bottled.

Rare 1964 vintage at Balvenie

Rare 1964 vintage at Balvenie Distillery

Casks maturing in the bonded warehouse. during this process about 2pct of the spirit evaporates each year and is known as the ‘Angels Share’.

Maturing Casks at Balvenie

Maturing Casks at Balvenie Distillery

At end of the tour we participated in a tasting of 5 Balvenie malts ranging in age up to 30 years.


Tasting at Balvenie

Tasting at Balvenie Distillery

After the Balvenie tour we went next door to Glenfiddich and availed of a light lunch. Then on to nearby Macallan where guests were able to avail of a private tour. Macallan is positioned at top end of the malt market. Note snow covered landscape.

Macallan Distillery, Speyside

Macallan Distillery, Speyside, Scotland

Our next, and final stop, was the famous malt whisky bar at Craigellachie Hotel which is home to over 700 single malts, some very rare-and very expensive!

Craigellachie Whisky Bar

Craigellachie Whisky Bar, Speyside

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