Friday, April 19, 2013

Edradour Distillery - The Smallest Distillery in Scotland

SPOILER ALERT - If you want to be surprised on this tour, don't read this blog. I don't show everything, but there are still a few pictures.

Well, we relaxed at the Buttonboss Lodge Sunday morning eating biscuits (cookies) and drinking coffee until the Edradour Distillery opened at noon. Edradour is pronounced with the 'dour' part sounded out like the word 'our' or 'sour'. Anyway... Finally! We get to see the place. The tour was very interesting. They do everything by hand here. After buying your tickets, you walk to the cafe where you can have coffee and read about the distillery as you wait. You can get more information about the process from the link I provided above. I actually had to reference it a bit to remember some of the terms...

You are then led to a room that used to be where the malting took place. They now have this done off-site. Anyway, in that room you get to taste a couple of whiskeys while watching a video about the distillery. It's about 8 minutes long, so as our tour guide said, "You have 4 minutes for each whiskey." The woman at the ticket desk suggested that I grab the liqueur because you also get a whiskey. Instead of tasting two types of whiskey, you get to also try the liqueur. I did this and also recommend it.

After malting, the barley is ground into a flour known as grist and then mixed with spring water piped from local springs to begin the process of converting it to sugars. The result is called "wort" and is then sent to the Morton Refrigerator (which is ancient) to be cooled.

Once it's cooled, it goes to one of their 6,000 litre pine washbacks where the yeast is added so that fermentation can begin to convert the sugar into alcohol (they say it takes about 56 hours).
To separate the water from the alcohol, the wash is piped into the stills where the liquid is heated to turn the alcohol into a vapor. The vapor is condensed back into a liquid by sending it through the 'worm', which is a coil submerged in cold water. Now it's called, 'low wines' and is about 23% ABV. It's then sent through the second still where it becomes 'spirit' at about 69% ABV. Are you keeping up?
It's later tested for strength and then stored in oak casks imported from various countries around the world. The oak cask allows it to breathe, but also about 25% is lost throughout the 8-26 years they are stored. The staff there call this "the Angels share" and feel it would be unfair to deprive them. :o)

We ended the tour in the shop where the guide explained the types of whiskey available there. Steve and I left with about £200 of whiskey. Why not? The Edradour Distillery doesn't sell their whiskey in many shops, so our only chance to obtain it is in their shop. We decided then that missing out the day before actually worked out perfectly because hiking back with that much (and that expensive of) whiskey would have been .. uncomfortable.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I am happy to hear from you!