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Issue 141 - Making Whisky At Ballindalloch

Whisky Magazine Issue 141
January 2017

 

This article is 19 months old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Making Whisky At Ballindalloch

Suzanne and Gavin learn the fundamentals of distilling

Deep within the Spey valley lies Ballindalloch Distillery, announcing itself from the A95 road with large black lettering against a white painted wall. It looks like an old farm steading, principally because that's exactly what it was before conversion into a delightfully traditional whisky making operation during the years of 2014/15.

It is part of the historic Ballindalloch Estate, owned since 1546 by members of the Macpherson-Grants, represented today by Oliver and Claire Russell and their family. Sir George Macpherson-Grant was involved with the building of nearby Cragganmore, in the 19th Century, and the family remained co-owners of Cragganmore until 1965.

But we were there not to muse on history, but to do something infinitely more practical. We were there to make whisky. Practicality and early mornings are not necessarily the whisky writer's strongest points and we managed to be late for our 8am start, but at least we found the distillery.

When we drove up, the sky was a fetching shade of grey, and the heavens had opened. Happily, distillery host Brian Robinson was on hand with a golfing umbrella to greet his two apprentice whisky-makers, and the calm, warm embrace of the distillery felt like home as soon as we stepped inside.

We were greeted with smiles, cups of tea and industrial gloves; the latter just in case we had forgotten that we were there to work, and hopefully learn. Once the tea took effect, Colin Poppy, distillery manager and our temporary boss, ...

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