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Issue 35 - Frank's wild years (Frank McHardy)

Whisky Magazine Issue 35
November 2003

 

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Frank's wild years (Frank McHardy)

Frank McHardy has given his life to whisky. He's now installed in the newest distillery in Scotland and he's a proud man. Dave Broom spoke to him about his exceptional career

It's hard to recall what it once looked like. The last time. When it was just a vast empty barn with no windows and a thick layer of pigeon guano.

Now we walk on a clanging metal floor hanging high above the floor heading towards the pair of stills framed at the end of this mezzanine platform.

He doesn't give much away does Frank, but on this occasion he's exploding with pride. All his four decades in whisky have been poured into this, the newest distillery in Scotland.

And Frank? Well Frank has come full circle. 40 years ago he was looking at the same two stills he's now installed in the Glengyle distillery. They originally sat inside the Invergordon grain distillery where they (very occasionally) made Ben Wyvis malt and it was at Invergordon where Frank got his first job in the trade.

He swept floors in those days. Now he's running one distillery which malts,distils, ages and matures three whiskies on site and designing and building another.

Invergordon. The Cromarty Firth. A place where they think big, from the earth-mapping musings of the great geologist Hugh Miller, to the building of oil rigs to making whisky.

When the Invergordon distillery was built in 1961 Frank was working land. He'd left school at 14 with no qualifications.

He ended up on the farms and going to agricultural college on day release. His father landed the job of personnel manager at Invergordon and his family moved there in 1963. Frank went and doubled his wages, one of the 180 people working a...

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