Whisky Magazine Issue 38
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Scottish whisky and Spanish sherry have long had a special relationship. But as the pursuit of better quality intensifies, the link is becoming stronger. Dominic Roskrow reports
We're standing in a large outbuilding that is part farmyard barn and part concrete warehouse. It's gloomy inside. High up in the walls small square windows allow streams of sunlight to pierce the semi-darkness like spotlights. But they serve only to highlight the wood dust and
smoke that pollutes the air and invades every pore.
In the semi-darkness men are working; lots of them, and the noise of metal on metal and wood on concrete is deafening. With the exception of small pieces of machinery it's a scene that has probably changed little in hundreds of years; a dirty, labour-intensive one.
Within seconds our throats and noses are sore with the dust, and are heads are humming with the hammering. This could quite easily be described as many people's idea of hell.
And hell is as good a description as you'll find for the far back corner of this place. It's hot here, and flames leap out from the floor.
Aman, bathed in sweat and dirt, half ape and half troll, is prowling around the fire, his arms wrapped around a barrel.
Occasionally he looks up, his fierce eyes flashing blue in the gloom. They call him El Diablo, with good reason, and he spends his day placing casks over the flames and then pouring water from a bull's horn to make the fire flare.
We stand transfixed, oblivious to the dirt and noise around us. It's not repulsion that we're experiencing here, it's excitement.
For we all know that in this mass of mire and mayhem, magic's being made.
We're in Jerez to see just...