Whisky Magazine Issue 42
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Girvan isn't your normal run of the … er… mill distillery. Ian Buxton paid it a visit
Here's a curiosity. This article celebrates a distillery you've probably never heard of; whose whisky you've never consciously drunk and which you can't visit. It's a mere 40 years old, located in a region without any recognised distilling tradition and it's very proud of the precision of its computer control systems.
However, it's also a critical element in the worldwide success story of Scotch whisky and one of the keys to the survival and prosperity of one of the industry's most ruggedly independent family concerns.
This issue we're at William Grant & Sons grain distillery at Girvan in Ayrshire, just down the coast from that shrine to golf, Turnberry.
Every whisky lover should experience a grain distillery at least once in their lives.
It's essential to understanding the modern industry and a very worthwhile and interesting way to spend some time to boot.
Without grain whisky Scotch would never have captured world markets from the middle of the 19th century and, without that, it's very doubtful indeed if the wide variety of single malts we enjoy so keenly today would have ever survived this far.
So we owe the grain distillers several votes of thanks, not least for their vital contribution to blending and the many subtle and beguiling drams conjured up by the magic of the blender's alchemy.
But where does Girvan fit into all this, and why is it located so far from Grants' traditional home on Speyside? After all, this company's practice has been to group its...