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Issue 89 - Having it large

Whisky Magazine Issue 89
July 2010

 

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Having it large

One of the world's biggest just got bigger. Liza Weisstuch reports on the Glenlivet expansion.

As the plates were cleared after a hearty lunch in a malt barnturned- banquet-hall, the word started buzzing amidst the clamour: Prince Charles was running late. It was an unusually sunny, warm day in early June, and a crowd of industry execs and VIPs along with media from throughout Europe, the United States, Asia and Scandinavia had spent the morning milling about the verdant grounds of The Glenlivet Distillery, a veritable institution that sits as assuredly as the nearby River Spey in placid Speyside. The lively throng wandered in and out of a sepia-tinged aging warehouse where Glenlivet 1979 was delivered straight to the glass from the cask.

The sprawling Minmore Farm property, with its picture-perfect rolling hills and scattered buildings, is about a half mile where The Glenlivet's founder George Smith settled when he acquired his distilling licence in 1824, thus making his distillery the pioneering legal whisky making facility in the area, which was dotted with illegal stills run by farmers. In 1859, he moved the distillery from its original location down the hill about a half mile, and the property remains the source of the iconic whisky today. The site appears to be preserved in the lush, pristine condition that Smith first laid eyes upon, complete with unobstructed views of the Livet Valley and the Ben Rinnes mountain, but the fact is that a great deal has changed. The gathering on that fourth day of June marked a tremendous milestone that signifies how Glenlivet, a...

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