My Scotch experience in Edinburgh
10am: Spent the morning at the Glenkinchie distillery with Dr. Nicholas Morgan is Head of Whisky Outreach at Diageo.
2pm: Cambus Cooperage(The guys who make casks for Diageo). By Scottish law, all Scotch Whisky must be matured in oak casks in Scotland, this maturation is required for the flavour profile. The ancient craft of cask-making aka coopering is vital to the industry’s success and to the global reputation of all Scotch Whisky.
4pm: Visited Abercrombie and co! The guys who make the copper pot stills in which whisky is distilled. Most people remember their first sight of a Scotch Whisky stillroom, dominated by the majestic copper pot stills. A visit to Abercrombie’s in Alloa is equally memorable. Copper has been used for centuries for the distillation of whisky and indeed for other spirits. It conducts heat efficiently (whether in the stills or in the condensing part of the operation); it is relatively durable and easy to clean. In skilled hands, it can be worked into the desired shape by forming, hammering and welding. Copper’s chief virtue for distillers. Depending on the flavour profile called for by the blenders, some such compounds are indeed considered to be essential to the final character of the new make spirit and, in due course, to the matured spirit after the necessary period in oak casks.
5Pm: I went through a whisky blending session with the master blender of Diageo, Maureen at the Whisky technical Center in Scotland. Scotch is undoubtedly the world’s favourite whisky — and over 90% of Scotch is blended Scotch Whisky. Blending is a search for balance through complexity, using “building blocks” of flavour, married together, to create a more finished, pleasing and consistent product. It is not unique to whisky, of course. Many great wines and perfumes are successful blends.\