A stag at Glenfiddich distillery

Warehouse No 1

Just last week I had the opportunity to visit Glenfiddich distillery. Now you may think that being an editor of the world’s most loved whisky blog which is (potentially) read by over 7 billion people globally, that I’d have visited one of the biggest and most well-known and well-loved of all distilleries some time ago. And indeed you’d be right, however that time was in the late 1980’s. I could barely walk, I can barely remember it, and I sure as hell couldn’t form coherent sentences [insert hilariously cliché “aye, can’t take you fucking anywhere” joke here]. I was actually the tender age of several months old and all I have to prove that I was there is a grainy, slightly out of focus photo of baby Tiger with his parents outside warehouse number one. And no, I’m not going to post it up on here.

Fast forward twenty-something years and I find myself in the Highlands with a group of mates from university. The reason: my mate’s stag do. But before you start imagining a bunch of lairy guys dressed as women, consuming every possible liquid in sight and generally offending anyone and everyone within ear shot, I should point out that we all enjoyed a bit of mountain biking and clay pigeon shooting before retiring to our rented castle to enjoy a fine supper and a few drams of fine Scotch Malt Whisky Society whisky. A bit of Risk may have been played and lengthy discussions about politics, history, science and current affairs may have been had. I think I’ve painted the picture enough for you now to know that this was hardly a ‘Geordie Shore’ or ‘The Only Way Is Essex’-esque stag do. But I digress…

Half a dozen of us headed to Glenfiddich in fine spirits (no pun intended) to be greeted by Joan and guided round the distillery. And what a distillery it is. The complex is huge and contains the biggest mash house I’ve ever seen with a whopping 24 washbacks. I could really go to town and describe every step of the tour in painstaking detail or blow your minds with all the ridiculous whisky geekery, but I’ll refrain and just say that if you have the chance to visit Glenfiddich then you definitely must make the effort. I will mention the warehouses though. We were let in to warehouse number one, the oldest of all the warehouses (unsurprisingly) for a good look around and the atmosphere in that place is quite something. After repeatedly saying ‘please’ and accompanying it with a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth look, we were let in to the Solera warehouse which contains the famous Solera Vat. This is a massive marrying tun which is always at least half full to ensure continuity of flavour and is filled with what will become Glenfiddich’s award winning 15yo Solera Reserve. There were quarter casks lying around, two or three ‘Cask of Dreams’ and the marrying tuns for the 18yo. It’s just an incredible place to be.

Finally, Glenfiddich do a ‘bottle-your-own’ whisky which is available only from the distillery (above). A cask sits at the back of the very well equipped distillery shop and, for the very reasonable price of £70, you get to bottle your very own Glenfiddich. The liquid inside this cask is 15yo, is at a cask strength of 55.5% ABV and is a mix of whisky from ex-bourbon, ex-sherry and virgin oak casks. It’s cracking stuff and shows a darker side to Glenfiddich – it’s a bit oakier than the 15yo Solera Reserve, with more tobacco, chocolate and dark fruits with a subtle yet distinctive whiff of smoke. Oh, and the very knowledgeable, pretty blonde girl who served me (if you’re reading this, drop me an email) may also have mentioned something about a 23yo Kininvie single malt being bottled later on this year…

Stay tuned,

Tiger

 

Comments

  1. Having gone past the distillery six times in about 18 hours on the 36 bus last week (the quirks of bus routes, eh?) I was always tempted to drop by Glenfiddich again – if only to visit the excellent cafe. I second your recommendation: it is a site not to be missed by anyone with even a vague interest in whisky.

    To produce whisky on such a scale, but still very much traditionally, is some achievement. The staff are terrific and let’s not forget, it’s all free!

    Congratulations to your pal. Let’s view the harmonious marriage of Glenfiddich in that solera vat as an apt omen.

  2. I agree, the quality of product from this distillery is fantastic – particularly when you consider the volume at which they are producing it at. The distillery itself is exemplary in teaching how to make great liquid yet maintain a familial, cosy feel – and give a tour which communicates that exact sentiment. The intimacy I felt in Warehouse 1 could have been the same intimacy I felt at Kilchoman or Edradour, yet these guys achieve that whilst kicking out the thick end of 10 million litres of spirit per year. Superb.

    I am also very much looking forward to my friend’s wedding in a little over a week’s time, if only to sample the traditional north Italian delicacies with my ladyfriend!

    I expect to see you soon at The Whisky Experience’s ‘Meet The Blenders’ evening at the end of April – perhaps a couple of cheeky cocktails in Bramble afterwards once again?!

  3. Hi, great write up, I’m looking to do the exact same thing for my own stag (castle and all) – may I ask how you organised it all and if there were opportunities to visit other distilleries too?

    Thanks for any feedback you send back, feel free to email me at greg@gdinspires.com

    Best,

    Greg

  4. Good review, really like Glenfiiddich. This may be worth a trip..

    I too am also trying to arrange a similar stag do at the moment – rented castle you say..? Would be grateful for some whisky stag tips and also the name of the castle you guys stayed at if poss?

    Thanks
    Richard

  5. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for your comment, I’ve emailed you some info on this stag do – let me know you get it ok!

    Cheers,

    Tiger

Leave a Reply


Anti-Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree