We often get asked for distillery news and what day to day life is like at the distillery. During our distillery tours, the questions we get asked the most are about the in’s and out’s of what happens in the distillery, stillroom and warehouse. With that in mind, we have decided to bring you behind the scenes monthly updates from our Distillery and Apothecary Teams.
They will keep us up to date with what they are up to, what the production levels are like and what they have planned for the months ahead. Distilleries are very busy places, even when they seem to be quiet – the whisky is always being worked on!
First up is our Distillery Manager – Gary Haggart.
I thought I would start our first distillery news blog with a year in review, and let you know what we have been up to in the distillery in 2018!
We came back after the festive shutdown to find that the distillery and the process was frozen, it happens! A distillery is either freezing cold or boiling hot. There is probably only 4 weeks of the year where it is actually pleasant.
Still a cold month but we were moving forward and we decided as a team to increase the fermentation time in the washbacks. Originally they were 2 at 72hrs and 2 at 96hrs, but we moved them up to 1 at 96hrs and 3 at 114hrs. This resulted in the wash spirit going from a nose of pear drops to what I can only describe as “Um Bongo”, we got the result we were looking for.
On my birthday I filled the first ever sherry butt at Lindores It is signed, dated and stuck in the corner of the warehouse and if it’s lucky it will see the light of day in either 2032 or 2035!
We were starting to find our stride and producing the spirit we are happy with. We changed the washback volume down to 9600ltr. It is able to take 10,000ltr but we prefer the higher OG’s.
We had a small shut down just to give the place a good clean, get some basic maintenance done and lastly to give the team some time off. The first 4 months had been full on but we had quickly found ourselves hitting volume and quality targets.
Where has all the water gone? The borehole water temperature started to creep up and we were starting to find it harder and harder to cool the wort down and that was leading to poor fermentations, with the condensers running hotter. Again it was a reminder why distilleries use to shut down in the summer for silent season.
The weather outside was incredible, especially for Scotland, but this is not ideal for making whisky! It just kept getting hotter and drier. We went through a hugely popular and exciting time where we were filling casks for private owners during the Summer, and it totally humbled me and overwhelmed us a little bit as to how much people wanted a cask at Lindores!
“the rains have come”
Sounds like we are on the plains of the Serengeti but no Fife was needing rain, and finally we got it. The water temperature started to drop and it made it easier to cool the wort and cool the spirit – thank you!
An amazing month for us as week after week, we kept breaking the production target . When you receive malt from Muntons they tell you that you should be able to get 405-415ltr pure spirit ( 100%) from every ton of malt and that’s exactly what we were doing!
The Spirit was right on point with a full fruity complex, tasty, oily, mouthfeel of a spirit – then we shutdown, but on purpose! The boiler has to get an annual service and an annual inspection and this was its time. It got a clean bill of health and was put on its way again, it really is the heart of the distillery!
We received some top notch malt from Muntons and boy did we deliver, easily our most productive month yet. Also sailing across the Indian ocean was a container full of Australian barrels never seen on our shores before! We also released our New Make Spirit, which flew off the shelves and has received rave reviews.
The last month of the year and we were looking forward to the festivities but not before we filled the last casks of the year, and enjoyed our first anniversary of distilling here at Lindores. Cask 1000 was a first for us and a first for Scotland and the industry – an Australian Wine barrel that held a fine Shiraz red wine from the Connawarra region. The last cask filled was number 1031. We produced 146,000ltr of pure alcohol by year end, which in my mind is a monumental effort by all the team to achieve this – especially in the first 12 months of production at Lindores … Slainte!
To find out more about our distillery, why not come and join us for a Tour?