Lindores Abbey Distillery

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So here we are again – Firstly, we have taken five loads of our private casks back in to store on our new racking. This has delighted Elliot, our Cask Custodian, as he is able to cast his eye over them and make sure they are in tip-top condition. However, due to the randomness of the casks, “clocking” is now that little more difficult – but fun – it’s always great to see all these variations of casks coming back in.

And, ‘What is clocking, you ask?’ Simple answer: ‘It is what position we put the bung hole at when it is on the Forklift forks so that when we roll it off the forks and down the racking the cask will stop in a position that the bung is approximately at 12 o’clock ( at the top ) if you are putting on the same size of casks each cask normally moves by 4 hrs, so if the first cask is put on at 6 o’clock then then next one is 2 o’clock and the next is 10 o’clock, the pattern then repeats, it’s a little bit of an art but we all try and work to it.’

The Distillery

Toro Albala
The first of the Pedro Ximenez casks from Toro Albalá is seen here being filled by Martin Johnson, father of co-founder Helen McKenzie Smith, who is the same age as the 1937 cask.

Casks Filling

Sticking with casks, we have received something rather special: Montilla Butts that have been selected by Bodegas Toro Albala from their Solera of DON PX. These casks certainly tested our skills! They took the patience of a saint, the diplomacy of Kofi Annan, the handling of a new-born baby, the skill of a craftsperson and the determination of a cross Atlantic rower, to make them able to be filled and then racked back. I will be honest: I cursed them for about two weeks solid. Then a wise man reminded me:

‘These are the nuggets of casks that make the exceptional whiskies. These are the casks that produce whisky that people talk about, keep, savour, and remember!’

A Wise Man

The wise man is correct. With his words and wisdom still ringing in my head I have embraced them… well, it’s probably more a love/hate thing. But it’s up to the team and me to make sure that these casks get the chance they deserve. After all, some of them are over a hundred years old, and have lived through a time most of us have ever only read about; they truly are unique!

If you would like to find out more about our cask scheme contact Elliot on casks@lindoresabbeydistillery.com

In the distillery, it’s business as usual. But hopefully in the next Ragged Staff we can talk about the run of Falkland Estate Organic Malt which we have run through the distillery. We have been working towards getting the Organic Organisation certification approved – this has not been an easy journey but we just have a remote final inspection, and are confident we will receive it.

Our newest member of the distillery team, Charles is now officially an apprentice Spirit Operator, well done Charles! I look forward to supporting you on the journey. I am a huge advocate of apprenticeships, especially as I started mine thirty years ago – still not sure where that time went!

For all the cask enthusiasts out there the distillery team have been busy preparing the cask disgorging trough in preparation for the first casks at Lindores to be disgorged and emptied for the 1494 bottling, and then working on the disgorging itself!

If your wondering why this cask is upside down its because it’s the first cask ever to be disgorged for bottling at Lindores in a lot of years!

Colin has been doing some further training and sitting exams – the joys of running a cooling tower! Lewis continues to ask questions every day that make me think about the distillery and the process, he is always looking for ways to make the process better to improve the quality, the efficiency, or the yield. Never stop asking questions Lewis!

Lastly, Katie has come into the office to help with Sales Admin and grasp everything to do with the logistics of Export, which currently under Brexit is a total minefield.

Between us, however, we seem to be getting there, and with the release of our first whisky around the corner, it is a great time to be a distillery manager!

Gary Haggart
Distillery Manager


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