The Glenkinchie whisky distillery
Much like the haggis making, we didn’t feel we could leave Scotland without having a quick trip to a whisky distillery.
As we were still in East Lothian, we decided to pop into the Glenkinchie Distillery before heading into Edinburgh (not very rural we know) for the Scottish Countryside Alliance Christmas drinks party.
Established in 1837, Glenkinchie is located in the pretty village of Pencaitland and is the producer of the so-called Edinburgh Malt.
Relatively unknown for many years, it became famous when it was chosen to represent the Scotland Lowlands in Diageo’s Classic Malt collection in 1988 (alongside their other flagship brands, Lagavulin, Cragganmore, Talisker, Oban and Dalwhinnie). The malt is also used in blends such as Haig, Johnny Walker Red and Black Label.
When you arrive, you are invited to take a look round their museum dedicated to malt whisky production while you wait for your tour to begin. In our eyes, the best thing was the large scale model of the distillery that was made in 1924 and runs down an entire wall showing each different stage of production. You then get a tour of the production areas, where you get to see the following processes in action:
The malted barley is milled to make a grist and mixed with hot water in a mash tun so the starch is converted into sugar to make a sugary liquid called wort.
The cooled wort is pumped into washbacks, where yeast is added to feed on the sugars and produce a liquid called wash, which is contains between 8 and 10% alcohol.
The wash is distilled twice in a wash still and then a spirit still to produce a spirit which is about 68% alcohol – this is then collected in a spirit receiver to become whisky.
(Both the malting and maturation processes take place off site.)
After the tour you get given a glass of the Glenkinchie 10yr old and you are allowed to try lots of other whiskies (including the 12yr old malt that has just been launched this year) to compare the flavours – shame we were driving!
For more information about Glenkinchie, and other Scottish distilleries, take a look at the Scotland Whisky website.
– Glenkinchie Distillery Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian EH34 5ET (01875 342004)
– Admission: £5 per person (entitles you to a £5 discount in the shop if you spend over £25), £2.50 for under 18’s but children under 8 yrs are not allowed in the production areas