A blog by Judith:
I have visited many distilleries in Scotland but Glen Garioch in Aberdeenshire is my favourite and that is because it is a small distillery and also because it is set in the small delightful market town of Oldmeldrum right in the heart of the best barley-growing area in Scotland, surrounded by farms which have been in the same family for generations.
Another thing that I like about Glen Garioch (pronunciation: Geery) is that the staff are local, speaking the Doric, the accent of farming folk in the North East, and because there is a rich sense of history in its compact granite buildings. Glen Garioch was founded in 1797 and is one of the oldest in Scotland; you can read more about its history here: https://www.glengarioch.com/eventful-past
The groups on the tour are small, and the tour is taken at a relaxed pace, time enough to ask questions so that you can fully appreciate the intricacies of the distillation process; the last time I went, the head blender stopped working to talk with us and explained what his role was and how even though the process may now be controlled by computer, it is only the blender who can ensure that the whisky is just as it should be; each malt tastes different – it is a combination of the barley, the water, and the kind of cask the whisky is matured in.
Finally we went into the building where the casks were stored, with the whisky maturing slowly, little by little each day until it is finally ready to be enjoyed by whisky-lovers. Each cask loses a little of its whisky to evaporation over the years (“The angels’ take their share”), but no angels were around on my last visit.
Again and again I’m looking forward to the actual tasting in the cosy visitor centre at the end of the tour. The explanations of the staff always give me a new insight into the taste of the malt, the history of whisky-making and how important a part it plays in the enjoyment of people all over the world. Next to Nessy and the Highlands themselves, whisky could very well be Scotland’s best export.
If you want to visit a distillery on your next tour of Scotland, I would recommend Glen Garioch because it is a special experience, one to savour, just as you will savour their malt.