Team Contini on tour to Glengoyne
26 July 2016
Nestled into the beautiful Scottish countryside in Dumgoyne, just north of Glasgow, is the long running Glengoyne Distillery. Located on the Highland Line, the division between the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, in whisky terms, the stills are in the Highlands, while the maturing casks are housed across the road in the Lowlands. Like many stills in Scotland, Glengoyne started out as an illicit operation inside a farmstead, but became a legal distillery in 1833. It was at the heart of defining whisky making as we know it today, now producing over one million litres of pure spirit every year.
A group from Contini visited Glengoyne on 11th July. Since we’ve been working with Glengoyne to open our new Cannonball Bar, we decided it was only right we visited them to immerse ourselves in the whisky world.
On our arrival we were met by our lovely tour guide Kathy, and Ian MacLeod’s UK Sales manager Alan Wardrop – like proper VIP’s! Before being welcomed into the main reception, our guides showed us around the area. Behind the main reception building is a tower of trees, plants, flowers and even lovely little mushrooms which I was itching to pick – maybe a nice site for my next foraging trip!
The surroundings are simply breathtaking. A lush waterfall tumbles down from high above you, meeting little run-offs from all over the hills. The water then flows into a little pond, which used to hold the distillery’s main water supply. While it no longer produces enough water to sustain them, the sight of it there is still a pure joy.
When they eventually managed to pry us away from the waterfall, they took us into the main reception building. After a short introductory film, we were handed a cheeky dram of a light golden, delicious 12 Year Old. Glasses in hand, we followed Alan onto a balcony, which gifted us another spectacular view of that glorious waterfall. Everything looks better with a whisky in hand!
The tour continued through the distillery buildings as we discovered the workings of making whisky – using the slowest distillation process – “never hurried” – as they tell us.
We met the master distiller, Duncan, who has been making Glengoyne for over 40 years – one of the many people putting their heart and soul in each bottle. After the tour, Alan snuck us into a little hidden gem. Beautiful casks under lock and key – set in their bonded warehouses – and well-organised bottles displaying the change in colour during the ageing progress, and the angel’s share of the liquid lost to the air over time. What a brilliant way to show us the different stages of maturation – it was awe-inspiring!
Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, we were treated to lunch in an adorable little cottage – originally the Master Distiller’s house – complete with a taste of their 15 and 18 Year Old malts. We rounded off our tour in the whisky shop with the delightful tale and a taste of the scrumptious limited edition Teapot Dram and, my personal favourite, the rich, utterly delicious 25 year old. We were well and truly spoiled!