The third distillery we visited in the 2016 whiskytrip was the Glenturret Distillery just outside Crieff. We had something very special planned and booked at Glenturret so we didn’t want to be late. We were going to do the Blending Experience ánd handfill a bottle after that. Wouldn’t want to miss thát!
After having a very relaxed breakfast at our guesthouse we walk to the city centre of Perth. It’s time to take a short look at some of the stores and have a nice cup of coffee. We then take the bus and ask the driver to warn us when we arrive at Glenturret Distillery. We pass the last busstop in Crieff and then the driver stops at a big sign. We’ve arrived near The Famous Grouse and the Glenturret Distillery. We thank the busdriver and take the walk up the hill towards our destination of the day.
We arrive about 90 minutes before the booked tour will start. We collect our tickets and we have a walk outside the distillery before we enter the distilleryshop. The whole plant breathes The Famous Grouse, the major blended whisky made by The Edrington Group. Together with brands like The Macallan, Glenrothes, North British and Highland Park, Glenturret is used to create this very popular blend.
It’s time to meet our guide and other participants of this tour, oh wait, it’s just Peter and I together with our guide Amy Dalgleish. Amy is a biochemist from Australia but on this tour she’s busy telling us about the biochemistry of whiskymaking. Glenturret turns out to be a very interesting distillery to visit. The mill probably has been in use for about 100 years already. Mashing is done by hand and the fermentingprocess takes up to five days. This is done to let the mash interact with the micro-organisms in the Oregon pine washbacks and by doing so creating more fruity flavors.
The wash is distilled to become the spirit in two stills, a 13000 liter washstill and a 12000 liter spirit still. A total of 340000 liters of pure alcohol are made this way every year but only a small part of it matures to become a Glenturret Single Malt whisky. Most of it goes in to The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark.
We’re invited to follow Amy to the warehouse to taste some of the whiskies. First we try the 10yo, followed by the Triple Wood. The first is light and fruity, the second has some more sherry influence which makes it a bit more powerfull. A quite nice dram this is! Third in line is the whisky we’ll handfill a bottle from ourselves. Nice and powerfull at caskstrength! It should have been fourth in line though. Now we had Fly’s 16 Masters Edition last. Nice and full of taste as well but a bit overpowered by the handfill cask we tasted a bit earlier.
Now that we’re all warmed up it’s time to test our own blending skills. We start by testing our nosing skills. A set of ten aroma samples is displayed to test us and to help us understand the scent of the whisky. Some of the samples were easy but some others were very hard to guess. Educating stuff! Next step is blind tasting a dram of whisky to try to determine the Edrington brand. We both get the correct answer just by nosing and tasting it. Meanwhile Global Brand Ambassador Lucy Armstrong walks in to have a chat with us.
Time to become a blender! Six bottles of whisky are displayed only using the terms Grain, Spicy / Resinous, Citrus / Fruity, Vanilla / Creamy, Fragrant and Medium Peat. The blending starts by mixing a few ml’s of the different whiskytypes, then a small sniff and taste followed by some adjustments in the recipe. We repeat these steps untill we both have 100ml of our very own blend and a Master Blender’s certificate.
We go back to the shop to handfill the Gerard Butler single cask. and then it’s time to head back to Perth. This was a great experience, well hosted by our guide Amy.