When people talk about Glen moray we mostly think about the “classic” which is one of those malts that is usually found at a bargain price in just about every supermarket and whisky shop, a very easy drinking malt that is exactly what it says on the tin. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t go any further that that and that is a big mistake..
While up in speyside I took the opportunity to visit the distillery in order to see just what gems this distillery was hiding.. The distillery is well hidden by the surrounding houses, it seems to be slap bang in the middle of town, but once you find it you realise it isn’t your little quaint distillery but a large well kept distillery. First stop was the visitor centre and coffee shop, this was very clean and the coffee shop was busy with what seemed like locals popping in for a coffee and cake ( this shows how good it was ) .. I was then greeted by Iain, this is the chap I have being talking with and who has kindly let me sample and review some products. Iain explained that the distillery had just gone through quite s large upgrade and is now running at around 6million ltrs capacity per year.. As we entered the distillery it became apparent it was producing peated malt, this usually happens once each year and is normally done at the end of the year or the beginning, but as the upgrade had been underway this was put off until now, the scent of peat was everywhere, not overpowering but you certainly knew it was there.. The peat levels run to 50 ppm so it is not a whimpering malt.
As we walked round I was shown what is now the new production area, new mash tun and new stills, which at the time of the visit were being looked after by George, a long serving employee of 39 years.. The big difference I noticed was the wash backs or lack of them, these were actually located outside and are tanks rather that what we normally expect to see.. I was told the fermantation was around 50-52 hours. Iain also explained the old stills and wash backs were still usable and as he showed me round the older equipment, it was obvious the old stills were still in use.
As we exited the still room and made our way to one of the dunnage warehouses Iain was explaining to me about all the markets Glen moray and Glen moray peated were now selling in, he explained how the peated version had really taken off and how some markets had come to them rather than the other way round. Once in the warehouse I was treated to two drams straight from the cask, both were 1988 vintages, one was a Madeira cask and the other a tawny port cask, both were finishes and both were cask strength.. My thoughts on both was .. WOW… A review will be done on both soon. We then headed into the visitor centre to taste even more whisky, here we tried 4 more expressions, the 16 which will be phased out and re-placed with a 15yo which will be 50/50 sherry-bourbon and an 18yo which will be all bourbon and bottled at 47% and NCF, ( fantastic news) a 25yo, the lairch and a 1994 peated expression, all fantastic drams and all very easy to drink.. This was a great distillery to visit and some great whisky to sample.
My my thanks go out to Iain for his time and generosity. He is a very knowledgeable guy that is really enthusiastic and makes you feel very welcome..