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Distillery Changes

Ganga
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 02-06-2019 at 06:56 am

I've been enjoying single malts for a number of years now. I have noticed that over time distillery profiles seem to change.  I believe some of this is my ever changing palate but I also believe there are changes in philosophies and cask variations that come into play.


The best example to me is Ardbeg.  70s dstillates are incredibly laden with creosote.  post 1977 distillates are still oily but different from this; they also seem to have evolved to display a melon character.  Today's Ardbeg I find very dry and smoky.  

Am I one of the few that believes that the distilleries are changing (regardless of statements from the distilleries)?



BenNevis
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 29-06-2019 at 13:28 pm

I think 1 factor is changes in the % of whisky being sold as Malt whisky is a lot higher now. In the past Distilleries most likely kept the best casks for Malt and sent the rest away for blended. Now they have more demand for Malt whisky so have to work with what stock they have. I know quite a few distilleries have had low aged stock lately. 

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Ganga
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 29-06-2019 at 23:10 pm

You are one of many.  Ardbeg is clearly different operations.  Ardbeg used to do their own floor malitings.  My understanding is this ceased in late 1977 or early 1978.  Ardbeg had intermittent produciton through until Glenmo PLC took over in the late 1990s.  I believe much of what they are putting on the shelves is their production now with the exception of old single casks and the Twenty-something bottles.

BenNevis makes a good point about a higher demand for single malt but I also believe that the factors you mention play apart.  

Harvey
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 30-06-2019 at 00:01 am

Once talked about the differences of a modern distillate  vs. the 70's distillate at Bowmore, with an old staff member. He said that the biggest difference is when back in the day the distillate came dripping slowly from the stills vs. now the distillate comes out of the stills almost like from a firehose. 

"I have taken more out of alcohol, than alcohol has taken out of me" Sir Winston Churchill
Ganga
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 30-06-2019 at 01:26 am
Harvey wrote:

Once talked about the differences of a modern distillate  vs. the 70's distillate at Bowmore, with an old staff member. He said that the biggest difference is when back in the day the distillate came dripping slowly from the stills vs. now the distillate comes out of the stills almost like from a firehose. 


Don't get me started on 1982 to 1989 Bowmore!

Harvey
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 30-06-2019 at 02:07 am

I like 'em. I'm very disappointed if i don't find that "soapy lavender" from them. 

That lavender has surprised us at several tastings when we've had lots of Bowmores side by side. Even from bottlings where it shouldn't have existed, and we haven't noticed it before , when tasted individually.

"I have taken more out of alcohol, than alcohol has taken out of me" Sir Winston Churchill
peatbogger
Specialist Specialist
Posted on 30-06-2019 at 04:21 am

BenNevis wrote:

I think 1 factor is changes in the % of whisky being sold as Malt whisky is a lot higher now. In the past Distilleries most likely kept the best casks for Malt and sent the rest away for blended. Now they have more demand for Malt whisky so have to work with what stock they have. I know quite a few distilleries have had low aged stock lately. 

If we're talking back before the -80's I don't think there were any thoughts about keeping the best casks for single malts, because the distilleries were not up to date on the single malt demand outside Scotland/UK. This was catered for at the time by the likes of Samaroli with an exeptional "nose" for quality casks. In the -70's he were allowed to rumage the warehouses of most distilleries and pick and choose casks freely, more or less proving that the distilleries didn't care what they sent of as long as they could sell by the cask.

I even think independent bottlers and blenders were allowed to pick out the best casks, and the distilley bottled what they could not sell. Which in it self is an explanation for the individual caracters that we today value as exeptional.

The blend market has always been and still is 1st priority for most of the larger distilleries, that's where the money is.

I had a tasting at Aberlour two years ago and we got a sample of this:

https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/45630/aberlour-21-year-old

An amazing 21YO sherry cask, best Aberlour I've ever tasted.

All their stock is earmarked for the Chivas Royal Salute, and these bottles only exist as dealer samples of what goes into he blend sad

A few days later I visited Blair Athol, and on the first rack in the warehouse there were the last 3 casks of vintage 1959. The guide told us they had 7 casks the week before, but 4 had just been chosen for a very exclusive blend project. He wouldn't say what, but most likely a limited edition Johnnie Walker for the Asia market.

 

lincolnimp
Connoisseur Connoisseur
Posted on 30-06-2019 at 13:04 pm
Harvey wrote:

I like 'em. I'm very disappointed if i don't find that "soapy lavender" from them. 

That lavender has surprised us at several tastings when we've had lots of Bowmores side by side. Even from bottlings where it shouldn't have existed, and we haven't noticed it before , when tasted individually.


Funny that 80`s distilled Glen Garioch also had notes of lavender is it more than a co incidence that they were owned by Morrison Bowmore, probably used the same maltings etc

Ganga
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 01-07-2019 at 00:42 am
Harvey wrote:

I like 'em. I'm very disappointed if i don't find that "soapy lavender" from them. 

That lavender has surprised us at several tastings when we've had lots of Bowmores side by side. Even from bottlings where it shouldn't have existed, and we haven't noticed it before , when tasted individually.


Funny that 80`s distilled Glen Garioch also had notes of lavender is it more than a co incidence that they were owned by Morrison Bowmore, probably used the same maltings etc


If you have not noticed, the soapy lavender (yes the infamous FWP) character is also present in their third distillery, Auchentoshan.  

peatbogger
Specialist Specialist
Posted on 01-07-2019 at 00:48 am

lincolnimp wrote:

Harvey wrote:

I like 'em. I'm very disappointed if i don't find that "soapy lavender" from them. 

That lavender has surprised us at several tastings when we've had lots of Bowmores side by side. Even from bottlings where it shouldn't have existed, and we haven't noticed it before , when tasted individually.


Funny that 80`s distilled Glen Garioch also had notes of lavender is it more than a co incidence that they were owned by Morrison Bowmore, probably used the same maltings etc


The same old lady cleaning at both places, finding it very convinient with those large copper sinks labeled "wash still" where she could empty her bucket after a day of scrubbing floors.

PineSol

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