Home To Glenfiddich: Part 7

18 May 2014

A Family Tree

by Joel Harrison

As a writer, I am enthralled by narrative. The journey for any reader should be one of discovery, of adventure and of learning.

Over the past two months, I have been on a journey of discovery to see exactly how the whisky in a bottle of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch is produced. Parts of this journey I have been on before, but looking at the individual aspect of exactly how a cask is produced, from the branch to the barrel has been an utterly beguiling experience.

Casks on their way to Dufftown

I have seen a lumberjack hand-pick an oak tree, carefully chosen after decades of growth; his removal technique showing respect for the surrounding flora and fauna, while protecting other trees for future generations.

I witnessed his spoils being turned into staves and the craftsmanship of the Coopers in Kentucky as they turned the precious wood into barrels. After a period of maturation in the heat and humidity of America’s central states, these barrels are lovingly re-toasted, marking the start of the journey to Scotland.

Many decades after the acorn fell in the forest, I watched as the Coopers at Glenfiddich repaired and restored the barrels, ensuring they are ready to mature Scotch whisky.

This process is not a fast one, but slow and deliberate. And one that the same family has been involved in at Glenfiddich since 1887, ensuring the highest quality maturation conditions for their precious spirit to develop into whisky.

Charring Casks at Kelvin Cooperage

It is a journey of over 5,000 miles, but much more than that, it is a journey of family bonds and relationships. It’s a compilation of short stories, each with their own characters, but all with a humble oak cask at the centre.

This collection of short stories is distilled into each and every bottle of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky. A story that started with one man, William Grant, over a hundred years ago and continues to this day with the same family, the same attention to detail and the same enthusiasm.

Glencairn glass in Warehouse 8

To start this journey again, read A Journey Begins