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Speyside Cooperage

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Speyside Cooperage is 37 miles northeast of Aviemore, 56 miles northwest of Aberdeen, close to the Whisky Towns of Craigellachie, Aberlour, Dufftown, and Rothes.

The Cooperage is open Monday to Friday with Tours every half hour from 9.00am to 15.30pm. Closed at Christmas and New Year for two weeks. Postcode: AB38 9RS.

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The Image top is of the entrance to the Speyside Cooperage with a large Car Park and scenic Gardens.

The Gardens and Cafe have a Barrel theme, with Barrel Seats and Barrel Buildings.

There are two Tours available, one inexpensive at about 45 minutes to view Barrels being Made, Fired, or Repaired from a Gallery.

The VIP Tour lasts about 90 minutes, allowing you to see up close Barrels being Made, and even Having a Go yourself. That Tour also includes Whisky Tasting.

The way Barrels are Made, and what they may have been Used for Before, allows the Distilleries to create their own Unique Whisky.

Many people visiting the Cooperage also visit the Distilleries in the area, such as:

Dewar's in the Village of Craigellachie half of a mile north, but this Distillery does not allow visits just now.

Distilleries for Visits are:

Glenfiddich - 3 miles southeast

Aberlour - 3 miles southwest

Macallan - 3 miles northwest

Glen Grant - 4 miles north

Glenfarclas - 7 miles southwest

Ballindalloch - 10 miles southwest

Cragganmore - 13 miles southwest

Glenlivet - 15 miles southwest

Strathisla - 13 miles northeast

Glen Moray - 15 miles north

Dallas Dhu - 24 miles northwest

Benromach - 26 miles northwest

All Scotland Whisky Distillers that can be visited.

Speyside Cooperage History

1947 - the Speyside Cooperage was founded by the Taylor family in the Village of Craigellachie, growing to become the largest independent Cooperage in the UK, later with branches in Alloa, Kentucky, and Ohio.

1991 - the Speyside Cooperage was moved to its present location, 1 mile south of Craigellachie.

1992 - the Speyside Cooperage Visitor Centre was opened to allow Tourists to view Whisky Barrels being Made and Repaired.

2008 - Speyside Cooperage was bought by Tonnellerie Francois Freres Group, owners of a number of Cooperages and Stave Mills.

2019 - a Macallan 1926 Bottle of Whisky / 60 years old, sold for £1.5m at Auction. Rare Old Whisky like this is now highly collectable, unlikely ever to be drunk.

Many of these Barrels being repaired at the Cooperage are former Oak Bourbon Barrels from the US, or Oak Sherry Barrels from the EU. Along with Firing the inside of these Barrels, adding Flavours, and Length of Time the Whisky is Matured in the Barrels, leads to a vast Range of Whisky, from 3 to 60 years old.

Flavours tend to be such as: Nutty, Peaty, and Vanilla.

Most Scotch Whisky is Blended, either Mixed Batches of Malt Whisky, or Mixed Batches of Malt and Grain Whisky.

Malt Whisky is more expensive, as Malting of the Barley is a time consuming process, Soaking and Drying the Barley a number of times, with that process allowing different strengths of the Malt Flavour to be achieved.

Grain Whisky is less expensive to make, with different types of Grain put straight into the Distilling process, but has Less Taste, so Blending with Malt Whisky gives More Taste at low cost.

Many less expensive Whisky Brands have a low percentage of Malt Whisky, high percentage of Grain Whisky. This Whisky is exceptionally popular for the price, with 3 Year Old Blended about the same price as Standard Vodka.

Debates will always go on about what is the best Whisky, Blend, and what age. Scotch Whisky is said to be at its best after Matured in the Barrel for 20 years, with 20 year old Whisky about 10 times more expensive than a 3 year old.

The least expensive Scotch Whisky is 3 years old Blended, the shortest time Whisky can be matured for, containing a high percentage of Grain Whisky.

The best selling Scotch Whisky is Johnnie Walker, with its inexpensive Red Label, 12 year old Black Label, 15 year old Green Label, and 18 year old Platinum Label.

Johnnie Walker began Blending Whisky in the 1820s in Kilmarnock southwest Scotland, becoming the biggest name in Whisky through his famous Blends.

At that time, you could only Blend Grain with Grain, or Malt with Malt.

1860 - an Act was passed making it legal to Blend Malt and Grain Whisky, leading to a vast number of new Whisky Blends.

Most Whisky is sold diluted with water until it has an alcoholic strength of about 40% abv. Growing in popularity is Cask-Strength Whisky, normally between 50% and 75% abv.

Many Distilleries now allow you to fill a Bottle of your own, straight from a Barrel.

Many of the Malt Whisky Distillers are in the Speyside area of Scotland, with the two vast Scots Grain Distilleries being Cameron Bridge in Fife, and Grants in Ayrshire.

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