In 1886 William Grant set out to fulfil his life long dream, and by 1887 he built his distillery in a year and was rewarded on Christmas day with the first ever drop of Glenfiddich.
Glenfiddich use the finest malt from specialist maltsters. They pick ripe barley; and steep it in water for two days, which starts the conversion of natural starch into sugar. The resulting malt is dried over fire and delivered to the distillery as malt barley. The Malt barley is brought to the mash house and ground into grist, this is then added to heated pure Robbie dhu spring water from the near by Conval hills and then poured into giant mash tuns. Here giant mashing knifes turn and mash to ensure good sugar drainage. The mashing process takes six hours to convert starch to sugar and then wort which is a sweet liquid. Yeast is the added to the wort as it is pumped from the cooler into the taditional wooden fermentation vessels, the washbacks. After 64 hours of fermentation, the boiling liquid subsides, leaving a brown liquid called the wash.
The distillation process takes place in the still house were the wash is distilled in copper pots. The copper pots are then heated with a naked flame until the wash is turned into vapour. The vapour rises through a narrow funnel and is directed downwards and through a water cooled condenser.
The vaporised alcohol is drawn off and condensed as before and then trickles down into the imposing, gleaming brass and glass. Now the stillman can monitor the distillation process. Only the fine middle cut of the distillation is retained for maturation.
The new spirit is reduced to around 63% alcohol by adding water from the local spring. The spirit is then poured into the hand made oak casks for maturation. The casks are second hand either from Spain and contained sherry or bourbon barrels from America. By using second hand, high quality casks it mean the casks are already mellowed which allows the scotch to breath, soften and absorb a pale golden colour. Sometime they will char the inside wood so that the spirit can interact with the wood easier.
The ensure the flavour of Glenfiddich is the same in every bottle, they marry their whisky in oak barrels that holds 30 casks. The marrying process takes up to 9month to secure that each bottle of Glenfiddich taste the same. When the Whisky has matured enough the casks are emptied and the whiskies are cut with Robbie Dhu spring water. This reduces the alcohol to around 40% and therefore making it ready for the Glenfiddich name.
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