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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

The Glenlivet, Speyside, Scotland

If Glenfiddich is now the heavyweight champion of Speyside and in many ways the father of the modern industry, then The Glenlivet certainly deserves an honorable mention and perhaps should be considered the grandfather.  When the 1823 Excise Act was passed one of the first to apply for a license was George Smith of Glenlivet, and in 1824 The Glenlivet was born.   It was such a popular and presumably good whisky that soon many regional distillers were using the name Glenlivet on their whisky as a sign of quality.  So many whiskies in fact claimed to be Glenlivet that it became known as the longest glen in Scotland.   In the end it went to court in 1880 (when Glenfiddich was still a twinkle in the eye of William Grant) but it only resulted in a partial victory for the Smith family, and some whiskies continued to use the name in part, and today you can still see old bottles or marketing material that refer to "Craigellachie-Glenlivet" and other similar hyphenated names.  Anyway this is one of the "must visit" distilleries, considering it is the third most popular single malt in the world, and one of the increasingly few that still offers free tours and samples (at least they did in April 2010).  They have a great visitor center, which was rebuilt in 2009, with a cafĂ©, shop and nice tastings including their 12 and 18 year old expressions and the 100% bourbon cask matured Nadurra.  

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GlenDronach, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

GlenDronach, Aberdeenshire, Scotland I visited the GlenDronach distillery with my father in October 2009 and unfortunately their visitors center was closed due to flooding, so they waived the usual $5 charge for tours.  The tour included their old floor maltings (though they no longer use them) and an explaination of their rather complicated history, which includes yet another Grant family and William Teacher and Sons that of course produces the Teacher's Highland Cream blend.  The most recent chapter was the acquisition by the same company that owns the Ben Riach distillery and the distillery shop carried malts from both distilleries.  Unlike nearly all distilleries today, GlenDronach matures it's whisky exclusively in sherry casks (no bourbon casks here).  At the end of the tour we tasted the 12 year old Original and I bought a bottle of the 15 year old Revival. 
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