|Speyburn Distillery in the Glen of Rothes, Gibbet Brae rising above|
The distillery is not open to the general public but I was delighted to be offered a tour with the Distillery Manager Bobby Anderson. There are unique elements to this distillery that make it an important part of
The distillery was founded in 1897 by John Hopkins and Co. who had also owned Tobermory Distillery since 1890 and up until both were sold to DCL in 1916. They were very keen to distil their first whisky in 1897 to mark Queen
|Speyburn in a narrow Glen - photo of a photo hanging in the distillery office|
|Pneumatic malt germination drum|
|Speyburn's six malting drums|
|Speyburn malting and kiln|
|Speyburn semi-lauter tun|
There are six washbacks all made from Douglas fir and each one takes 25,000 litres of wort for a relatively short 48 hour fermentation. The wash still is steam pan heated and has a capacity of 17,297 litres, the contents of one washback being split into two charges of 12,500 litres each. The steam coil heated spirit still has a capacity of 13,160 litres and takes an 11,000 litre charge for a fairly long distillation time totalling 6-7 hours. The lyne arms on the stills are almost horizontal to catch a lighter spirit at this stage which is then condensed in two tall worm tubs that are now made of steel and which each contain over 100m of coiled pipe.
|Speyburn spirit (left) and wash stills|
|Double level dunnage warehouses|
The PureeAnother important place on the north side of Rothes, near the turning for the road leading to Speyburn, is a dark grains animal feed manufactory owned by the Combination of Rothes Distillers Ltd (CoRD). This site was first used as early as 1904 to purify pot ale into a fertilizer called Maltassa and this gave rise to a fond local name for the plant – The Puree. A more recent abbreviation has been The Combi. I love the treacly, roast malt aromas that you get around these places.
The pot ale from the Rothes distilleries was and still is piped underground direct to the plant; before 1904 it was discharged into the burns feeding the Spey and I’m not sure if the salmon would enjoy that or not (Bradan Leann for Beer Salmon?). By the 1960s there was also excess draff being produced in the town and a new plant was built on the site in 1970 to produce dark grains animal feed from a combination of evaporated pot ale and draff. A second plant was built later in the 70s to expand production to include supplies from other distilleries in Speyside. The buildings are just gnarly industrial sheds so you can have a picture of some cute cows instead:
|Inquisitive cattle above Speyburn - but are they 'happy cattle' fed on pot ale?|
Information on The Puree is from the local newspaper The Rothesian.