GLENKINCHIE’S NEW STILL MAKES A DRAMATIC ENTRANCE
A new copper still was yesterday carefully lowered through the roof of Glenkinchie Distillery in East Lothian. The still took coppersmiths at Alloa six weeks to make and is an exact replica of its predecessor at Glenkinchie Distillery which produces the famous Edinburgh Malt and welcomes 30,000 visitors a year.
Glenkinchie’s parent company, Diageo, is the only Scotch whisky company to have its own coppersmith operation and closely monitors the condition of the stills at each of its 27 malt distilleries. Copper stills typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years depending on the process and type of spirit made in them.
The craftsmanship behind the creation of the stills is akin to sculpture work, according to Charles King, Operations Manager of Diageo’s Abercrombie coppersmiths. Mr King, who heads up 25 coppersmiths including six apprentices, said his team take huge pride in what they do.
“Copper is very malleable and what we do is more like art than metalwork or engineering. The stills play a very important role in the flavour of our whisky and we put a great deal of time and effort into ensuring every replacement still is as near identical to its predecessor as possible. Even tiny changes in the angle of the lye pipe through which the vaporised spirit leaves the still can impact on flavour,” Mr King said.