ABERLOUR is a registered trademark by Chivas Bros. > Pernod Ricard, France
Production at Aberlour
Marketing says: Aberlour use water from the St Drostan’s Well which is located on the grounds.
More real: several springs on the nearby Ben Rinnes are the water source.
The water that falls on the mountain Ben Rinnes is filtered through layers of peat before it reaches the well.
Since the mountain is made mostly of granite very few minerals are picked up during the process which explains why the water is
so soft. The water is neutral with a pH level of 7.
The cooling water is taken from the river Spey which runs close by.
The water temperature is continually monitored before it is released back into the river in order to avoid any unwanted effects on the environment.
The barley is bought from central malting companies and is slightly peated to less than 3 ppm. Aberlour buys 90 percent of their
barley in Scotland.
The mash tun is made from stainless steel and holds 12 tons.
The six wooden washbacks each hold 70 000 litres.
After the washbacks have been filled with the wort drawn from the mash tun eight 25-kilo bags of yeast are added to each washback.
After the 48 hour fermentation process
the wash has reached an alcohol level of approximately 8.5 percent.
The onion-shaped wash stills are heated with internal steam coils.
Each wash still holds 21,310 litres of wash.
The Low Wine that is the result of the first distillation has an alcohol content of 18 percent.
The two slightly smaller spirit stills are also steam-heated.
The Aberlour spirit stills start producing the ‘Heart of the run’ (the raw spirit that will be used for whisky) after about twenty minutes.
The Heart flows for approximately two hours and produces an average alcohol content of 70 percent.
The raw spirit is cut down with water to 63.5 percent before it is filled into bourbon and sherry casks.
The whisky is stored on site in six warehouses with a total capacity of 25 000 casks.
Bottling is done in Killwinning, Ayrshire.
The annual output of the Aberlour Distillery is 3 million litres.
Introduction to the Aberlour Production Process
Introduction to the Production Process
At the distillery, nature, tradition and local craftsmanship combine to create a great malt whisky -
the spirit of Aberlour.
Malting imitates the natural process of germination. The barley is soaked in water for a couple of days, drained and then turned regularly to ensure even growth.
About a week later, the sugar levels are at their highest and ready to be dried above a kiln.
Hot air and smoke are passed through the malted barley for a couple of days until it is dry. If peat is used as fuel, the malted barley will absorb its smoky flavour. At Aberlour we use very lightly peated malted barley.
Process time: Up to 2 weeks
Next the malted barley is ground in the mill to make ‘grist’ which contains a mixture of husk, grits and flour.
Process time: 3 hours
In the mash tun the ground malted barley is mixed with heated spring water to make a sweet, sugary liquid called wort.
Process time: 9 hours
The sugary liquid is transferred to one of the washbacks where yeast is added to make it ferment. Fermentation is the natural process that converts the sugar to alcohol. After about two days, fermentation is complete and we have a strong beer-like liquid.
Process time: 48 hours
The liquid is distilled twice in copper pot stills to concentrate the alcohol.
Each pot still has a unique shape that will impart specific flavours to the new spirit. Aberlour copper stills are broad at the base to expose heat to the maximum surface. They rise like a swan’s neck to capture only the best, heavier and peatier vapours.
When the condensed liquid passes through the spirit safe after the second distillation, it is divided into three fractions: ‘Heads’, ‘Heart’ and ‘Tails’. Only the middle fraction of the distillation, the ‘Heart’, is kept to mature as Aberlour single malt Scotch whisky.
Process time: 8 hours
The ‘Heart’ is filled into casks and left to mature in warehouses for a minimum of ten years.
The best quality oak casks are selected. A mix of rare, expensive ex-sherry butts and ex-bourbon casks are used for maturation to ensure a perfect balance of flavours.
The final ingredient is the atmosphere at Aberlour. The soft, Scottish air permeates our casks and works on the whisky to create its smooth, perfectly rounded taste.
- Double Casking
It is during the maturation process that the developing whisky takes on its individual characteristics. Much of this depends on the length of time the whisky is allowed to mature and the type of casks used.
Most Aberlour single malts are double cask matured. The whisky is matured separately in specially selected ex-bourbon casks and ex-sherry butts. When it has come to age, the whisky from the two sets of casks is brought together for the first time and the different flavours and textures are subtly merged.