Our Distillery

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    Our Craft

    Malted barley, fresh local spring water and yeast are used to make our whisky. We also rely heavily on one essential ingredient - time. Our award-winning malt is testament to our craftsmanship and the artisan approach we use, passed down through generations.

    Springs at the moorans

    The essential supply of pure water for distilling depends on Glencadam's long-held rights to springs at The Moorans, some 8.7 miles away and perhaps the longest water supply for distilling purposes of any Scottish distillery. This precious resource then flows through the Unthank hills on its way to the distillery. The distillery also has rights to draw water from Barry Burn for cooling purposes.

    Pure Ingredients

    The best malted barley, pure Highland spring water and yeast are the only three ingredients in Glencadam Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

    Before barley can be used to make Glencadam it must be malted. This is a process used to turn the starch in the barley into sugars. The barley is soaked in water then left for a couple of days to germinate. Just as the first signs of sprouting appear, the barley is heated until dry to halt the grain from germinating any further.

    Traditionally, the fires used to dry the barley were fuelled by peat. Peat is a source of fuel dug out of the land and then dried before it can be burned. If left for centuries it would eventually turn to coal. Peat imparts a smokiness onto the barely, which is found in the flavour and aroma of the final spirit.

    Glencadam does not use any peated barley and as a result our whisky has a creamy and pure yet complex taste and character.

    Malted barley is then ground down in our original Victorian mill, until it becomes coarse flour called “grist”.

    Mashing

    We mix “grist” with hot water in large containers called “mash tuns”. This forms a porridge-like mixture, which we churn. A sweet liquid is then drained off from the grist and water mixture which we call “wort”. We add a second batch of water, and again the wort is drained off. This second, weaker run of wort is added to the first water in the next batch of grist. This whole mashing process takes us around 8 hours.

    The essential supply of pure spring water we use for distilling Glencadam's travels from springs at The Moorans, some 8.7 miles away, flowing through the hamlet of Unthank to reach the distillery. It is perhaps the longest water supply for distilling purposes of any Scottish distillery.

    Fermentation

    We transfer the wort into large, deep containers called “wash backs”, where it is cooled to around 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius) before yeast can be added. The temperature must be lowered so that the yeast, a microscopic living organism, survives to turn the sugar in the liquid in to alcohol. This process is called fermentation. Carbon dioxide is also produced, which creates a large quantity of foam that bubbles up to the top of the wash back. Blades called switchers spin round the top of the wash back to cut through the foam and keep it from over-flowing. The yeast also produces heat, causing the temperature of the liquid to rise from approximately 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius). The alcoholic liquid produced is now referred to as “wash”, and it is very similar in taste to beer, without the added hops. Our fermentation process takes around 48 hours.

    Distillation

    The wash is removed from the wash backs and is transported to a large copper vessel called a pot still, where it is heated. The liquid is heated until the alcohol, which evaporates at a lower temperature to water, forms a vapour which travels up a swan-like chimney called a “lye pipe”. It’s then collected and condensed back into a liquid.

    Traditionally, the pot stills in Glencadam were heated with coal fires, which were smoky and dirty, and had to be refuelled by hand. We now use steam to control the temperature of our stills. Glencadam has operated just two pot stills since we began in 1825. The shape of the stills at Glencadam plays a big role in shaping the final character of our spirit. An unusual feature in the industry is that our lyne pipes run upwards at an angle of 15 degrees, rather than downwards. This helps to produce a particularly delicate and mellow spirit.

    The wash goes through two cycles of distillation, first in the wash still and secondly in the slightly smaller spirit still. All our metalwork is made from cooper, which helps to increase to purity of our spirit. After the first distillation, the alcohol content is around 23% ABV and is referred to as “low wines”. After a second distillation in the spirit still, the alcohol content is between 65 – 75% ABV and is called “new make”.

    The Finest Cut

    Once distillation is complete, the clear new make spirit comes off the spirit still and is collected in the “low wines feints receiver”.

    This is within the “spirit safe” and is used to select which part of the spirit to put into casks for maturation. The spirit is now under the subject to tax under Her Majesty’s Customs and Exercise and is kept under lock and key. Only the best “cut” of the spirit is used, with the first and the last cut returned to the still and to the next batch for distillation.

    The middle cut is collected in the spirit receiver to be put into casks. The first and last parts of the spirit, called the fore shots and feints, are not pure enough to meet the high standard of quality required to make Glencadam Single Malt Whisky. The use of a spirit safe by distilleries dates back to the introduction of the Excise Act of 1823.

    Glencadam Distillery is capable of producing around 1.4 million litres of spirit per year, and we have a storage capacity of approximately 24,000 casks. This is a relatively small output for a distillery. Very few changes have been made since 1825, as we focus on craftsmanship and quality rather than quantity.

    The Long Wait

    New make spirit is filled into oak casks, and, by law, must be left for a minimum of three years if it is to be called Scotch Whisky. Each of our casks has been made traditionally - held together by the metal hoops and skilful craftsmanship. The insides of new casks are charred with fire to release the flavour compounds in the wood. The carbon on the inside of the cask filters purifies the spirit.

    Oak is the only type of wood used for its porous, flexible and breathable qualities. As the spirit sits in casks, it takes in the flavour from the different layers of the wood.

    The oak cask used for maturation is permeable, so as the spirit sleeps and times ticks by it will inevitably evaporate. This amounts to about 2% of the alcohol in the cask per year. We refer to this fragrant vapour as the “the angels share”. The surrounding environment, temperature and humidity, affects maturation and plays a role in determining the overall character of the malt.

    Age Statements

    The age statement on the labels of all our whiskies must represent the youngest whisky that is in the bottle. Some of the casks that have been mixed together to make a batch may be older than the age on the label but they cannot be younger.

    Older whiskies have matured for longer in oak casks, which allows for a different range of flavours to develop. Older whiskies are more expensive to produce, as evaporation means they are constantly diminishing, and in turn are usually more expensive to buy. Most often, personal taste plays a huge role in determining preference for a specific age and style of whisky. Rare and old expressions, such as Glencadam Single Cask, are often highly prized as collectors’ items.

    Unchillfiltered

    Chill filtration is an optional, cosmetic finishing process that many distilleries use to remove fatty acids and oily compounds that can cause the whisky to look cloudy when it is cool. We think flavour is so much more important than appearance, so have chosen not to chill filter any Glencadam Single Malt Whisky.

    Natural Colour

    Many whiskies have also been cosmetically enhanced with added caramel colouring. We don’t think we need to add colour to change our whisky – it’s prefect in its natural state, and bursting with flavour.

    The only added ingredient in Glencadam is pure, local Highland spring water. We spent a long time finding the optimum strength to best present its flavour and character. All Glencadam Single Malt Whisky is bottled at 46% vol. By bottling at 46% vol, we eliminate the risk of the whisky looking cloudy when cool.

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    Visits to the Distillery are by Appointment Only. To register interest please email us. To find accommodation nearby, visit HotelsCombined

  • heritage large

    Glencadam Since 1825

    Glencadam first opened in 1825, in the ancient city of Brechin. This was the year that the first horse-drawn omnibuses were established in London, the world's first modern railway opened, with the first public train pulled by steam engine, Cox's Orange Pippin apples were first grown and London became the largest city in the world, over-taking Beijing. It was little more than one year after the Excise Act of 1823 legalised distilling.

    Glencadam is now the only distillery in the county of Angus, an area of the Highlands region of Scotland. The first owner was a “Mr Cooper”, who sold the distillery in 1827. The name “Glencadam” comes from the area known as “The Tenements of Caldhame”. These were plots of ground given to the burghs of Brechin for food production. They were situated to the north and south east of the Den Burn where the distillery stands.

    The Distillery

    The distillery was owned by a David Scott and his descendants from 1827- 1891, and during this period it was rented to various distillers. Over the next few decades the distillery had a succession of owners.

    Glencadam mothballed during both world wars. The warehouses were instead used to barrack soldiers. There is still a mark on the grass by No. 2 warehouse where their commissary was. Glencadam was bought in the 1950s by Hiram Walker, which subsequently became Allied Domeq, who closed the distillery in 2000.

    Glencadam Single Malt has always been premium whisky for blending, and as such was highly sought after for some of the world’s most prestigious blends. Glencadam was finally bought by Angus Dundee Distillers on 1st June 2003, an independent Scottish company. Angus Dundee restarted production immediately, and we released our first ever single malt product, Glencadam Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 15 Years, in December 2005. This was subsequently re-launched in November 2009 with new packaging, alongside the release of a 10 year old expression.

    Award Winning

    Our current multi-award winning range now includes Age 10, 15 and 21 Years expressions, as well as Aged 12 Years Old Portwood and Aged 14 Years Oloroso cask finishes, and Aged 30 Years Single Cask.

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    Local History

    Until the 1990s, anyone could walk into the grounds of Glencadam Distillery as the right of way ran through distillery. It was eventually moved to go round by the manager’s house. The right of way was part of the drovers’ road system, where people from Aberdeenshire would drive their cattle and sheep to market in Brechin, or on to the county market in Forfar. Before we built a fence, you could sometimes be surprised in the middle of the night by a local wandering in looking for a dram once the pub had shut.

    The town of Brechin used to have a large horse sale which ran for 3-4 weeks in June, with side shows and stalls. The horse sale stopped but the side shows and stalls continued into the seventies.

    There used to be a vent on a pipe running from Glencadam Distillery, through the cemetery next door, to the grass by the cemetery gate entrance. When the stills were discharged on a cold day, steam would belch from this vent, emitting a strong spirit smell. Dawdling young children going to school would be told this was the devil breathing, and to run for it, least he come gets you.

    There are several theories on where the name of our local town “Brechin” came from. What is generally agreed is that in ancient times, Brechin was a place of considerable religious and cultural importance. Traditionally, Brechin has been considered a city because of its cathedral and its status as the Episcopal seat of the Scottish Episcopal Church, although the burgh lacks a city charter.

    The Importance of Brechin

    Brechin was of great importance to the Picts, a group of people living in Scotland who were named so by the Romans for the tattoos which decorated their bodies. Initially, around the 3rd century AD, the Picts were a collection of tribes, which later formed into one cultural group, merging with the Scots in the 10th century.

    Several ancient Druid burial sites have been found in the parish of Brechin, suggesting that the Druids also had a presence here. A monastery existed in Brechin during the early years of the second millennium, dating as far back as 971, and remnants of a 13th century church still exist. Brechin cathedral dates back to the 12th century.

    The most infamous priest of Brechin, known as Hugh de Brechin, was excommunicated by the pope in c1430 because of his 'incontinence and of publicly keeping a concubine…' and 'for not obeying a warning to put away the woman...”

    Brechin’s importance as a religious centre decreased with the coming of the Reformation in 16th century, when the church broke off from Rome. Brechin has been the site of considerable military activity. In the thirteen and fourteenth centuries, The Scottish Wars of Independence raged between England and Scotland, as a consequence of Edward I's attempts to subjugate the Scots. In 1290, the death of King Alexander III and his only heir left twelve individuals claiming the rights to the throne of Scotland. King Edward of England was asked to help resolve the situation, and selected John Balliol to be overlord of Scotland. Edward then became angry with King John’s resistance to meet English demands to support a war against the French. On beating the French, Edward marched on Scotland. John eventually surrendered the South of the country to Edward at Stracathro, about 5 miles from Brechin, after hiding out in the hills of Angus.

    Bravery in his Men

    In 1303, Edward set out to conquer the entire country, taking 7000 soldiers across the Forth, using prefabricated pontoon bridges. Stirling and Brechin were the only real sites of opposition. Brechin Castle was held for 20 days by Sir Thomas Maule, despite facing a much bigger English army with more advanced weaponry. He mocked the army from the battlements, 'dusting' the damaged areas with a cloth to inspire bravery in his men. However, in an unlucky twist, he was eventually struck on the battlements by a missile, which ultimately caused his death, and the castle to be surrendered.

    Walter Stewart, Lord of Brechin, was the leading participant in a conspiracy that led to the king's assassination in Blackfriars, Perth in 1437. Assassins were granted access to the royal chambers by his grandson, a trusted member of the King’s household. They found King James hiding in a sewer, and stabbed him sixteen times in the chest. Walter denied his involvement in the crime but he and his grandson, who did confess, were executed. Today, our team at Glencadam have carried on a tradition of craftsmanship and passion for quality. With little changes made to the distillery, the old ways of life live on.

  • our craft large

    Our Craft

    Malted barley, fresh local spring water and yeast are used to make our whisky. We also rely heavily on one essential ingredient - time. Our award-winning malt is testament to our craftsmanship and the artisan approach we use, passed down through generations.

    Pure Ingredients

    The best malted barley, pure Highland spring water and yeast are the only three ingredients in Glencadam Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

    Before barley can be used to make Glencadam it must be malted. This is a process used to turn the starch in the barley into sugars. The barley is soaked in water then left for a couple of days to germinate. Just as the first signs of sprouting appear, the barley is heated until dry to halt the grain from germinating any further.

    Traditionally, the fires used to dry the barley were fuelled by peat. Peat is a source of fuel dug out of the land and then dried before it can be burned. If left for centuries it would eventually turn to coal. Peat imparts a smokiness onto the barely, which is found in the flavour and aroma of the final spirit.

    Glencadam does not use any peated barley and as a result our whisky has a creamy and pure yet complex taste and character. Malted barley is then ground down in our original Victorian mill, until it becomes coarse flour called “grist”.

    Mashing

    We mix “grist” with hot water in large containers called “mash tuns”. This forms a porridge-like mixture, which we churn. A sweet liquid is then drained off from the grist and water mixture which we call “wort”. We add a second batch of water, and again the wort is drained off. This second, weaker run of wort is added to the first water in the next batch of grist. This whole mashing process takes us around 8 hours.

    Could there be basic info, and then extra “anorak” info that can be clicked up? The essential supply of pure spring water we use for distilling Glencadam's travels from springs at The Moorans, some 8.7 miles away, flowing through the hamlet of Unthank to reach the distillery. It is perhaps the longest water supply for distilling purposes of any Scottish distillery.

    Fermentation

    We transfer the wort into large, deep containers called “wash backs”, where it is cooled to around 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius) before yeast can be added. The temperature must be lowered so that the yeast, a microscopic living organism, survives to turn the sugar in the liquid in to alcohol. This process is called fermentation. Carbon dioxide is also produced, which creates a large quantity of foam that bubbles up to the top of the wash back. Blades called switchers spin round the top of the wash back to cut through the foam and keep it from over-flowing. The yeast also produces heat, causing the temperature of the liquid to rise from approximately 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius). The alcoholic liquid produced is now referred to as “wash”, and it is very similar in taste to beer, without the added hops. Our fermentation process takes around 48 hours.

    Distillation

    The wash is removed from the wash backs and is transported to a large copper vessel called a pot still, where it is heated. The liquid is heated until the alcohol, which evaporates at a lower temperature to water, forms a vapour which travels up a swan-like chimney called a “lye pipe”. It’s then collected and condensed back into a liquid.

    Traditionally, the pot stills in Glencadam were heated with coal fires, which were smoky and dirty, and had to be refuelled by hand. We now use steam to control the temperature of our stills. Glencadam has operated just two pot stills since we began in 1825. The shape of the stills at Glencadam plays a big role in shaping the final character of our spirit. An unusual feature in the industry is that our lyne pipes run upwards at an angle of 15 degrees, rather than downwards. This helps to produce a particularly delicate and mellow spirit.

    The wash goes through two cycles of distillation, first in the wash still and secondly in the slightly smaller spirit still. All our metalwork is made from cooper, which helps to increase to purity of our spirit. After the first distillation, the alcohol content is around 23% ABV and is referred to as “low wines”. After a second distillation in the spirit still, the alcohol content is between 65 – 75% ABV and is called “new make”.

    The Finest Cut

    Once distillation is complete, the clear new make spirit comes off the spirit still and is collected in the “low wines feints receiver”.

    This is within the “spirit safe” and is used to select which part of the spirit to put into casks for maturation. The spirit is now under the subject to tax under Her Majesty’s Customs and Exercise and is kept under lock and key. Only the best “cut” of the spirit is used, with the first and the last cut returned to the still and to the next batch for distillation.

    The middle cut is collected in the spirit receiver to be put into casks. The first and last parts of the spirit, called the fore shots and feints, are not pure enough to meet the high standard of quality required to make Glencadam Single Malt Whisky. The use of a spirit safe by distilleries dates back to the introduction of the Excise Act of 1823.

    Glencadam Distillery is capable of producing around 1.4 million litres of spirit per year, and we have a storage capacity of approximately 24,000 casks. This is a relatively small output for a distillery. Very few changes have been made since 1825, as we focus on craftsmanship and quality rather than quantity.

    The Long Wait

    New make spirit is filled into oak casks, and, by law, must be left for a minimum of three years if it is to be called Scotch Whisky. Each of our casks has been made traditionally - held together by the metal hoops and skilful craftsmanship. The insides of new casks are charred with fire to release the flavour compounds in the wood. The carbon on the inside of the cask filters purifies the spirit.

    Oak is the only type of wood used for its porous, flexible and breathable qualities. As the spirit sits in casks, it takes in the flavour from the different layers of the wood. The oak cask used for maturation is permeable, so as the spirit sleeps and times ticks by it will inevitably evaporate. This amounts to about 2% of the alcohol in the cask per year. We refer to this fragrant vapour as the “the angels share”. The surrounding environment, temperature and humidity, affects maturation and plays a role in determining the overall character of the malt.

    Age Statements

    The age statement on the labels of all our whiskies must represent the youngest whisky that is in the bottle. Some of the casks that have been mixed together to make a batch may be older than the age on the label but they cannot be younger.

    Older whiskies have matured for longer in oak casks, which allows for a different range of flavours to develop. Older whiskies are more expensive to produce, as evaporation means they are constantly diminishing, and in turn are usually more expensive to buy. Most often, personal taste plays a huge role in determining preference for a specific age and style of whisky. Rare and old expressions, such as Glencadam Single Cask, are often highly prized as collectors’ items.

    Unchillfiltered

    Chill filtration is an optional, cosmetic finishing process that many distilleries use to remove fatty acids and oily compounds that can cause the whisky to look cloudy when it is cool. We think flavour is so much more important that appearance, so have chosen not to chill filter any Glencadam Single Malt Whisky.

    Natural Colour

    Many whiskies have also been cosmetically enhanced with added caramel colouring. We don’t think we need to add colour to change our whisky – it’s prefect in its natural state, and bursting with flavour.

    The only added ingredient in Glencadam is pure, local Highland spring water. We spent a long time finding the optimum strength to best present its flavour and character. All Glencadam Single Malt Whisky is bottled at 46% vol. By bottling at 46% vol, we eliminate the risk of the whisky looking cloudy when cool.

  • casks large

    Casks

    Glencadam is matured in oak wood casks for a minimum of 10 years. To be legally called Scotch, all whisky must be matured for a minimum of 3 years, in oak wood casks, in Scotland. Different flavour notes, such as vanilla, travel from the different layers of wood and into the whisky, changing and evolving over the years as it is left to mature.

    We sometimes use casks to impart additional, complimentary characteristics into the whisky. This is referred to as a wood “finish”. We use Oloroso sherry casks from Spain to finish Glencadam for two years, before it is bottled as an Aged 14 Years expression. Portwood casks for Portugal are used to finish Glencadam for two years, and this is released as an Aged 12 Years expression.

    Deciding on optimum time to remove the whisky, and which casks to bottle, takes a great deal of skill.

    Bourbon Casks

    The majority of the casks we used have previously been used to mature bourbon in the USA and have a capacity of approximately 200 litres. The bourbon “seasons” the casks, by removing very intense vanilla flavours that would over-power the unique, subtle flavours in Glencadam.

    Bourbon casks are charred with fire inside before they are filled with whisky. This creates a layer of carbon that acts as a filter, purifying the whisky to leave it with a smooth flavour. Glencadam Highland Single malt Aged 10, 15 and 21 Years have all be matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks.

    Oloroso Sherry Casks

    Oloroso sherry casks travel to Glencadam Distillery from Spain and have a capacity of approximately 500 litres. “Oloroso”, meaning “scented” in Spanish, is a type of fortified wine produced in Jerez and Montilla-Moriles. The flavour is not sweet like Pedro Ximenez sherry, but dry, rich, complex, nutty and smooth. The inside of an Oloroso cask is toasted, as opposed to being charred, before it’s used to finish whisky.

    Glencadam Single Malt is transferred from ex-bourbon casks into the Spanish sherry “butts” when it is Aged 12 Years, and left to mature for a further two years. This imparts the whisky with rich flavours of Christmas cake and dried fruits, and colours the spirit a deep burnt orange.

    Portwood Casks

    Portwood casks are also referred to as “pipes” and have a capacity of approximately 500 litres. Port is a type of Portuguese fortified wine made in the Douro Valley. There are a number of varieties than can be found, including dry and white, which are usually drank as a desert wine. Only port from Portugal can be labelled “Porto”, as other countries around the world also produce their own versions.

    Glencadam Single Malt is transferred from ex-bourbon casks into the port pipes when it is Aged 10 Years, and left to mature for a further two years. This imparts flavours of red berries and rich, sweet notes into the whisky, while leaving behind a soft pink hue.

  • Further information can be obtained by contacting:

    Douglas Fitchett
    Distillery Manager
    Glencadam Distillery
    Brechin
    Angus
    DD9 7PA

    Office +44(0)1356 622217
    Fax +44(0)1356 624905
    email dfitchett@glencadamdistillery.co.uk

    You can also follow Glencadam on Facebook and Twitter

    If you are an importer, distributor, wholesaler or supermarket group looking to import Scotch Whisky or other spirits, please contact our head office at Angus Dundee Distillers Plc.

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  • Subcategories

    Our Glencadam age-statement expressions are bottled at 46% vol. and are unchillfiltered whilst also having no added colouring to ensure that the flavour components of the whisky are preserved and the naturalness of the whisky from the cask can be enjoyed to the full.

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