It doesn't happen very often that i end up on a surprise distillery tour but thats exactly what happened to me earlier this week.
A few days off work meant we had time to spend with the kids and after a ee discussion the plan for Tuesday was to hop in the car and travel up to Callendar for an Ice Cream and a nosey in the Christmas Shop (yup there's a shop that sells Christmas Decorations all year round), whilst on the way there though we passed a sign for Deanston Distillery, I knew it was roughly in that area but didnt reaise it was so close.
So after our Ice Cream and wander around the shops in Callendar we headed back towards home, stopping off at the distillery on the way, a wee picture outside the distillery and a wee nosey at the Heron which was fishing in the river outside before we went in to see if we could get on a tour.
So we popped in and were lucky enough to be just in time to do a tour and wife Mrs T not wanting to do the tour it was just me and the two wee ones with the tour guide.
We watched the history DVD, really interesting to see that Deanston used to be a Mill and doesnt have the 100's of years of whisky history of other distilleries with the early 1970's being when they first produced whisky. The fact that they are totally self sufficient in electricity with water power not only powering the distillery but a part of the local national grid also it's good to see more of the environmental benefits of the whisky industry.
The open Mash Tun was interesting as many seem to have closed off even the wee peep holes on them so it was good to see everything, and with it being the closed season we could see everything in the inside, a rare insight. The Washbacks had just had a fresh coat of paint and with the wash sitting in them for 100 hours, giving a fresh and fruity spirit this was interesting to note.
The Still room, with it's two pairs of stills, was eerily quiet this closed season is a bit odd, but it was good to get up close with them. having a look and smell in the warehouse was great they really do smell fantastic and with a few Casks signed by the Angels Share cast it was really interesting to see.
Down to the sample room and our kind host let me try the Virgin Oak, as i'm familiar with the standard 12, as well as a sniff of the 69% new make spirit (which really was fruity, lots of raspberries in there). The Virgin Oak is 5 - 10 year old whisky finished for 3 months in Virgin American Oak Casks, interesting stuff and I have a bottle now which i'll pop a review on the site for soon.
A lovely distillery, very much in an industrial format, with lovely staff, well worth a visit.