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Historic distillation in the Cabrach

Inverharroch Farm which will be converted into the Cabrach Distillery

Working with the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) at Heriot Watt University, the Cabrach Trust has been carrying out a research project to specify the exact methods and ingredients used in the historical distilling processes for the original Cabrach whisky of the late 18th and early 19th century.

Researcher, Yash Bhamare as part of an MSc in Brewing and Distilling at ICBD has produced a fascinating research paper. He has researched the historical background to whisky production methods used in the Cabrach both when this was an illicit industry and when it first became a legal business.

Yash’s project report looked at all the aspects of historical production, and compared them with the modern methods of production.  The research analysed if these methods could be utilised for a working distillery. Over many weeks Yash visited the Cabrach and worked in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences in Edinburgh to produce his research paper. Everything from the raw materials of water and grains, energy sources, malting, milling, mashing, fermentation, distilling to maturation and storage was studied and researched. The final report draws a picture showing the Cabrach as an area of great industry and invention.

As he travelled through the region of the Cabrach, he found that there were three distilleries established in this parish. It is said that these distilleries were making excellent malt in the 19th century. The names of these distilleries were:

  1. Buck/ Blackmiddens Distillery – which is situated near Cabrach, Banffshire. It was owned by James Smith who was also the Distiller and Manager of Distillery from 1825-1833.
  2. Lesmurdie/ Cabrach Distillery – which is situated in Banffshire as well. It was owned by James Taylor since 1827-1831 and was later managed by John Taylor from 1831-1834.
  3. Tamnavan / Tomnairn Distillery situated in Banffshire. Owned by James Robertson since 1828-1842.

The report will provide much of the fine detail towards our final specification of the new Cabrach Distillery to be located at Inverharroch Farm. We will use historical methods, and the exact balance of ingredients and maturation processes as it’s crucial we get the flavour right for our very own Cabrach whisky.

Yash concluded that “By following the traditional method of whisky making we can make an authentic whisky which will be true to its history, a genuine product which reflect quality and cultural values will be obtained”.

We would like to thank Yash for this excellent work. We also hope that you will be able to find out more about his findings and how we will be using these findings as the project develops. To get up to date information and to support us in our work become a friend of the Cabrach. for more details click this link:  join us today

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