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Type: Whisky

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      08.11.2001 04:18
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      Not many people know this. But in 1830, a group of Excisemen destroyed a quantity of malted barley intended for use in illicit distillation on the Ord Estate. This is the first record of whisky being produced in Ord. Only eight years later, distillation became legal, and the Ord Distillery Co was founded by partners Messrs Johnstone and McLennan. The distillery is situated on the outskirts of the village of Muir of Ord, on the A832, 15 miles west of Inverness, on the neck of the Black Isle. Although today more famous for trialling genetically modified oilseed rape, the farms on the Black Isle are renowned for producing malting barley. It was a logical place to build a distillery, although despite its name it is not in a Glen. Close to the barley crops, and with the waters from the adjacent Allt Fionnaidh (the White Burn), the Ord distillery venture could not fail. But it did. Less than a decade after it began, the Ord Distillery Co was bankrupt. ‘Twould have been sad indeed if the story had ended there, and I would have been denied my favourite tipple. Fortunately, after briefly passing through other hands, the distillery was salvaged by a banker from nearby Beauly, Alexander McKenzie, in 1877. In some records, McKenzie is credited as founder of the distillery, but that is not the case. And only one year later, the distillery was destroyed by fire. McKenzie rebuilt the premises (only a banker would have the where-with-all to do that!), and in 1852 produced for sale a single malt known as Glenoran. And here lie the roots of the anonymity of Glen Ord. For over the years it has undergone a number of name changes. As well as Glenoran, it has been marketed as Muir of Ord, Ord, Ord Pure Malt, and Glen Ordie, as well as the Glen Ord we know today. Also, sadly, it was only used in the domestic market for many years as a constituent of blended whiskie
      s, and was only available as a single malt overseas – except of course, if you visited the Distillery Shop, where we first became acquainted. To cut a long historical essay short, Glen Ord was taken over by United Distillers in 1985. The marketing power and strategy of United Distillers eventually proved successful when Glen Ord 12 Year Old Single Malt won three international awards in 1994, and “Malt of the Year” 1994/5. In my humble view, the only downside is that Glen Ord’s official website – from which none of this information has been pinched – is a US based site, full of tartan-whisky-fantasy stuff. It even includes the phrase “ . . in the small Highland village of Glen Ord” – which doesn’t exist. 0/10 for the website. 10/10 for the product. I feel disinclined to give the address of the website, because it is cr*p. Forgive me if I appear to be practising censorship, but I would much rather you went to your local offy and demanded Glen Ord, and tried it for yourself. Devotees of peaty malts think it is too grainy. Devotees of grain turn up their noses and call it “peaty”. Some say it is smooth, others condemn it as rough. I am no connoisseur. I just like it. PS There are some . . . erm . . singularly inappropriate questions (and answers) in the "Extra information" fields. I am particularly intrigued by the item "Conceivable with Food". Aspen will say no more. © Mike Clark 2001

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