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Ailsa bay

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AILSA  BAY   (2007

Girvan in Ayrshire is één van de zeven graan distilleerderijen (2008) in Schotland.

De capaciteit is 60 miljoen liter alcohol per jaar. Er is een vatenmakerij, er wordt Gin gestookt, Hendrick's Gin en er zijn lagerpakhuizen waarin 1,3 miljoen vaten met whisky rijpen (2008).

Tussen 1968 en 1975 was hier ook een malt whisky distilleerderij: Ladyburn
.

Er staan acht ketels met een capaciteit van 5 miljoen alcohol per jaar.

Een uniek kenmerk is de Octangular Spirit Safe die tussen de twee rijen ketels zit, alsmede een voorverhitter, ook in gebruik in de Cognac, voor de Wash still om energie te besparen .

AILSA BAY DISTILLERY

LOWLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY

Ailsa Bay is in the Lowlands, on the Clyde coast looking out towards Ailsa Craig, Kintyre, and Arran. Its eight stills however produce a wide variety of styles of makes. This flexibility is deliberate as the distillery was built to both replace ‘Balvenie-style’ malt for Grant’s blends and offer other flavour possibilities. Given this, not surprisingly, the stills are shaped the same as Balvenie’s.

Four different characters are made: estery, nutty, fruity and heavily peated.


There is a long history of malt distilleries being built within grain plants: Inverleven at Dumbarton (1959-1991), Ben Wyvis at Invergordon (1965-1977), Glen Flager and Killyloch at Garnheath (1965-1985), and Ladyburn at Girvan (1966-1976). All of them were built by blending firms and came into being at a time when an increase in production was deemed necessary. All then closed when a downturn in demand occurred.

It was a slightly different dynamic which prompted William Grant & Sons in 2007 to build Ailsa Bay on the same Girvan site where Ladyburn had once stood. This time not only were the Grant’s blends (the Family Reserve range and Clan MacGregor), both growing, but so was demand for its two flagship malts Glenfiddich and Balvenie. Pressure on the latter was the main reason for the construction of this eight still, 5m litres per annum capacity site.

After eight years of production, Ailsa Bay's first official bottling as a single malt was a no-age-statement heavily peated whisky released in February 2016. The expression unleashed the full flexibiility of Ailsa Bay's production set up, combining innovative techniques in the way of spirit cut points, vatting, maturation and even 'sweetness measurement'.

CAPACITY (MLPA) i
12
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube (four stainless steel)
FERMENTATION TIME i
60 hours
FILLING STRENGTH i
63.5%
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
12
HEAT SOURCE i
Steam
MALT SUPPLIER i
Various
MASH TUN TYPE i
Lauter
NEW-MAKE PHENOL LEVEL i
5-22ppm
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
70%
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
4%
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Onion with boil ball
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
12,000
STILLS i
16
WAREHOUSING i
Racked, palletised
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Onion with boil ball
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
12,000
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
50,000
WASHBACK TYPE i
Stainless steel
WASHBACKS i
24
WATER SOURCE i
Penwhapple Reservoir
WORT CLARITY i
Medium
YEAST TYPE i
Liquid

Ailsa Bay is in the Lowlands, on the Clyde coast looking out towards Ailsa Craig, Kintyre, and Arran. Its eight stills however produce a wide variety of styles of makes. This flexibility is deliberate as the distillery was built to both replace ‘Balvenie-style’ malt for Grant’s blends and offer other flavour possibilities. Given this, not surprisingly, the stills are shaped the same as Balvenie’s.

Four different characters are made: estery, nutty, fruity and heavily peated.

There is a long history of malt distilleries being built within grain plants: Inverleven at Dumbarton (1959-1991), Ben Wyvis at Invergordon (1965-1977), Glen Flager and Killyloch at Garnheath (1965-1985), and Ladyburn at Girvan (1966-1976). All of them were built by blending firms and came into being at a time when an increase in production was deemed necessary. All then closed when a downturn in demand occurred.

It was a slightly different dynamic which prompted William Grant & Sons in 2007 to build Ailsa Bay on the same Girvan site where Ladyburn had once stood. This time not only were the Grant’s blends (the Family Reserve range and Clan MacGregor), both growing, but so was demand for its two flagship malts Glenfiddich and Balvenie. Pressure on the latter was the main reason for the construction of this eight still, 5m litres per annum capacity site.

After eight years of production, Ailsa Bay's first official bottling as a single malt was a no-age-statement heavily peated whisky released in February 2016. The expression unleashed the full flexibiility of Ailsa Bay's production set up, combining innovative techniques in the way of spirit cut points, vatting, maturation and even 'sweetness measurement'.

CAPACITY (MLPA) i
12
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube (four stainless steel)
FERMENTATION TIME i
60 hours
FILLING STRENGTH i
63.5%
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
12
HEAT SOURCE i
Steam
MALT SUPPLIER i
Various
MASH TUN TYPE i
Lauter
NEW-MAKE PHENOL LEVEL i
5-22ppm
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
70%
SINGLE MALT PERCENTAGE i
4%
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Onion with boil ball
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
12,000
STILLS i
16
WAREHOUSING i
Racked, palletised
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Onion with boil ball
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
12,000
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
50,000
WASHBACK TYPE i
Stainless steel
WASHBACKS i
24
WATER SOURCE i
Penwhapple Reservoir
WORT CLARITY i
Medium
YEAST TYPE i
Liquid
OWNER

William Grant & Sons
2007 - present


AILSA BAY

The first single malt release from Ailsa Bay distillery, a no-age-statement peated whisky that undergoes a unique ‘micro maturation’, is being launched in the UK next week.

Ailsa Bay whisky
Ailsa Bay's long-awaited single malt whisky is being released this month.
The Lowlands distillery, which is set up to produce a number of different Speyside malt styles within the Girvan grain distillery complex in Ayrshire, was built in 2007 and has not released a single malt until now.

While the majority of Ailsa Bay’s whisky styles will be used for a variety of blends within owner William Grant & Sons’ portfolio, its peated run – that lasts for just one week per year – is reserved for the Ailsa Bay single malt.

Ailsa Bay is being positioned as the group’s ‘peated malt’, and has a stated phenol content of 21 PPM (parts per million) – a reading taken from the finished liquid rather than the dried malted barley, as is the industry standard.

Taking a reading of the liquid prior to bottling, however, is thought to give a truer reflection of the whisky’s actual phenol content. Ailsa Bay is only the second single malt brand to disclose its PPM as a reflection of the liquid.

In 2014, AnCnoc launched its Peaty range of single malts from Knockdhu distillery, all of which state a PPM reading of the liquid.

As well as offering a PPM statement, Ailsa Bay will also have an SPPM reading – sweet parts per million, a revolutionary measurement of a whisky’s sweetness designed by master blender Brian Kinsman.

Alwynne Gwilt, newly-appointed whisky specialist at William Grant & Sons, said: ‘It’s new territory for everyone. Brian is trying to break new ground in how we help the consumer understand what it is they are buying, so this will probably take a while for everyone to personally catch up.’

Ailsa Bay has an SPPM of 11, which Gwilt describes as ‘the perfect balance between peat and sweet’.

‘You can get a peated whisky like Bowmore that’s sweeter and fruitier than Talisker and while you can understand the peating levels on those it doesn’t give an indication of how sweet it’s going to be,’ she explained.

‘Brian has analysed the elements that we would taste as being sweet and created a new way of measuring how sweet whisky is.’

JAPANESE-STYLE

Rather than simply blending casks together after maturation, Kinsman has also adopted a Japanese-style of whisky production and vatted two different distillates produced at Ailsa Bay together before the new make is filled into cask.

Gwilt remarked: ‘Brian has the opportunity, much like the Japanese do, to create really interesting liquid right from the start – he’s not just relying on casks and the maturation that happens afterward.’

MICRO MATURATION

As well as being the company’s first peated whisky brand, Ailsa Bay is also the only Scotch whisky to undergo a process called ‘micro maturation’.

The distillery’s new make spirit is first filled into Hudson Baby Bourbon casks that are between 25-100 litres in size, for six to nine months.

The relatively small casks – traditional American oak barrels can contain up to 200 litres of spirit – enables intense rapid maturation. The liquid is then transferred into virgin, first-fill and refill American oak casks for several years.

The process is the first of its kind within the Scotch whisky industry, although some Cognac producers also practise micro maturation.

The three cask types are then blended together and bottled without chill filtration at 48.9% abv.

Following its soft launch in the Nordics at the end of 2015, the expression will be made available in the UK from next week.

Just 350 nine-litre cases of Ailsa Bay are available between the UK and Nordics this year at £55 per 700ml bottle. Additional markets and greater allocation will be considered toward the end of 2016.
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