With its beautiful location near the village of Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands of Scotland in the prestigious Glenlivet Estate at the heart of the Speyside region, lies Tomintoul Distillery, one of two malt distilleries owned by Angus Dundee, an independent company with over 50 years’ experience in producing, blending, bottling and distributing top-quality Scotch whiskies and other spirits. (The other distillery is Glencadam, in the Highland region of Scotland.) Tomintoul Distillery has been owned by Angus Dundee Distillers since 2000.
Angus Dundee has a broad range of stocks of Scotch whisky of all ages, up to 45 years of age, which are supplied either as bottled in Scotland or in bulk for bottling locally. These whiskies are exported to more than 70 countries around the world, producing solid business growth, year after year, over the last decade. A key to the company’s success is the special relationships it establishes with its customers, who are treated very much as partners. Angus Dundee tailors product specifications to meet customers’ requirements, providing a rapid response to customers’ demands and expectations anywhere in the world by supplying excellent products at competitive prices.
Tomintoul is a perfect example of this business plan.
In the middle of the last century it took more than a year to find the purest of water sources for use in the malt whisky-making process. Finally, the search located the Ballantruan Spring, an exceptional source of the purest of waters nestling in the Cromdale Hills. The quest over, Tomintoul Distillery was built close to the Ballantruan Spring and adjacent to the majestic River Avon. The natural environment, high altitude, pure air and the exclusive use of the outstanding quality of water from the Ballantruan Spring, combine to enhance the superb quality of Tomintoul Speyside Glenlivet Single Malt – the gentle dram.
Tomintoul single malt whisky is a testament to master distiller Robert Fleming, whose family has been making whisky in the Speyside Glenlivet region for four generations. Inspired by tradition, he has produced a single malt of unique quality, which is now available in nine expressions, each of which is smooth and mellow.
Angus Dundee sought OU certification for the Tomintoul brand since it provides access to a knowledgeable, discerning and responsible drinking community in the United States. In addition, OU certification reflects well on the brand and enhances its image in the eyes of the knowledgeable consumer. Just as Angus Dundee’s relationship with its customers is a key factor in its success, so too its relationship with the Orthodox Union is another reason for the company’s growth and prestige.
Angus Dundee management prides itself in the way that Tomintoul single malt Scotch whisky is made and the quality of the raw materials used. An abbreviated look at the key parts of the complex production process is as follows:
- Malting the barley — Best quality barley is first steeped in water and then spread out on malting floors to germinate. It is turned regularly to prevent the buildup of heat. During this process enzymes are activated which convert the starch into sugar when mashing takes place.
- Mashing — The dried malt is ground into a coarse flour or grist, which is mixed with hot water in the mash tun. The water is added in three stages, starting around 67°C and rising to almost boiling point. The quality of the pure Scottish water is important.
- Fermentation — Yeast is added and fermentation begins. The living yeast feeds on the sugars, producing alcohol and small quantities of other compounds known as congeners, which contribute to the flavor of the whisky.
- Pot Stills — In distillation, the still is heated to just below the boiling point of water and the alcohol and other compounds vaporize and pass over the neck of the still into
a condenser where the vapor is condensed into a liquid.
- Distillation — The wash is distilled twice – first in the wash still, to separate the alcohol from the water, yeast and residue. The distillate from the wash still, known as low wines, and containing about 20 percent alcohol by volume, then goes to the spirit still for the second distillation.
- Spirit Safe — The stillman uses all his years of experience to test and judge the various distillates without being able to come into physical contact with the spirit. The newly distilled, colorless, fiery spirit is filled into oak casks and the maturation process begins.
- Maturation — While maturing, the whisky becomes smoother, gains flavor, and draws its golden color from the cask. A proportion of the higher alcohols turn into esters and other complex compounds which subtly enhance each whisky’s distinctive characteristics. By law all Scotch whisky must be matured for at least three years. Unlike wine, whisky does not mature further once it is in the bottle.