Glencadam Distillery, Brechin, County of Forfar.
ON leaving Brechin, we bent our steps to Glencadam Distillery, situated in the cleft of an undulating hill, about half a mile from the town, and the same distance from the delightful river Esk. Brechin is rich in historical memories. Long ago it was a walled-in city, with a handsome cathedral, erected about 1150, dedicated to St. Ninian. The present parish church occupies the west end of the building, and the ruins are very interesting. For a long period during the Middle Ages, Brechin was the seat of piety and culture, and many a mitred bishop and sandalled monk has here taught learning and fine arts hand in hand with his religion. Here, alas! also was the scene of much sanguinary strife, and many a battle has been lost and won under the grey towers of its castle.
In 1452 the Earls of Huntly and Crawford fought a great battle, when the latter was defeated. In 1572 Sir Adam Gordon surprised a number of the King’s soldiers, and cut off the whole party. All is now changed, and Brechin has become a peaceful, thriving, busy manufacturing town, and not the least clement in its commercial operations are its Distilleries.
The following is a brief outline of the Glencadam Distillery, which was built at the beginning of the century, and covers two acres of ground.
It is supplied with fine water from Moorfoot Loch, giving abundance of the pure stream for driving and mashing purposes.
The barley, which is all grown in the district, is carted by the farmers direct to the Granaries, of which there are two, capable of holding 1,000 quarters.
The Malt Barns are two in number, and when the grain is properly germinated it is removed to the Kiln, which is floored with German wire cloth. Peat only is used in the drying. From thence the malt is carried to the malt Stores, where it is dropped through shoots into the malt rollers, and the grist is then conveyed to the Mash-tun, a vessel containing 800 bushels, with the usual stirring rakes. The liquor is then drawn off into the Underback, and after it is cooled in the regular way it goes into the five Washbacks, each holding 1,200 gallons. After fermentation has taken place, it is pumped to the Wash Stills, and afterwards run into the Low-wines Receiver; thence to the Low-wines and Feints Charger, containing 1,000 gallons, then to the two Stills, which are of the old Pot kind, and afterwards into the Spirit Receiver, descending thence to the Spirit Stores into a vat, from whence it is drawn off into casks, weighed, branded, and warehoused. In the court yard there is a 10-horse power gas engine and a fine boiler for heating water.
The six Warehouses will contain 3,000 casks of Whisky, which is Highland Malt, and the annual output is 40,000 gallons. Eight persons are employed in the works, and the product is chiefly sold in Glasgow and neighbourhood.