14 July 2008

West coast and Glasgow

After the Outer Hebridies I pass the amazing Island of Skye which is part of the Inner Hebrides. With every place that I visit Scotland just keeps getting more and more beautiful!
During my trip I had passed numerous distilleries of famous Scotch Whiskys. Glenturret, Glenfiddich, Talisker, Arran and finally Oban (one of my favorites after Lagavulin).
The process of production is pretty much identical in all distilleries: malt (from barley) is wetted and yeast is added for fermentation. Then the mix is strained and the liquid is distilled at least twice (at different temperatures) first to an alcohol content of little more than 20%vol and then to more than 70%vol.
This highly potent but almost tasteless clear liquid is then stored in wooden casks that have previously been used for the production of Sherry/Madeira or American Whiskey.
The Scottish Whisky matures in those barrels for several years. Usually both types of casks are used for one "Single Malt" Whisky. After the ripening process, the contents of the different casks (Sherry and American Whiskey) are finally "married" in a single cask and left again for a time of 6 months.
The taste and smell of the Whisky comes from the wood of the different casks during the process of ripening (and marriage).
At the end, the 70%vol (now matured and coloured) liquid is diluted with demineralised water to approx. 40%vol, botteled and sold. "One, two, three, dram!"

In Glasgow I visit Mungo's Hifi and their families. The guys make fabulous Reggae music and I had previously met them when passing by Bergen (Norway) were they performed during a Reggae festival.
Mungo's Hifi also established an own label called "Scotch Bonnet" (http://www.scotchbonnet.net/).

Glasgow is simply great. And for a change: the sun is shining.
I enjoy the time strolling through the Glasgow museums (The transport museum features one of the first ever built bicycles from around 1840) and hanging out in the parks and cafes. There are cozy evenings in the backyard of the Mungo's Hifi Studio with BBQ and open fire. Another place to get stuck forever!

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