Think You Know Your Whisky? Aberlour Shows What Lies behind the Crafting of its Rich and Complex Single Malt – Scotch Whisky News

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Think You Know Your Whisky? Aberlour Shows What Lies behind the Crafting of its Rich and Complex Single Malt

A world-first series of super-macro images of whisky unveil the enigma behind the expert craft and natural beauty of the premium single malt, Aberlour.

The images have been taken by David Maitland, one of the world’s foremost nature photographers. Aberlour commissioned him to chart the journey of the whisky’s creation taking in microscopic views of the rock, water and wood used in the whisky-making process, such as the granite mountain from where the distillery takes its spring water, the oak staves from specially selected casks in which the whisky is matured, and finally uncovering never-before-seen glimpses of the single malt itself.

The photography uses a variety of techniques to capture some of the natural elements that contribute to the unique flavour of this single malt Scotch, from a glimpse inside each grain of barley to the actual rings from an oak cask and the crystalline structure of the final spirit itself.

The six images show:

• Pink mountain granite from Ben Rinnes: water runs down Ben Rinnes over this impervious material which maintains the water’s purity and softness before it rises in springs close to the distillery

• Spring water, soft and fresh, rising in the Birkenbush Wood and exclusively used for making the Aberlour single malt range• Malted Barley: specially prepared to provide the key sugars from which the whisky to be distilled – the platform for its unique flavour

• Sherry cask: special oak casks sourced from Spain in which the spirit makes its transformation in to Scotch whisky; , made from European oak whose open grain has an unique influence during the years of maturation

• The rich and sweet ‘Aberlour 12-year-old’ award winning single malt

• A’bunadh: Aberlour’s expertly hand-crafted and uncompromising cask strength single malt

Dr Maitland, a European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, said: “I was asked to discover how all the different elements help craft Aberlour. The positioning of the distillery at the foot of Ben Rinnes, and surrounded by the natural water springs, plays a vital part in the creation of each bottle of single malt, as do the casks in which the whisky is aged. Having the chance to photograph this journey was a rare privilege.”

Aberlour single malt dates back to James Fleming, a local banker and philanthropist who founded the distillery in 1879. The whisky was crafted with James Fleming’s motto, ‘let the deed show’ in mind, which remains true today as the distillery allows unique depth of flavour to do the talking.

“Super macro photography can reveal many surprises. The crystal structures in the 12-year-old and A’bunadh were simply beautiful and frequently appeared to echo the unique and subtle characters of each whisky.” added David Maitland.

Aberlour’s Brand Director, Nikki Burgess, said: “Even for its distillers, single malt retains some mysteries. David’s photos have shown beyond the glass and cask and allowed us an insight into the natural elements and distillers’ craft which are vital to the creation of this enigmatic single malt. The photography has brilliantly captured the coming together of the natural elements and the expert craftsmanship of our distillers, while also maintaining the enigma behind the award-winning taste of Aberlour.”

The photographs can be viewed on the Aberlour website – www.aberlour.com –

Notes

About Aberlour The multi award-winning Aberlour was founded in 1879, in Speyside, Scotland. From its magical location alongside the River Spey, the small and intimate distillery holds a special place in the hearts of malt lovers. Since its quest to create the best single malt began, Aberlour has won an outstanding list of trophies and gold medals. Its range of single malt whisky including 12 year old, 16 year old, an 18 year olds and the hand crafted A’bunadh, are renowned with experts the world over for their exceptional quality.

For further information about the Aberlour distillery, please visit: www.aberlour.com  

Oak Cask

Photo captions

Pink Granite – Award winning photographer, David Maitland, has developed a series of intriguing photographs providing a glimpse of the enigma of Aberlour whisky through its mineral wonder. He started his journey of discovery at Ben Rinnes, which sits behind the distillery and provides a sure supply of soft spring water draining over the pink granite. This picture shows the pink granite from Ben Rinnes at 200x magnification.

Water – Award winning photographer, David Maitland, has developed a series of intriguing photographs providing a peek into the enigma of Aberlour whisky through its mineral wonder. He captured the crystal-clear spring water from the Birkenbush Spring. Soft and pure, it is perfect for the development of a wide range of flavours which is why it is used to create Aberlour’s range of fine single malts.

Barley – Award winning photographer, David Maitland, has developed a series of intriguing photographs providing a glimpse of the enigma of Aberlour whisky through its craft and ingredients. He captured the barley at 400x magnification, showing the amyoplasts (starch grains), which deliver the sweetness of Aberlour, a whisky of exceptional quality – clean, crisp and fruity with striking depth.

Sherry Cask – Award winning photographer, David Maitland, has developed a series of intriguing photographs providing a glimpse of the enigma of Aberlour whisky through its craft and ingredients. He shows the prized ex-Oloroso sherry cask which lends the velvety, clean and crisp flavour to the Aberlour range of single malts. This image was captured at 400x magnification.

12 Year Old – Award winning photographer, David Maitland, has developed a series of intriguing photographs providing a glimpse of the enigma of Aberlour whisky through its components and craft. Here, Aberlour’s rich and velvety 12-year-old incarnation reveals a smooth string of crystals which is reflected in its velvety finish. The image was captured at 400x magnification.

A’ bunadh – Award winning photographer, David Maitland, has developed a series of intriguing photographs providing a glimpse of the enigma of Aberlour whisky through its components and craft. At 200x magnification this photograph of Aberlour’s hand-crafted A’bunadh shows crystals bursting with sweet flavour originating from the specially selected ex-sherry casks. Like each batch of A’bunadh, this image is unique, as this was captured just as the crystal began to grow.

About the photographs:

Pink Granite: Beautiful Pink Granite was collected from Ben Rinnes (the mountain is formed from different granites) – the spring water used for the Aberlour flows down from the mountain and retains a unique softness thanks to the granite base over which it flows. The granite was cut into thin sections just 30 millionths of a meter (30 μm) thin so that the rock becomes transparent. The granite is composed mainly of alkali feldspar and quartz with intermixed brown biotite. There also are tiny flecks (inclusions) of all manner of trace elements. Here, all elements combine to form a miniature landscape. The image was taken using crossed polarized light at a magnification of 200x.

Water: The water was captured at 400x magnification using differential interference contrast to get the colours. David used polarized light, which allows us to see the optical properties specific to the water and reveals detailed information concerning the structure and its composition. The colours in the water are a result of the way the water interacts with the polarized light. Due to the varying refractive indices, the water appears multi-coloured. The polarized light can be further enhanced using sophisticated polarizing techniques such as Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) which also produces a sense of depth and a 3-D quality. David captured the water images by freezing the water and photographing it melting under the microscope – the colour background is bent by the melting water into the interesting forms and shapes in the picture

Barley: The barley grain is mostly starch which is stored as individual grains (amyloplasts). These amyoplasts are grains within the grain, which act as a fermenter, to make the whisky’s alcohol, as well as give its depth of flavour. These tiny structures – the smallest grains are about 2 millionths of a meter (μm) in diameter, while the largest are about 20 μm. The picture is taken at 400x magnification using differential interference contrast (DIC) lighting techniques.

Cask: All Aberlour single malts display the influence of maturation in ex-Spanish Oloroso Sherry Butts which are constructed from mature European or “Spanish” Oak trees, Quercus petraea petraea, (formally Q. sessilis). A thin transverse section or slice of oak (20 millionths of a meter, 20 μm thick) shows an intricate pattern of tracheids (large rings through which the tree draws water) and lignin-strengthened parenchyma wood cells within the heartwood of the oak. During the whisky’s maturation process within the oak cask, the alcohol works on heartwood components (lignin, hemicellulose and tannin amongst others) to produce the complex caramel and aromatic flavours, colour, and fragrances unique to Aberlour whisky. The image was made at 200x magnification using a special form of Interference contrast lighting.

Aberlour’s, 12 Year Old: For the 12 Year Old, David evaporated a large volume of this beautiful whisky (such a waste!) which leaves behind a super-concentrated solution of dissolved complex natural elements which originated from the different casks in which the whisky was matured. This blend of natural elements can sometimes be made to crystalize in remarkable and unique patterns. Here, Aberlour’s 12 Year double cask matured whisky has produced a wonderful feather-like crystal pattern. This photograph was captured at 400x magnification using differential interference contrast (DIC) lighting techniques.

A’bunadh: The hand-crafted and small scale produced Aberlour Whisky was photographed after evaporating a large volume of A’bunadh, which left behind a super-concentrated solution of dissolved natural elements which originated from the cask in which the whisky was matured. Certain elements within this can sometimes be made to crystalize in remarkable and unique patterns. Elements of Gallic Acid (a product from Tannin in the oak cask) have been captured forming an exquisite crystal tree. This photograph was captured at 200x magnification using differential interference contrast (DIC) lighting techniques.

Barley

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