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On the whisky trail in Scotland

From Edinburgh to Angus to Speyside, Scotch is being crafted with respect for the environment and for its heritage, along with a passion for innovation.

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Katie Collins
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
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Macallan's new distillery opened in 2018.

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The new Macallan distillery took two years to plan and four years to build.

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Macallan distills about 11 million liters of spirit per year (nearly 3 million gallons).

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There are 36 copper-pot stills in Macallan's distillery.

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The new building remains on the Macallan estate in Craigellachie, Speyside, in Scotland.  

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The five undulations in the distillery roof mimic the surrounding hills.

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The grass-clad roof is shaped from Scandinavian pine.

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Macallan is a distillery that's not so much in the environment as part of it.

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There are two distilleries in Craigellachie, as well as the Speyside Cooperage.

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The Spey River lends its waters to many distilleries in the region.

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Macallan started focusing on single malt in 1965.

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Whisky is a hugely important part of Scotland's economy and culture.

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Edinburgh's whisky scene is livening up with the addition of a new vertical distillery in Leith.

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The Port of Leith distillery will have room for an onsite lab when it's built.

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The Port of Leith distillery hopes to focus on whisky vintages rather than aiming for year-on-year consistency.

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Port of Leith distillery has been experimenting with finding new flavors by using different yeasts.

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Like many distilleries, Port of Leith launched its gin first, which distills in days and weeks, rather than years.

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In Angus, Arbikie distillery is just getting started.

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Arbikie is a single-estate, grain-to-bottle distillery.

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The distillery itself is housed in one of the farm's old cow sheds.

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It's a much smaller scale than Macallan, but that smaller size allows Arbikie to be more experimental.

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Arbikie is also making carbon-positive vodka and rum.

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The copper-pot stills are all handmade.

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Grain is one of the essential components for making whisky.

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Arbikie's first single malt won't be available until around 2035.

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All Scotch single malt must be matured in oak casks.

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Arbikie is responsible for bringing rye whisky back to Scotland.

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John Stirling is making whisky on the family farm he grew up on.

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At Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel, bar manager Cameron Ewen believes people should drink whisky however they enjoy it best.

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Researchers at Edinburgh's Heriot Watt University are experimenting with new ideas.

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The university's brewing and distilling course is producing some exciting new possibilities for Scotch and other spirits distilled in Scotland.

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Though Scottish whisky has a long tradition, there are numerous countries producing top-quality whisky, including India, New Zealand and the US. 

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Many of Japan's whiskies are very highly regarded on the world stage.

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Scotland has more than 130 whisky distilleries. 

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The Speyside cooperage is where oak casks for maturation are made by hand. 

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Apprenticeships to become coopers (barrel makers) take seven years to complete and are highly prestigious positions. 

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As well as making new barrels, the cooperage also restores older barrels so they can find new life with new distilleries. 

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Drink it neat, over ice, with a dash of water, or inside a big, fruity cocktail; how you drink Scotch is entirely up to you.

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