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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
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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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