Working as a whisky warehouseman in Dufftown

 Empty oak barrels waiting to be filled with whisky at the White and MacKay distillery in Invergordon. The distillery is one of the largest in Scotland and produces grain whisky (from unmalted barley) that after maturation for several years in oak barrels is used in the production of blended whiskies  source Wikicommons using the Creative Commons licence

Empty oak barrels waiting to be filled with whisky at the White and MacKay distillery in Invergordon.

Entering working life in Lochnagar distillery in 1959 the working man had benefit of dramming. At a whisky production facility the brewer served out whisky which was clearic or new whisky. It was up to a week old and hadn’t been stored in a barrel yet. Warehouseman got the benefit of mature whisky as there was no manufacture of whisky at the warehouse. The practice of dramming was stopped by Customs and Excise due to the Health and Safety at Work Act and the introduction of breathalyzer tests for drivers.

A picture of Speyside Cooperage  source- Wikicommons

A picture of Speyside Cooperage source- Wikicommons

Description English: Speyside Cooperage Source from geograph.org.uk

This distillery used plain casks made by a cooper. He used put a burn on the cask. The charring helps to remove impurities from the new spirit. It can also add colour and flavour. The distillery bought in sherry, port and bourbon barrels. They only used the bourbon barrels once. A cask = a barrel in the whisky industry. Sometimes the distillery would be sent bundles of staves made of oak wood. They were known as “American barrels”.

Types of cask
Butt cask 115 gallons
Puncheon cask 115 gallons
Imperial Cask 130 gallons
Hog’s Head cask 50 gallons
American barrel 140 gallons
Quarter cask 32-33 gallons
Peg Cask 4-5 gallons

Additional information

Plain cask

A plain cask is one which has already been used for the use of whisky and so cannot impart any of the flavours from its previous content (sherry or bourbon).

Barrel making
There are numerous videos showing cooperages making barrels.

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