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Debbie Major’s Best of British

The southern Highlands are the destination for Debbie this month as she travels to Scotland’s smallest traditional distillery to discover the secrets of whisky production. Then it’s back to her Hampshire kitchen to cook up festive recipes worthy of a dram – or three

COOKING WITH OUR FINEST PRODUCE Scotch whisky

The best of Scotland’s ‘golden nectar’ is incomparable in quality. Set against vodka and gin, whisky is expensive to make – and it can’t be made quickly, as long-term ageing in oak barrels is an essential part of the process. Whisky made on a small scale, the old fashioned way, is becoming a rarer beast, as distilleries grow in size and scale. However, after a little digging, I came across the Edradour Distillery. It’s bang in the heart of Perthshire and one of the smallest, most traditional distilleries in Scotland. I arranged a flying visit to find out from Andrew Symington, the owner, what sets Edradour apart.

FOOD HERO

Andrew Symington

OWNER, EDRADOUR DISTILLERY

Long-time whisky enthusiast Andrew took over the running of Edradour in 2002. “It was my dream to own a distillery,” he smiles. “One never really owns a distillery, however. I’m only a custodian, and this is my ‘watch’. My job is to leave it as good if not better than when I found it.”

Whisky needs five things: barley, pure spring water, yeast, oak casks for ageing and lots of patience. Sounds simple, perhaps, but it’s a finely honed skill, and Edradour, 190 years old this year, uses equipment that gives the distillery the air of a living museum – it has Scotland’s smallest traditional copper still.

Andrew shows me around, explaining how the whisky is transformed from malted barley via a secretive distillation process into a pure, clean spirit that’s aged in wooden casks. He’s kept the old traditions, while creating new styles of whisky – there are now 25 ‘expressions’ or styles of Edradour.

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About delicious. Magazine

The Christmas & New year Delicious fulfils all your festive cooking needs. As well as our best-ever big day lunch, there are gifts for foodies, Christmas shortcuts, and three wise men – Hugh F-W, John Torode and Nigel Slater bearing recipes and tips. There are also cocktails and canapés, dramatic desserts, GBBO's Frances Quinn's cake styling and frangipane mince pies. And because there’s still regular cooking to do, we’ve included a Timesaver Meal Planner, too.