It has been the driest September for 50 years. No rain has fallen since 15th August, quite unheard of in these weather beaten Hebridean isles. Personally we have enjoyed it a lot; the summer has been remarkable. But our spirit hasn’t been so happy.
We use colossal volumes of water in producing whisky, primarily to cool the stills, but also in the mash. And we must use more in summer when the water is warmer and its cooling potential lowered, but by a cruel twist, we have less of it. We watch An Torran, our water source above the distillery, carefully. The long dry summer put us all on edge, but we were never truly worried. We have always survived. Until Monday.
On Monday we had to stop distillation. And wait.
For three nights, by the light of the moon, distillery manager Allan Logan performed one of his more esoteric roles, an ancient sacred ritual in the distillery courtyard calling upon the rain gods. And last night they listened. We have rain. Not much, but enough. The mash has started and soon the stills will be flowing and we hope for more, more of this glorious wetness, this water of life.
The rain is dead. Long live the rain.