Auchnagie Distillery (or Tullymet as it was later known) was located near the hamlet of Tulliemet, approximately 6 miles South East of Pitlochry in Perthshire. The land in this area is rural, a mixture of pasture and rolling hills, with ample supply of water flowing off of the high ground.
The Early Days
Auchnagie’s channelled water source drained into a specially constructed pool, with a sluice gate positioned at the bottom to control the flow. This construction helped to prolong the distillation season. Barnard noted that there was no production when he visited as it was too warm for mashing – this was considered the norm, as Auchnagie, like other water-wheel powered distilleries was entirely at the mercy of rainfall for power supply.
Commercial yeast was not available until the 1870’s, although its influence in fermentation was understood. Farmhouses could maintain a homemade yeast culture made from potatoes and sugar.
Alternatively they could harvest a culture from the remnants of the washback. However this technique was prone to contamination with bacteria, and was not an efficient way to initiate fermentation.
Successive owners improved Auchnagie’s capacity, not by adding bigger stills but more likely they developed techniques to lengthen the season, such as adding the water pool, or providing consistent supply of barley.
Remains Of The Past