Pär more or less designed the Smögen distillery himself and runs it single handedly. This makes for long days, and requires an ability to multi-task like a solo yachtsman. The mashtun and wash backs have been adapted from former dairy tanks. The whisky stills and spirit safe were built to order by Forsyths of Rothes, whilst the gin still and its copper worm tub came from Portugal. The compact layout relies on gravity; why bother with less reliable pumps?
The scale can at times seem small, at one point Pär explained that the next job was to clean the heat exchanger. I pictured something the size of a washing machine, but the heat exchanger in question was more toaster size. That said, the compact size of Smögen is for me part of the charm. Many have dreamed of building their own distillery, and here Pär has proved it can be done, in a way which means he has managed to keep control of every aspect. This is distilling solo, with a single minded determination to produce spirit the way you want to do it. So far Pär, as the distiller proprietor, has distilled every single drop of Smögen and Strane personally. Not many distillery owners can say that!
|Golden Promise malted barley, waiting to be milled.|
|The mill, with peated barley.|
|Mash tun, in the attic, so the wash backs and wash still can be fed by gravity.|
|Cleaning the mash tun. The orange draff shoot is actually a plastic apex for a roof, purchased from the local builders merchant.|
|Filling the morning's production, 106 litres of Smögen råsprit, or new make spirit, into a quarter cask made by the Swedish cooper from former bourbon barrels.|
|Rolling the results of the mornings labours to the warehouse.|
|Smögen Whisky staff photo - Pär Caldenby and Dante the distillery hound.|
|The weeks production.|
|Smögen Jubilee, distilled from 50ppm optic barley, matured in sherry quarter casks, and long since sold out!|