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scotch whisky
distillation process
storage capabilities
Whyte And Mackay Oil Leak, A Blot On The Whisky Industry
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Whyte And Mackay Oil Leak, A Blot on The Whisky Industry

The Offence

Scotch whisky producers Whyte and MacKay were fined £9,000 on Monday 16th July over an oil leak that occurred last August. The company pleaded guilty at Tain Sheriff Court. The fuel leaked is described as “fusel oil” and the offence is in contravention of Water Environment regulations

The leak was from their Invergordon distilery and was into the Cromarty Firth, which as an Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is placed on a protected list and therefore was worthy of even further protection than the rest of the environment. (not to say that such a spill would be ok elsewhere!)

The oil was described as an inflammable byproduct of the distillation process and the leakage was put down entirely to the poor handling and storage capabilities of the plant, something that in this day and age was completely inexcusable in my opinion. If it was not for the alertness of the Scottish Environment agency and the fact that it was not the breeding season then who knows what havoc could have been wreaked on the wildlife in this fairly remote part of Scotland.

The Area

The Cromarty Firth is a large estuary within the Moray Firth to the North of Inverness, the so called Capital of the Highlands, it is breeding ground for many species of birds, some of which are rare visitors to these shores such as osprey, common tern in the summer and for overwintering birds such as greylag geese, whooper swans and bar tailed godwit.

The area is also special because of the variety of wildlife that exists in the intertidal areas which makes it a Ramsar site (an international convention for the protection of wetlands) and also a Special Protection Area (SPA).

The Distillery

Whyte and Mackay were founded on the docks in Glasgow in 1844 and specialise in blended whiskies, from the standard blend to some very rare and exclusive ones indeed. They proclaim themselves as the masters of the “double maturation” and of course loudly announce their emphasis on quality.

The distillery is very proud of its dockland heritage but of course they now have several plants, including the Invergordon Distillery, which was responsible for this 20,000 litre leakage.

Green Whisky

Many parts of the scotch whisky industry are keen to declare their green credentials, some such as Glen Garioch (producers of the new and rare Glen Garioch Vintage 1995) have been doing so for many years (Glen Garioch used excess energy to warm a large greenhouse development). Others, such as Bruichladdich on Islay, use similar recycling schemes to protect the environment and of course to save them money in the long run..

My Final Thought

It is a pity that Whyte and MacKay have blotted the copybook of the modern whisky industry with that potentially disastrous oil spill. It belies their claim of quality and their image is somewhat tarnished in my eyes.


Street Talk

Wow, I did not know they had this link of stuff to deal with in making Whiskey. thanks for the insite!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

The byproducts have their uses but not when leaked :-). Thanks for your comment Shawn

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks Cindy. The whisky industry is not a green as it pretends to be sometimes

Reply
  about 5 years ago
MarleneW  

great article Roger.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Nice article Roger.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks Mark

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Great article, glad to hear that there are environmental observes that pick this type crime up quickly and not when the sh... has hit the fan.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks Rob, There was a serious oversight on the distillers part

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Great article.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks TY

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Very nice article and the Whiskey sounds good!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thanks David. If you want you can buy their top brand at about £2600 a bottle :-)

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Sure get me your affiliate link for that ;) lol

  
  about 5 years ago
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