Distillery Exclusive: Grace Gow Cask
Our previous Glenturret Distillery Exclusive cask, “Tòiseach ùr (New Beginnings)”, celebrated our exciting new ownership as we were acquired by a joint venture led by The Lalique group, a French luxury lifestyle company, best known for their links to brands such as The Macallan Whisky, Petron Tequila & Beluga Vodka. This new ownership has led us to undertake the largest investigation into our history ever undertaken and our findings so far have been filled with wonderful and interesting gems of information that we are very excited to reveal for the first time.
Our latest Hand-Filled Distillery Exclusive cask is named after one of the first recorded female workers here at The Glenturret. Sadly, her story ends in tragic circumstances however we wanted to document her life and dedicate one of our finest Glenturret whiskies to date in honour of her time here at Scotland’s Oldest Working Distillery.
Grace Gow was also known as Grace Alexander. Her mother was Ann Gow and her father was William Alexander and it looks very likely that Ann and William never married. Grace’s father was a merchant and it is not clear what Grace’s mother’s occupation was from the local records however they lived and worked in the Crieff area. Throughout Grace’s life it was documented that she had two children, Louisa Graham born in 1853 and James Gow born in 1857. Grace was a free spirit and an independent woman, she never married throughout her life.
Grace was initially documented in 1841 as a servant to the Ferguson family in King Street Crieff and then in 1851 as a house servant to the Gardiner family at North Town Kinkell in Crieff. After her servant posts she became a farm labourer at Ann Mcara’s Land and distillery worker at The Glenturret around 1861. It was very common around this time for people who worked in distilleries to additionally tend the land surrounding them.
Grace’s primary role at the distillery was to look after the Tun Room where fermentation takes place. On the 7th of January 1870 whilst in the Tun Room Grace very sadly through unknown means fell into one of the fermenting Wash Backs and died either by suffocation or drowning. The local papers at the time documented her death and talked of a “deep sensation, not only among the people at the Hosh, but in Crieff, where the deceased resided” showing how well respected and loved Grace was. We are unsure of the exact age Grace was when she passed away as the census documents and newspaper reports hold conflicting information however we believe she was about 52 when she died.
Our latest Hand-Filled Cask was filled at 69% ABV high strength before maturation and after 12 years still retains a cask strength of 61.3% ABV to represent the strength of Grace and the hard working woman that she was. We’ve also exclusively selected this cask for the wonderful flavours that it has developed over time which equally reflect Grace’s spirit. Her softer female attributes come through the aroma and taste with strong notes of vanilla ice cream and treacle toffee. There is a touch of spiciness to the dram reflecting Grace’s independent side and a distinctive yet subtle appearance of citrus giving nod to flavours found in the fermentation process where Grace worked. The deep, complex dried fruits and long finish are testament to the long and impactful story of Grace’s life, and we hope the flavours and her memory will offer quite a journey.
The Glenturret Hand-Filled Distillery Exclusive Cask Grace Gow
Cask Name: Grace Gow
Cask Details: GTUR 2007 #102 (1st fill European Oak Oloroso Sherry Seasoned 500 litre Tevasa Butt Cask)
ABV: 61.3% (Cask was originally filled at 69% ABV)
AGE: 12 Years old
The Glenturret Grace Gow Tasting Notes:
Appearance: Burnished Oak / Mahogany
Aroma: Rich wood spices lead full on from the start. Fruit cake, sultana, prune and dried fig follow with treacle and a fruity punch. Oak is playful. Both young and maturing oak take turns at appearing in many guises. Creamy vanilla and toffee apple (Granny Smith) come later with an ice cream ending
Taste: Mouth coating, fruity with a textured oiliness. The sweetness is thick and rich. Green oak is soft with ginger nutmeg and cinnamon
Finish: Full and long – Quite a Journey
Some extracts from local papers:
Crieff – Melancholy and Fatal Accident, Perthshire Advertiser, 12 January 1870 extract:
CRIEFF. – MELANCHOLY AND FATAL ACCIDENT – On Friday last a melancholy and fatal accident occurred at the Hosh Distillery. It appears that a woman aged about fifty-four years, named Grace Gow or Alexander, who was employed at the fermenting vats or tuns, had by some means unknown fallen into one of the tubs unobserved, and was suffocated or drowned. The attention of a workman was directed to a vat by the liquid running over, and he at once saw the body of the woman floating, and when taken out life was found to be extinct. The sad event has caused a deep sensation, not only amoung the people at the Hosh, but in Crieff, where the deceased resided.
Aberdeen Press and Journal – Wednesday 12 January 1870 extract:
A YOUNG WOMAN DROWNED IN A DISTILLERY VAT. – An accident of a fatal character occurred at Hosh Distillery, near Crieff, on Friday morning. It appears that Grace Gow, one of the workers, had been engaged switching the vats to keep them from running over, and it is thought that she had inhaled the fumes and fell into the vat. The overflow caused inquiry to be made, when the body was discovered.