An old traditional warehouse that is usually one or two stories tall, with thick stone walls and an earthen floor, is called a dunnage warehouse. Each floor can hold the height of up to three stacked casks of spirit. Only a few distilleries continue to use this type of warehouse, the main reason being that it is less efficient in terms of storage and space. Some beautiful examples of this style of storage can be seen at Glenfarclas in Speyside and Balblair in the Northern Highlands.
A racked warehouse is a modern type of warehouse containing huge racks where casks can be stacked 15 to 20 high per row. Often the casks are palletised in an upright position, which helps the warehouse workers easily move them. The majority of distilleries have stopped maturing their whisky in the traditional dunnage warehouses at the distillery.
Instead the casks are transported to a racked warehouse in the vicinity of a central bottling plant. Most whisky in Scotland is stored in huge warehouses in the “belt” between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Our whisky Q&A is provided courtesy of SMWS ambassador Hans Offringa’s A Field Guide to Whisky: An expert compendium to take your passion and knowledge to the next level