I had the great privilege of touring Paris during the winter of 2016. While I was there, I was gifted a most amazing bottle of whisky from Bretagne, called Kornog. A dear friend, and former protégé from the region gave it to me, knowing I was on an exploration of whisky from Europe.
Until about a year or so ago, it was my belief that Scotland had set the Gold Standard for what a whisky should taste like, then one night in a whisky bar in Montreal, I got a small lesson in humility. I had ordered a sample flight of European whiskies, from Sweden, France and Switzerland. Each of them were amazing in their own right! I had slow walked myself to an epiphany that each whisky needs to be judged on it’s own merits!
So back to the Kornog, it is from a region that celebrates it’s continental Celtic heritage. It is lightly peated, with a beautiful straw colour. The taste is as good as any Scottish whisky I have sampled.
On our ongoing trip across Scotland last summer, we were on our way to Blair Castle, and detoured into Aberfeldy, as we were drawn by the distillery.
We had lunch in the cafe, but alas, did not have time for a full tour. So the Customer Care Specialist let us look around the museum, and offered us a dram or two of whisky. The Highland Hospitality was on full display for us.
Some pictures of our visit.
The ubiquitous pagoda at the distillery.
I only had one glass of whisky, dear 🙂
I am a hobbyist sampler, not affiliated with any distillery. This is offered only as a travelogue of my trip.
I really meant to get more of my distillery tour up, but life got in the way! So, without further delay, my trip to The Macallan.
After we left Duffown back in July, we made a bee-line to see The Macallan, as that is the whisky of choice of my friend Bill. We got there only to find out you have to book a tour online, in advance! So we did not get to walk about the facility, but Jodie demonstrated the finest in Highland Hospitality, offered us a dram, and gave us a story just the same! Customer care at it’s finest!
The view from the parking lot
Don’t remember the age, nor price of the bottle, but it was old and expensive!
Back in July, I travelled to Scotland with my friend Bill, and got to participate in my ABCD tour of the UK. That is, another bloody castle, another bloody church, and another bloody distillery.
We threw in some highland games and other tourist activities too!
After we left Aberdeen, we made our way to Dufftown, to see Glenfiddich. I wanted to see Balvenie too, but seriously closed on a Friday?
They offer free hour long tours every hour. You can take a longer paid tour if you are interested! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and outgoing we got to see most of the operation of distillery, and it was very cool! At the end of the tour, you get to sample a 10, 15, and 18 year old whisky!
The symbolic pagoda roof
A copper mash tun
Cool old delivery lorrie
Nice Glencairn glass, for those times you tell your wife you only had one 🙂
“Hooray, it’s Friday night my brother, have some whisky…”
The word’s immortalised by quintessential performers, Celtica | Pipes Rock. From their song “Have Some Whisky“. I was fortunate to see them perform live at the beginning of summer in Thunder Bay. Believe me when I tell you, not a Friday has passed that I have not sung those lyrics in my head.
Their supplemental song is “Aye, Aye Capt’n“, which starts off “Let’s drink whisky all night long! Aye, Aye Capt’n”
I put up this website on a whim, it is a VPS hosted by the nice folks at RootBSD. On the surface, it just looks like another egotist blogger, but behind the scenes, I am really using for one of my other favourite activities, playing with FreeBSD.
Anybody who knows me, knows I am a big Beatles fan! And by extension, I am a big Paul McCartney fan, too. So after I learned that I was going to Campbeltown, in the Mull of Kintyre, I was beside myself excited that I would be visiting the inspiration of Sir Paul’s song of the same name, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFRcMYjut4o.
I discovered the week I would be in Scotland, Sir Paul would be touring in America. No biggie, I really did not expect to meet him, anyway. I would just have to be content to do a drive by of his High Park Farm. My host, Callum, from the Feorlin Guest House was gracious enough to take for a drive up the hills to see it from a distance. Off in the horizon is the farm -> http://twitpic.com/cqdhu5
The culmination of our studies and work all week long came together on graduation day. We wrote our test, took it up as a group and our marks were revealed to us. Our class all passed. We were the second graduating class of 2013. I graduated from Whisky School on my 45th birthday.
My friend Doug Ratz, did all the initial research for the school, arranged for the travel, and I got to come along for the ride. It was a once in a lifetime chance to be able to take a trip and have an opportunity like this! Doug and I have been getting into mischief (sic) for almost 30 years now, and this was just one more life event that we have been able to share together.
It was an honour and a privilege to be at Springbank Distillery for the week. Gavin McLachlan is to be commended for the professionalism of his staff. Frank McHardy made the learning fun. His vast experiences in the distillery world was imparted to us, and for this opportunity I shall be forever grateful.
My classmates during the week were Doug Ratz, Carina Mian and Alex Mermillod. As a group, we bonded very quickly, developed a great sense of camaraderie and established some inside jokes! Watch out Campbeltown, the 10 year reunion tour is already in the works 🙂
I would be remiss if I did not also thank my family. In part, this trip was a birthday present from them to me, and it brought a dream of a lifetime to being, the chance to finally visit Scotland.
We had some spare time to spend between sessions, so we wandered back to the Still House, this was where all the magic happens. The smell of the mash and wort tuns kept drawing me back.
We said all along, how friendly, knowledgeable and gracious the staff were. They truly suffered fools gladly. They answered all our questions, and were prepared to spend more time with us when we showed up unannounced.
While we were standing around, doing our usual Q&A with the staff, Gordon stated quite plainly, he needed two volunteers to shovel the draff. Wellies (rubber boots) would be required. Seems I was voluntold! The draff is the end product that remains once the mash tun has been drained. It is pumped to a holding reservoir, which will later be drained into a trailer. The trailer is taken away by a local farmer, who then feeds it to his livestock.
The draff is think and gooey, and simply does not drain, ergo the need to shovel it.