The Malt Whisky Trail
Have you ever thought about making a whisky holiday pilgrimage to visit some of the most famous names in whisky? I bet you have! There’s quite a few different trips you could do, from island hopping, to mammoth tours all over Scotland… but one great way to see a bunch of great distilleries, along side some fantastic visitor attractions, is to do The Malt Whisky Trail.
The Trail is based around the Speyside area, taking in such names as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glen Moray and Strathisla, amongst others (go here for the full list). Depending on your time in the area you can always complete the whole list of recommended Trail visits, and could probably fit in a few others as well (let’s face it, in Speyside you can literally throw a stone in any direction and pretty much hit a distillery!).
A visit to Balblair
(plus a review of the 1990 vintage)
This was originally written in 2015, and I totally forgot to post it! It was based on a visit a few years ago, but I’ve been back twice since then…
If any of you reading this have followed my trips over the years up to Scotland then you might know that Inverness is one of my favourite places, it feels like a home from home to me – there’s some definite similarities to where I live in the South West. As luck would happen to have it, I also love the whisky produced around this area… it’s not overly far to get down to Speyside, but also when heading north you’ll find some great distilleries producing fine products.
Recently I was lucky enough to be invited up to visit The Glenrothes distillery. There’s a few things I want to quickly clear up before I continue… Firstly, The Glenrothes distillery is in Rothes, Speyside…. Not Glenrothes, Fife. Secondly, it’s a brand owned by Berry Brothers & Rudd (BBR)… but the distillery itself is owned and run by the Edrington Group, who produce the spirit for and on behalf of BBR. There’s not many arrangements like that in the whisky industry!
So, I’ve been on a Last Great Malts trip, kindly put on by Dewar’s… To read about day one of the trip, go here.
Day 2, and it’s a bright and early start. Actually, I tell a lie, it’s an early start with a sore head, but a good full Scottish breakfast and coffee later and the world seems just about right again. Which is a good thing as we’re straight back onto the coach for the next part of our tour. It’s a different coach to yesterday, we won’t mention the mishap the day before.
Last week I was one of a lucky few to be invited up to Scotland by Dewar’s to look around their distilleries. Termed the ‘Last Great Malts’, Dewar’s have taken the step to release single malt whiskies from their distilleries which, until now have mostly only been used in blending or seen as single malts in the independent bottlers world.
This is great news within the category because Dewar’s are rather going against the grain here… their releases all have age statements, and where the bottles are new to market they’re being released at 46% non chill filtered and with no colour, with existing releases (Aberfeldy 12yo for example) being changed over time to match. Big congrats to Dewar’s for this as many other brands at the moment are increasingly releasing more and more no age statement whiskies which are filtered, coloured and reduced to within an inch of their lives with water.
Recently there was a press trip to various Inver House Distillers Ltd distilleries, and being the kind folk that they are they had noticed I was on holiday in Inverness for the week and so invited me up for the day to join in the fun at Old Pulteney distillery, lucky me!
I didn’t have to be asked twice, I immediately hired a car and when the day came enjoyed the 2hr+ trip up north along the coast… as with most driving in Scotland the time flew by because the scenery is so amazing.
My drambassador’s trip to Glen Garioch
Now, where do I start? I’m no article writer and my brain isn’t what it once was… So I reckon we’ll just walk through my packed couple of days and randomly jump from one bit to another, how does that sound? Good, I’m glad you agree. You’ll probably get bored reading mind you, but give it a go eh?
Our last full day on Islay (and Jura) today, off in the morning back to reality! Today’s trips included Jura Distillery, Islay Ales and finally Bruichladdich.
So… Day 3. The southerly distilleries. Some sun, some drams and some pictures (at least I took lots, none for here till I’m home to upload them! – Crappy O2)
Ok, so, I’ve already written notes for day 2 on Islay, but my buggering iPhone didn’t post it and then deleted it, grr. So shorter notes below as I try remember what I got up to…