Contrasts will abound on our luxury tour next month: rugged Highland moors and genteel St. Andrews greens; quiet, peaceful lowing of cattle in Speyside and the hustle and bustle of Glasgow and Edinburgh; a private dinner in the Quaich Whisky Bar at Craigellachie Hotel and Chinese take-away on our own free time. And on and on.
Our small group – only 15 guests – will spend nights in up-scale accommodations in Glasgow, Aviemore, Drumnadrochit, Aberlour, Dufftown, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh. As of this writing, there are two slots still available. If interested, please contact me through my website. One of the many highlights will be meandering drives through Speyside, giving guests a real “feel” of that lauded whisky-producing region, and how its geography influences the malts.
From Ben Rinnes, Scotland’s “whisky mountain”, one can spot a number of distilleries on the tour. During my last hike up the mountain, the beautiful glen of the River Livet was awash in sunshine (above), while on the trail, clouds and heavy rain blew in during a period of just ten minutes. Welcome to wonderful Scottish weather!
For the souvenir brochure prepared for each guest, I drew from the illustrations and text from Alfred Barnard’s 1887 work, “The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom”.
Barnard chronicled experiences during his extensive tour of Scotland’s distilleries in quintessential Victorian verbiage. Here is a partial description of The Glenlivet’s malting operation:
The dimensions of these malting floors embrace an area of 15,000 square feet. The malt men turn over this wet barley at intervals according to the state of the weather, until it is properly germinated; when this process is satisfactorily completed, the sprouted barley is removed to the Kiln by means of elevators. The Kiln is a lofty building being 80 feet long by 28 feet, floored with perforated tiles and fired principally with peat, which is of fine quality and dug in the district.
Also in store for our guests: a cruise on Loch Ness, watching coopers at work at Speyside Cooperage, visiting fabled castles, enjoying whisky pairings at fine restaurants, and plenty of “alone time”. On our last evening together, we will enjoy a paired tasting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society at The Vaults, Edinburgh. Scottish balladeer and whisky expert, Robin Laing, will be the guest entertainer.
This tour, September 10 – 19, 2017 has been organized by Panama Travel Consultants, and will be hosted by Ray Pearson. Info: http://www.whiskytastings.com