Sunday, 25 September 2016

Vintages Timed to Perfection - Balblair Distillery

The North-east of Scotland is beautiful. On top, we visited the Orkney islands with their stubborn climate and two beautiful distilleries of Scapa and Highland Park, we drove through the rugged landscapes between Wolfburn in Thurso, the Dunnet Bay distillery around the corner and the Pulteney distillery in Wick, and followed the hilly coastal route down the A9 to stretch our legs at the Laidhay tea room in Dunbeath on a stones throw from the Clynelish distillery. We knew they were closed for tours because of a large reconstruction and expansion at the moment of our visit, but we managed to get a quick look around at the closed Brora distillery next door. Amongst a modest selection of disused equipment, the stills are still there to be seen, and for whisky geeks as ourselves, this sure was a treat. Our next stop was to be the Dornoch Castle Hotel, where we were in for another treat; a delicious meal, two nights of good rest and a bar stocked with mouthwatering, often old and rare whiskies, of which some appeared to be not often seen Broras. Ah, well, when in Rome...

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Curvy Copperworks - Pulteney Distillery

After seeing the Wolf in Thurso, we decided to drive a little North-East and discover a small gin and vodka distillery in Dunnet. Following the A836 from Thurso, we drove through the picturesque Castletown and snapped some pictures at the gravel beach in between the two villages. The small, family run, single still Dunnet Bay distillery, just around the corner of the beach, was in the midst of a massive update, so the place was covered in labels, empty bottles and boxes. For us, this meant we only had time to say hi to their small still “Elizabeth”, and leave them re-organizing the place. As with our short visit to the Orkneys, we like to leave something to come back for, so the distillery and the short drive up the B855 to most northern point of the British mainland Dunnet Head, are on the list to visit when we are back in the area to drive the coastal route to Ullapool.

For now, we headed back to Castletown, where we turned onto the B876 towards Reiss where the road turns into the A99 once more, until we reached Wick, to find the Pulteney distillery. We did not know a lot of this place before going here, only what the marketing and online stories could tell us about boats and the distinctive shapes of the stills reflected in their bottles. But what was so special about it? We have encountered weird stills and setups before on our growing list of distillery visits, and the not knowing is what made us more curious to see it, so we had made an appointment to visit a while back and were awaited by the friendly staff of the visitor centre, eager to answer all our burning questions to share their story.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Resurrecting the Spirit of the North - Wolfburn distillery

In our most recent stories, we have been talking about our travels to distilleries in the Speyside region, the Orkney Islands, the Kingdom of Fife and have made another side-step into our own country to talk about another passionate Dutch distiller. Starting from today, the next couple of weeks we will tell you about where we have been in the northernmost parts of the Scottish mainland, slowly trickling down until we have reached Inverness, and go yet another direction. Coming from the ferry terminal in Scrabster, we took the easy route following the A9, to get to the five kilometres long trip to our next destination. We could have taken a right turn in Thurso’s “city center” and follow the wind along the coast until we would have reached Ullapool starting at the A836, which must be a magical route. Whenever we go there, you will be among the first to read about that.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

How do we do it?

Being passionate about the world of distilling in all its areas we sometimes learn that people don’t always understand how being active in the world of spirits works. Many people seem to think that traveling in the spirits industry means you are intoxicated all the time. The truth is far from it. It takes up loads and loads of your time, it is hard work, but the people we meet are nice and we have come to learn it is a lot of fun but drinking comes second. So. We thought it was about time to get some questions out of the way we get thrown at us from time to time and clear up some things in the way we feel most comfortable; writing about our own experiences. Here are our facts. How do we do it…? Let’s do a Q&A - with us!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Catching the Distilling Bug - Stokerij Sculte

In the Eastern parts of the Netherlands we have seen many distilleries surfacing recently. We have visited the distilleries in Vroomshoop and Deventer already, and after another two hour drive on the A1 heading east, we return to the Province Overijssel, in the region called Twente. This time we are here to visit the small town of Ootmarsum, close to the German borders. In an former monastery - originally built by a rich wine merchant for his daughters destined to serve the Lord (times sure were different in the 1850’s), the Sculte distillery is built in between a variation of different small local businesses. Having parked our car during a typical Dutch cloudburst, we quickly walked towards the distillery where founder Gerard Velthuis awaited us with a welcome cup of coffee.