Sunday, 19 June 2016

120 Valves - Ballindalloch Distillery

Just about the first thing we did when we knew we were traveling to the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival 2016 was contacting Brian Robinson, distillery host at the Ballindalloch distillery to see if we could arrange something during or around the days we would be in the area. Coming from the A9, following the “Malt Whisky Trail” brown signs, there is no way you can miss the distillery with its humongous lettering on the side of the building. In May 2014, during our first visit to the festival, a couple of days after visiting Forsyth’s coppersmiths where the finished Ballindalloch stills were visible for all to see, we passed the distillery under construction and saw the stills had just been hoisted in that day. We knew we had to see this again some day, when everything was connected and set up properly, without us trespassing and see how the light fruity spirit would be coming to life in the Single Estate distillery in the Spey valley. Single Estate, because they grown their own barley, process, distil and mature on their own lands and properties, feed the draff from the mashtun to their own Aberdeen Angus cattle, and the pot ale and spent lees from the stills are used as fertiliser around the Estate.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Apples and Oranges, ehrm... Pears.

This time of the year is in the Netherlands known as the time to enjoy the Queen of the Vegetables, the White Gold, the Asparagus. With family living in the province of North Brabant, where a large amount of the country’s asparagus are grown, we travelled towards them for a nice dinner with the traditional ham, eggs, new potatoes and gravy solely made of molten butter. Calories a-gogo, but hey, so are most things that taste good. So, will this be another article where food is paired with whisky? No. In fact, there isn’t even any whisky involved...

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Frankenstillery - Loch Lomond Distillery

After a lovely evening in Wishaw, where we enjoyed a massive dinner at the Artisan whisky bar and restaurant with old and new whisky friends, we made ourselves ready to defy the Tuesday-morning traffic of Glasgow and find our way to Alexandria, where we had arranged an appointment to visit the Loch Lomond distillery. Glasgow rush hour turned out to be a breeze compared to what we are used to in the Netherlands, and in just over an hours drive on the M74, changing into the M8 in Glasgow, crossing the river Clyde into the Highlands region using the M898 over the Erskine bridge to Old Kilpatrick, we found ourselves on the A82 leading towards Alexandria.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Dalmunach - Chivas' new Crown

Pitlochry had been good to us overnight, so bright and early we drove up North to go to the Speyside region where we had made an appointment with Ann Miller and Trevor Buckley to be shown around Chivas Brothers / Pernod Ricard’s newest 24/7 and highly energy efficient distillery; Dalmunach.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Spirit of Speyside Festival 2016

After an eventful three week trip to Scotland (week one, two and three for the lazies), that we specifically planned around the Spirit of Speyside festival, annually held in the last week of April. Information about this festival is - except for the info on their website, hard to find sometimes, and for first timers it might be hard to get an idea about what to expect, and what not to expect.

I want to go there, but where do I start?
Well, at the beginning would be the easy answer, and in this case that means; have a look at the Spirit of Speyside website. There you will find the definite dates of next year’s event (as said, normally this would be the last week of April), and the possibility to register as a friend. Write down the dates and start browsing the internet for accommodation in the area - sooner is better. Except for the whisky distilleries, there is not much tourism in the area, and hotels and inns can be counted on one hand and the few rooms available might be gone a year in advance already. More luck could be found if you would look for a self-catering cottage with a group of people, which will cut your costs dramatically. Even better price-wise, might be to look for a camping or family park in the area, but we have not looked at this ourselves. Further away from the centre of the festival (Dufftown, Aberlour, Craigellachie) means better availability and lower prices in cottages, inns and hotels. Our last trip included about half an hour to most events, which was very acceptable.