6 May 2011

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2011 Part 2

It was the morning after the night before and with an early start and a long day ahead of dramming between distilleries, it was vital to stock up on essentials, namely a cooked Scottish breakfast and as many cups of coffee that my bladder would allow.

The Spirit Safe at Longmorn
Our first stop on our second day in splendorous sunny Speyside, was the Longmorn Distillery. We were met by Ann Miller (International Brand Ambassador for Chivas) and Distillery Manager Neal Corbett, who would you ‘adam and eve it’ is an Englishman.


A great way to start the day
After touring the distillery which still manages to capture a quant blast of industrial eeriness from the early 1900’s, we were treated to a couple of very fine drams in the form of a Longmorn 16 and a drop of a 1989 cask sample.

As well as it being the second day of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival there was also a bit of a royal wedding shindig happing back in London, so to please all the royalists in the group we then headed to the world famous Highlander Inn to watch the much hyped nuptials of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton.

A Wedding pitstop at The Highlander Inn

Whilst at the Highlander Inn we thought it would only be rude not to peruse through their fine collection of single malts and other fine whiskies from around the world. Infact so much so we though it would only be ruder if we didn’t have a dram or two from the said collection, so myself and Neil from Caskstrength both opted for a drop of the highly dramtabulous ‘Friends of Oak Glenlivet 1977’.

Home from Home

After all the royal shenanigans it was time to head to The Glenlivet Distillery. It barely seemed like a day since our last visit, oh it was. This time we we’re heading for a Distillery Masterclass with Master Distiller Alan Winchester. A man whose smile is so infectious, he single handidly makes the world feel like a better place.

Passion in action at The Glenlivet
Alan enthrallingly and passionately guided us through the history of The Glenlivet whilst tasting six drams along the way; Glenlivet New Spirit, 12 year old, 18 year old, Nadurra Triumph, Cask Strength 16 year old and the Founders Reserve.

An afternoon dramming treat!
As if the afternoon couldn’t get any better, following the masterclass, Ian Logan appeared and had a bit of a sneaky dramming treat for us to try, in the form of the 1959 Glenlivet Cellar Collection bottling. A dram that's amazingly fresh and balanced for its age.

Yet again it wasn’t long before we had to leave and divert back to Linn House to freshen up for the evenings proceedings, a whisky dinner at the Aberlour Distillery masterminded and put together by whisky writer and gastronomy expert Martine Nouet

Martine Nouet and Diners at the Aberlour Distillery
All of the evening’s courses were paired with an Aberlour whisky expression, apart from the desert which was matched and married marvelously with a drop of the sensationaly subtly sumptuous Strathisla 12 year old. Before we tucked into each one, Martine would explain a little about the course and the reason behind each pairing.

The Aberlour Whisky Dinner Menu
In addition to a superb meal that included a selection of spot on whisky pairings, the evening also provided the perfect opportunity to converse with other whisky folk and festival goers alike.

But as with all good things, the evening seemed to breeze by far too soon and by 11:30 we were heading back to Linn House for a nightcap of Royal Salute 21 year old and a few hours precious sleep before the next days early rising dramanagins.