9 May 2011

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2011 Part 3

From what seemed to of been more of a prolonged blink rather than any actual sleep, our third and final day in Speyside kicked off with some much needed sustaining sustenance ahead of out first stop of the day at The Glenlivet Distillery. Over the last couple of days visits to this distillery had been more frequent than my local bus service, but with plenty more still to see and yet more stunning weather, who was I to complain.

On the Smugglers Trail
We were there for The Glenlivet Smugglers Trail, a 11km walk led by Alan Winchester following in the footsteps of one of the most famous whisky smugglers Robbie Macpherson. The walk not only provided some outstanding scenery but also gave an insight into the historical trials, tribulations and triumphs of The Glenlivet.

Following the walk, we we're in for a bit of a blast from the dramming past kind of a treat. Distillery Manager Hamish Proctor had been setting up a fully working small still, similar to the ones used by illicit whisky distillers in the region during the early 1800s. The new make spirit which was eventually produced after some encouragement by both Hamish and Ian Logan was absolutely delicious and even had a subtle yet sassy white rum kick.

Small Smugglers Style Still in Action
The time on our itinerary clock was yet again ticking away, so it was time to head off to our next destination of the day at the Strathisla Distillery, where we were met again by the fabulous Ann Miller.

Strathisla Looking Sensational in the Sunshine
It has to be said that there is something rather special about this distillery, which becomes more and more apparent as you walk around. It has a wealth of charm and heart along with an air of relaxed religious-esque righteousness. The perfect distillery to end the dramming pilgrimage of the last three days.

Inside the Royal Salute Vault
In addition to a fabulous tour and a chance to see the contents of the Royal Salute Vault, we were fortunate enough to finish the afternoon with a tasting of some very fine Chivas Cask Strength Editions; Scapa 16, Glenburgie 15, Miltonduff 18, Glenlivet 16 and Strathisla 16.

Chivas Cask Strength Tasting at Strathisla
Following a fabulous dinner in the company of Alan Winchester and a whisky quiz back at the Strathisla Distillery, it was time for us all to head back to our lodgings for the last time and enjoy a few fairwell nightcaps. Including a drop of ‘Deoch an Doras’ which made for the perfect end to a splendorous trip to Speyside.