Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Scotland Days 4-6
Been a while. Day 4 was a travel day, but we got some stuff done early. Drove the A95 to near Fogwatt and discovered the small drive that leads to Coleburn distillery. A distillery from 1897 until 1985, it was important for production experiments for DCL (now Diageo) but lost as so many others were to the economic downturn and sinking popularity of whisky in the 80's. It's now being renovated as a B&B/Restaurant/event space for live music by a Scottish musician called Mark Winchester. The grounds will make a beautiful resort, alas, no distilling will take place. Next we went to Aberlour, a pretty place set at the Aber (east coast Gaelic for "opening") of the river Lour, where it flows into the Spey. This reminded my just how good a'Bunahd (original) is. Drove all day after that to Ayr.
Day 5 morning was spent at AD Rattray Whisky Shop. Under the ownership of Tim Morrison (think Morrison Bowmore) and the direction of Nick White, this is a company that will be heard from in the US. The whiskies are excellent, the conversation with Tim even better. It's always great to have a chance to talk and ask questions to a person with such a deep history in the business. Particularly good were a 1991 Auchroisk, a 1997 Glen Grant, a 1992 Glentauchers, a 1991 Glen Garioch and a 1996 Bowmore. I hope to see all of these available soon in the US.
Then met with Stewart Laing and saw the new headquarters of Hunter Laing, his new venture with his sons Scott and Andrew. After a generation Stewart has parted ways with Douglas Laing and his brother Fred, moving Old Malt Cask, Douglas of Drumlanrig and adding First Editions with him. We wish both the best. Got to dig around in the first samples that will be entered into the new tasting room, as always found a nice Lochnagar, Inchgower and a Glenallechie 2005 that was quite mature for its age. Keep an eye on the blog for breaking news about new entries and possible special projects with these folks.
Day 6, I went to a chorale concert at the Royal Conservatiore of Scotland, i.e., I took a day off and hung out with good friends Steve and Kyoko Galloway and their kids. Had some great curry....