Cardhu Distillery

The Cardhu Distillery tour was well done. The distillery is owned by the company that makes Johnny Walker and Cardhu is an ingredient of this blend.

The tastings were also well done:
12 year old Cardhu – light, very nice. All in all a lovely whisky
Cardhu Special Cask Reserve – purrs down the throat
Cardhu 18 year old – darker colour and more flavour than the 12 year old

All three of these whiskies were very fine. I gave top marks to the Special Cask Reserve followed closely by the 18 year old. The 12 year old is quite acceptable, but it is in a different league. They are all welcome to come and stay in my drinks cabinet.

Cragganmore Distillery

The Cragganmore distillery is located nine miles south of Aberlour.
It is part of the Diageo group which meant a free tour with my passport. The malt is unpeated and the casks are ex-Bourbon.

Tasting notes: Cragganmore Distiller’s Edition – 12 years old and a wee bit more.
Aged in Bourbon Casks and then in Port Wine Casks for a few months.

Light colour, delicate nose, sweet taste with a hint of smoke. I would be happy to add this whisky to my drinks cabinet.

 

 

Balvenie Distillery

An appointment was necessary and I paid 25 pounds for the tour and tasting. Worth every penny! It was a great treat. The tastings were excellent and included some 30 year old Balvenie! It was a wonderful experience for this writer. All that Balvenie put before me to sample is most welcome in my drinks cabinet.

15 year old Sherry Butt, 59.5% spicy dried fruits
15 year old Refilled Hogshead, 62%, honey, black licorice, spicy, fruity
12 year old 1st Filled Oak 63.6% floral
Signature ,12 year old Bourbon Sherry Butt, refilled Hogshead amber colour, sweet, slightly vanilla, spicy
Double Wood, 12 years in American Cask, finished 8 months in European Sherry Cask, dark amber, lovely flavour
Carribean Cask 14 years in Bourbon Casks and then 4 months in Rum Casks, very fine dram!
Single Barrel 15 year second filling,amber colour, honeyed flavour
Port Wood 21 years in Bourbon, 3-4 months in Port Pipes, nice amber colour, sweet licorice, fruits, honey vanilla
30 year old, dark amber, chocolate, hints of plum.

When your ninth tasting is a 30 year old Balvenie, you’ve had a good whisky tasting!

Strathisla Distillery

Strathisla s the home of Chivas Regal, a well known blended Scotch. The tour was very well done and the tasting room was like a gentleman’s club with big leather chairs and couches. Chivas 12 year old. A very pleasant whisky. smooth tasting with a nice finish Chivas 18 year old. rich, smooth, hint of smoke, light finish Strathisla 12 year old. sweet, nutty, oaky, vanilla, honey All three of these whiskies are most enjoyable. They are welcome in my drinks cabinet.

Aberlour Distillery

The tour of Aberlour was well arranged. Reservations were made the day before. There were five tastings put in front of us. These tastings are all very fine. All are welcome in my drinks cabinet!

16 year old Bourbon Cask 54.4% deep golden colour, vanilla nose, peppery on the lips, short finish

16 year old Sherry Cask Matured, dark amber colour, very nice flavour

10 year old 90% Bourbon Cask, 10% Sherry Cask, 43% alcohol, amber colour, apples, pears on the nose, sweet, smooth, easy to drink.

16 year old Bourbon Cask, 50% Sherry Cask, Final 6 months in a sherry cask, deep golden amber, apples, spiciness, nuttiness

A’bunadh – taste from the past. This whisky is based on an old bottle whose characteristics were duplicated by the master whisky makers of Abelour. It is aged in Spanish olorosa sherry buttes for 5-20 years. The average age is 12 years old. 60.3% alcohol, dark golden colour, chocolate,orange,cherry,spice.

Glen Grant Distillery

The Glen Grant distillery has lovely gardens and scheduled tour times. I walked around the garden and ate a scone at the coffee shop before we got down to business.  The tour was very well done. In the tasting room there were bottles on the table and we were invited to “Go ahead and pour yourself a dram.” I do believe that this is one of the very nicest sentences that the English language has to offer. An the angels sang! The whiskies sampled were:
Glen Grant – The Major’s Reserve non aged – golden colour a lovely light whisky
Glen Grant 10 yr old 80% bourbon cask, 20% sherry cask – tasty and nice
These two lovely expressions of the whisky making art are most welcome in my drinks cabinet

Macallan Distillery

This was a very pleasant tour. We had a small group and an excellent guide. The Macallan is a short walk away from the Highlander Hotel and pub. A very pleasant place to visit.

The two whiskies that I sampled were;
Macallan Fine Oak 12 yr old – light and smooth
Macallan Sherry Oak 12 yr old – light and sweet
Welcome additions to my drinks cabinet.

Dalwhinnie Distillery

On to the Dalwhinnie distillery on the road to Inverness. From where the bus drops you off to the distillery itself is a 45 minute walk. I received a free tour, tasted three whiskies, and was given a free dram glass. This is is because I had my passport that was started at Glenkinchie distillery. The three whiskies tasted were:
Dalwhinnie 15 year old: sweet and fruity with a nice finish
Dalwhinnie Distiller’s Edition: more pronounced taste, smooth finish
Dalwhinnie Cask Strength 59 % Alcohol: similar taste with a bite at the back of the throat at the finish
All three of these whiskies are very worthwhile and would be welcome in my drinks cabinet.
This was a very busy distillery in terms of visitors. On the walk back to the bus stop I was able to find a restaurant and have a nice lunch. The bus took me to Aviemore where I stayed at a hostel. It was a bit of a walk but the room cost 27 pounds a night, so I was pleased.

Glenlivet Distillery

The Glenlivet distillery is quite a ways out of Dufftown. Fortunately I recruited a driver who was killing time before he had to head to Inverness to catch a flight. We toured the distillery – no charge for the basic tour – and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. The still room has a glass wall looking out over the highlands. A spectacular view. The one dram that we tried was:
Glenlivet 21 yr old – very flavourful and smooth. This bottle is most welcome to come and join my drinks cabinet.

Glenfiddich Distillery

Glenfiddich is the largest single malt distillery in the world. There are 27 copper stills, an excellent tour and tasting program and a great shop. The distillery is located right in Dufftown and it a short walk to Mrs Barclay’s B&B where I stayed. The four whiskies I tasted were:

Glenfiddich 12 yr old – light and pleasant
Glenfiddich 15 yr old – more flavourful
Glenfiddich 18 yr old – baked apple, toffee, cinnamon
Glenfiddich 21 yr old – very smooth and flavourful

All of these whiskies are most welcome in my drinks cabinet. Dufftown is a great place. They have whisky festivals and there are several pubs and restaurants to help with whisky exploration.A short bus ride away is the Highlander Inn and the Craigellachie Hotel. I found the Highlander to be a great spot to expand my knowledge of whisky.