Edradour Distillery

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If you ever find yourself in Pitlochry and there is only time to tour one distillery, what a terrible plight, choose the one up the hill: Edradour. It is small and personable with a fine gift shop. The guide that took our group through was top notch. I arrived early at 09:30 despite my abysmal cycling and I observed this older lady with a cane arriving. She gave me a very pleasant hello and went on in. As it transpired, this lady was our tour guide, no cane in evidence. Just being around whisky is very healthy for you! She is a natural comic and responded to impertinent questions with mock ferocity and a “Coca cola for you!” When our guide was being asked in the gift shop what the little 200 ml bottles of whisky were for, she deadpanned “Those are just the right size for washing your pills down in the evening.” This lovely little distillery knows how to run a tour. We paid 7 pounds, 50 pence and sat through a nice video. Then we were given 2 nice drams of whisky in a Glencairn glass and told to keep the glass, a £4.99 value.

It was at Edradour that the inspiration for this College came to me.

An earnest young Swiss man who was touring through with his father asked me what my story was since I was travelling on my own. I told him that I was studying for my masters degree in whisky appreciation from the Canadian College of Whisky Knowledge and this field trip to Scotland is an essential part of my whisky education.

When the tour came to a close in the tasting room I confessed that the Canadian College existed only in my imagination. The Swiss fellow thanked me for my honesty, told me that I was most entertaining and bought me a dram of 26 year old Edradour which was one of the best drams I have had the privilege to enjoy. How rewarding for me!

The tasting room is not open to the public, but those who have come through the tour can linger as long as they wish and buy 26 year old whisky by the dram. My tasting notes give “buy them” ratings to the 10 year old Edradour, a nice light floral dram, the Sauternes Cask Matured, light, sweet, bites at the finish, 18 year old Oloroso Sherry Cask Matured bottle # 49 of 599 59% alcohol natural cask strength, vanilla, sweet, smooth finish, 26 year old matured in oak for 20 years, then 6 years in a sherry cask. Lovely, sweet, it purrs down your throat! As you may recall I arrived at 09:30 at Edradour. By the time I zipped down the hill it was 2:00 pm and I had done my best to know what the distillery has to offer.

Blair Athol

The seventh distillery on my visit has a basic and enhanced tours like many of the distilleries. The way that I prefer to travel with my flight home being the only certain booking, I did not book ahead to see a distillery unless it was the only way in to the distillery like Aberlour in Speyside.

The downside of this is the lost opportunity for a wide scope of tastings at a given distillery.
If you prefer a more scheduled tour, I would recommend you buy a copy of the book called
“Discovering Scotland’s Distilleries” by Gavin D. Smith and Graeme Wallace.

The big question then becomes ‘Who will drive today?”

Distillery number seven Blair Athol offered a 12 year old single malt as part of their standard tour. It was a lovely fruity sweet dram that I would be happy to have in my drinks cabinet.

Blair Athol distillery had Bell’s Whisky signs displayed prominently. This is a blended whisky that they help produce.

 

Aberfeldy Distillery

The majority of my travelling was by coach or bus as we call them in Canada. On some occasions a coach ride was not available unless I was willing to do considerable backtracking. This could make the difference between seeing one or seeing two distilleries that day. Need I say more?

Distillery number six. Aberfeldy is the home Dewars whisky. The grounds around the distillery were very lovely.

All in all a very good visitor’s experience. I tried the 12 year old Aberfeldy single malt.
It is a smooth dram with a good finish. I would be happy to have it in my drinks cabinet.

 

Glenturret Distillery

The fifth distillery that I toured was the Glenturret distillery in Creif. There were pictures of The Famous Grouse everywhere. When it was time to taste the house single malt, a 10 year old Glenturrett there was no Glenturret to try due to an “EU labelling dispute.” As part of the standard tour I was offered my choice of Famous Grouse, Naked Grouse, Black Grouse or Snow Grouse. I chose Snow Grouse. It was served cold and had alcohol in it. Tasting notes are pointless. Later in the day at a pub called The Curly Coo, I had some 10 year old Glenturret. It is a nice light whisky. I would be happy to have it in my drinks cabinet.

Glenkinchie and Tullibardine Distilleries

The next distillery that I had the pleasure of visiting was Glenkinchie. There is an excellent Museum of Malt Whisky Production located there and I found it to be most educational. The distillery is part of the Diageo pic holdings. If you sign up for their friends of malt whisky program, you receive a very nice passport that will allow you into other Diageo pic distilleries at no charge. This is a Lowland whisky. The malt is lightly peated and the water comes from a well that is on the property.

Tasting notes
12 year old Glenkinchie– a pleasant light dram with some fruity flavours
Cask Strength Glenkinchie-very flavourful with a bite at the finish due to more alcohol in it

Tullibardine distillery is next to a shopping centre. There is a coffee shop that is part of the distillery. It is called “Cafe 1488” because a king had a beer here back in 1488. They sold me 3 drams for 10 pounds sterling which was a good value. This was my most favourite distillery of the first four. The malt is unpeated.

Tasting Notes
All of these whiskies’ names start with Tullibardine.
6 year old John Black – nice flavours, bites at the back of the throat
8 year old Aged Oak – an excellent flavourful dram with a smooth finish
18 year old – a very excellent dram sweet and fruity with vanilla and spices
24 year old – comparable to the 18 year old. Two very excellent whiskies
9 year old with a port finish – a sweet dram to end with

I would not purchase the 6 year old John Black Whisky for my personal use. All of the rest
of the whiskies would be most welcome in my drinks cabinet.

 

Whiski Rooms Edinburgh

This is a tremendous shrine to whisky. I brought my listing of all of the different whiskies available in my home province of Ontario Canada. Then I brought out my notebook with my tasting notes on the whiskies that I have enjoyed to date. The third piece of the puzzle was the binder listing the whiskies available to purchase at the Whiski Rooms.

It is important to have an overall plan so that these tutoured tastings help to further the whisky lover’s knowledge and appreciation of this wondrous drink.

After consulting with Emma from New Zealand I decided to try 15 year old Benrinnes, 12 year old Deanston and 12 year old Pulteney

15 year old Benrinnes: lovely fruit flavours, a pleasant sweet dram ,part of the flora and fauna series
12 year old Deanston: a tasty and smooth whisky
12 year old Pulteney: a light coloured drink with traces of salt and a smoky finish.

The first two whiskies I enjoyed very much and would be happy to have in my drinks cabinet.
The 12 year old Pulteney was not to my taste. This saved me a trip to the north of Scotland where their distillery is located.

 

Auchentoshan

Auchentoshan, pronounced OGH-en-TOSH-an is another distillery close to Glasgow. This was the second distillery that I had the privilege of visiting It is a lowland distillery and practices triple distillation. I enjoyed their very well organized distillery tour with a nicely appointed tasting room and a large store. The malt used to make the whisky is unpeated. I was able to enjoy tasting two single malts here.

12 year old Auchentoshan: light in colour, light floral nose, fruity flavour
Three Wood Auchentoshan: light in colour, floral and vanilla nose, fruity and vanilla flavour

 

 

Glengoyne Distillery

Chairman Bill here with my distillery tour notes. A few short weeks ago I was in Scotland expanding my knowledge and enjoyment of single malt scotch. There are many very knowledgeable people when it comes to the topic of whisky. I consider myself to be an enthusiastic beginner who is committed to learning as much as I can about this wonderful
elixir.

The Glengoyne Distillery is located a short distance from Glasgow. It was the first of 21 distilleries that I visited. You would think that because of its location that Glengoyne would be considered a Lowland whisky. It is a Highland whisky. The distillery is in the southern part of the Highlands.

I arranged for transport and signed up for the tasting tour. This entitled me to four generous samples s of the Glengoyne whiskies. No peat is used in the making of Glengoyne whiskies.

10 year old Glengoyne: light colour, pleasant sweet flavour
17 year old Glengoyne: slightly darker colour, vanilla smell, very sweet flavour
21 year old Glengoyne: amber colour, very very tasty. it purred down my throat
15 year old cask strength: very tasty, sweet flavour with a bite at the back of the throat. The bite was attributed to the higher alcohol content of the cask strength.

These are all very fine whiskies. I would be happy to have them in my drinks cabinet.

 

What is on Your Bucket List?

When the topic of Bucket Lists comes up, many whisky lovers talk of travelling the Whisky Trail in Scotland. This spiritual adventure is one that comes highly recommended by the Canadian College of Whisky Knowledge.

Chairman Bill took extensive field notes of the 96 different whiskies he enjoyed as he toured 21 distilleries and various whisky bars and pubs on the Whisky Trail. The issue of record keeping was managed by a spiral bound note book and a listing of the whiskies available for purchase in Ontario Canada. The Whisky Life List is an ambitious project in record keeping using a web based application. This is presently being finalized by our technical support team.

When you walk into a whisky bar, set your notebook and Ontario Whisky Listings on the counter and then ask for their whisky binder, they know that you mean business. It’s also a great conversation starter. The process is one of elimination. If you can buy a whisky in Canada and/or you have sampled that whisky, on to a new whisky.

You may enjoy the e-book One Canadian, One Scotch, and One Beer. This is the write up of Chairman Bill’s solo adventures in Scotland and it may be of interest to the whisky enthusiasts who have visiting Scotland on their bucket list. The preview of this e-book is part of the college’s webpage.

United by the Love of Whisky!