Day two of the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival, April 27. After a good night’s rest and a wonderful breakfast, we decided to visit a nearby distillery, Glen Grant. Just a couple of minutes walking distance from The Station Hotel, you can’t miss the sign at the roundabout. As we were a bit early, for the visitor center opened at 9.30 am, we agreed to discover the surroundings of the distillery.
Glen Grant is well known for its beautiful garden and despite the weather, it was still stunning to set eyes on the Victorian inspired influences.
After strolling around the garden and the shop, gazing all the goodies, we went on a tour. It should take around 45 minutes, so we would be back in time to go to The Macallan Distillery. The tour was very intimate, just the four of us and the guide. We got a glimpse of the process and the history, very impressive. After the tour, it was time to taste two of their impressive expressions, the Glen Grant 10 yr and the Major’s Reserve. What a way to start the day.
Next stop, The Macallan Distillery
The Macallan Distillery is a construction site at the moment for they are expanding. The new building will provide a facility capable of increased production and also allow for easy expansion in years to come. You can really see that it is getting shape as it blends into nature. The design is stunning and it should be finished in May 2018.
On this day we were introduced to the “Six Pillars”. Russel, our tour guide, was telling us with great enthusiasm about the distillery, the process and the future. During the tour, it was not allowed to make any pictures, but you will never forget what you witness. The first step into the building, makes an impression itself. After the tour, we went back to the shop, from where we started, to nose and taste some whisky. The Fine Oak 18 yr, 12 yr, Select Oak, Amber and their new make. I can’t wait to go back and see the changes at The Macallan Distillery.
Next, Gordon and Macphail
As you might know, Gordon & MacPhail is an independent bottler and distiller of Scotch Whisky, founded in 1895 and located in Elgin. We went to the shop and joined a group of people in a room upstairs to enjoy the Cask Strength Range. Neil Urquhart showed us around in this range, as well with a serious face as one with a lot of humor. The flight of tasting was all about five whiskies, all bottled without the addition of water.
All the expressions have a raw, natural character, that can be softened with a drop of water. The range included, Bruichladdich 1994, Glentauchers 1998, Ardmore 2002, Caol Ila 2005 and Speyburn 2006. When you are in Elgin, Speyside, and you are in for a true amazing tasting adventure, just go to the shop of Gordon & MacPhail and let yourself go. Too bad there wasn’t enough time for us to nose around, but for what I’ve seen, it is impressive involving a lot of whiskies.
Last stop, Opening Ceilidh
This opening was held at Glen Moray Distillery. A Ceilidh is a traditional Scottish gathering, that involves music, singing, storytelling and dancing. This evening we started with a lovely three-course dinner and some special drams to prepare us for some sports on the dance-floor, accompanied by the band “Tweed”. I hesitated at first, but I could’t resist for the music was so full with rhythm, my feet just started dancing. It was very exhausting, but it was so much fun. I was amazed to see that James Campbell, the chairman of the festival, had so much energy, for he must have danced all night long. Great to see that everyone on this night enjoyed themselves with food, whisky and dancing in this area of Speyside.
Following next, Cragganmore Distillery.
Plan Your Festival. Before you know it, Spirit Of Speyside 2018 is happening!
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