Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spirit of Speyside 2013 - part 1

This is a holiday report!

Together with 7 friends, we had a group of 8 hardcore whiskyfans visiting this years festival - 7 danes and 1 american.

We based ourselves in Dufftown, where we stayed in a couple of farm cottages, Parkmore Cottages a couple of miles out of downtown Dufftown.

As we did in 2011, we started the festival thursday night with a little dram party, where we had invited a few people over. Teun and Dick, the Maltstock representatives and a couple of Canadian guys, Graeme and Dave, who are contributors to the Bladnoch Forum

Dramming at Parkmore

We started out with our first event friday, where I had signed up for a little bit more than I wished. The 6 hour event, which was advertised as two distillery visits, a lunch and a tasting + a smugglers walk, turned out to be 4 hours hill trekking up to the summit to Carn Daimh (570m), which was a little more than I thought. The weather turned out to be not very good, with rain, sleet, snow and wind.

Luckily the organisers decided to give the participants the choice the shorten the walk to "just" a couple of hours, which we gladly accepted.

We started out with a standard tour around Glenlivet distillery where we had a chance to see the new extension of the distillery

Glenlivets new extension

After our group had finished raiding the visitor centre shop, the rest of the hikers were anxious to start the hill trek. It was vet and windy, but after a couple of hours, which did indeed give us a few good views between the clouds, mist and fog we arrived at the top of Carn Daimh. Wet and dirty up to our knees. I was happy to be met by this sight !!

A dram at the summit, 15yo Speyside

After a short walk down, we took a ride with the Glenlivet Estate Rangers to Tomintoul, where a very nice lunch awaited us at the The Clockhouse Restaurant. This is one of the best restaurants in Speyside in my opinion. After the lunch we were directed over to the Whisky Castle, for a few drams and some more shopping, with the always entertaining Mike Drury, before driving over to the final distillery visit of Tomintoul distillery where we were greeted by Robert Fleming  and  then Tom Gerrie who gave us a very good in-depth tour of the distillery, finsihed by a wee tasting of some samples of some of their products.

This is a distillery is not normal open to the public, and a visit like this is exactly one of the reasons it's worth travelling to Scotland for this festival.

Tomintoul Stills


Angus Dundee Distillers plc., which owns Tomintoul and Glencadam distilleries has specialized in customer specified blends. But both distilleries produce a nice porto folio of single malts, Tomintoul even produced a nice peated version named Old Ballantruan, named after the water source of Tomintoul Distillery. Personally I have always considered Glencadam one of the hidden gems of scotch single malts.

After the Tomintoul visit, we were running very late to judge the roving whisky awards at Forsyth's Coppersmiths in Rothes, where we had to blind pick our favourites from three sets of whisky:

12 yo and under
1. Aberlour A'bunadh (#)
2. Strathisla 12yo (*)
13 - 20 yo
1. Glenfiddich Distillery Edition 15yo 51.5%
2. Balvenie Doublewood 17yo (*) (#)
21 and over
1. The Glenlivet XXV (#)
2. The Glenlivet 21 (*)
I marked my favourites with a (*) and the final winners with a (#). My overall favourite was the Balvenie.
Our group of 8 were split even between two of the sets, but in the 13-20yo group, we were 7-1 for the Balvenie.
Apperently the sets were pre-chosen by a panel, but I find it a bit suspicious that it was three sets of intra company competions, with just two companies present. I do think Speyside has more to offer...but then, I probably have tasted more whiskies than most :-)
After this we finished the night with a dinner at the Highlander Inn in Craigellachie, a very nice inn with excellent food, and extensive selection of single malts and real ale on tap. Highly recommended

No comments:

Post a Comment