Friday, August 6, 2010

Tuesday, Aug 3

We are to begin our scotch tasting tour today, with a hired car picking us up at 9.30. At 9.50 the car has not arrived and the phone calls start. After many calls a car finally arrives. I am not happy.
However, our driver, Andy, is a good conversationalist and a scotch drinker himself and things begin to improve.
We drive along the Forth of Moray, a huge inlet that basically cuts the Scottish landmass in half. The weather is mixed, with some blue peeking out occasionally, but we enjoy some nice views.
Our first stop is a now closed distillery called Dallas Dhu. A self-guided tour around the site gives us our first look at how the distilling process works.

Next up is Benromach, a small distillery where we pass on the tour and just go with the tasting. While here we ask about the ability to ship our purchases back to the States. They don’t and advise us that few, if any, will. Dealing with customs just got to be too much trouble and they have stopped shipping as a result. This is a big blow, as my plan was to buy and ship some bottles of stuff we really liked. We cannot carry this back in our luggage and the smaller distilleries products are difficult to get in the States.

It is here we learn about a company called Gordon and MacPhails, who have a shop in the town of Elgin, just up the road from where we are. We stop there and ogle the great selection of Speyside malts they have as well as some well-known Islays. In addition to being a big distributor, they also own a couple of distillers, including the just visited Benromach. We taste a couple of private labels that are only available in the shop. The malts are pretty good and we are disappointed that we won’t be able to buy any. We get the contact info for the corporate office so we can find out whom they sell to in the Bay Area.

A quick lunch and its on to our final stop, a small distillery called Ben Moray. Here I take the tour so I can see (and smell) a working distillery. It’s a good tour and we get to taste a couple of malts at the end.

This look at Speyside malts (although, technically we have not been on the River Spey today) shows whiskeys with lot of mild flavours but not the strong peat and smoke flavours of some other parts of Scotland.
Andy takes us back to the B&B and we arrange to hire him again tomorrow. I do some research on the places selected for us tomorrow. I decide to drop a couple and add some different ones.

About the images:
1. Looking thru a cask with a glass top plate.
2. The barley bins at Glen Moray.
3. The tops of a couple of stills.
4. The cooling coils inside a still.
5. Inside a maturation warehouse at Glen Moray.

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