Well we’re now into 2020 and looking forward we’re already planning our Speyside distillery tour itineraries for the coming year, although it hasn’t all been researching and planning.
Distillery Tours have still been happening with a really in-depth tour for a couple of guests on January 2nd. But ‘the best laid plans of mice and men’ springs to mind when the planned tour evolved into a rather grand tour and tasting at Glenfiddich. Many thanks to Colin, the manager at Glenfiddich’s Malt Barn Restaurant for a stunning afternoon tasting some extremely rare and seriously mature Balvenie and Glenfiddich drams.
We also took in Tomatin Distillery for a half day tour during the week between Christmas and New Year. Considering the time of year a very busy distillery, on the day the visitors centre staff were all on form and more than happy answering a wide variety of questions from visitors. After a very interesting tour which includes Tomatins own cooperage a tasting of their core range certainly warmed up those that had braved the elements of a very windy, rainy and chilly day.
We also took a tour a little further afield at the beginning of February and Glendronach Distillery was part of the tour. What a wonderful distillery and a stunning 2 and a wee bit hour tour. Glendronach (Valley of the Brambles) was founded nearly 200 years ago in 1826 and has had a rather rollercoaster existence from being the largest excise duty paying distillery in the 1860’s to being mothballed in 1996 only to reopen in 2002 and now part of the Brown-Forman Corporation and part of their growing whisky distillery portfolio, including BenRiach and Glenglassaugh. History lesson over –
The Glendronach whisky – Sherry cask is the only way to go for Glendronach, both Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso casks are used and it’s this sherry cask ethos that makes Glendronach what it is, a classic. Rich warming and complex, the distillers at Glendronach have adopted a ‘no compromise’ attitude and we can only thank them for standing by this decision. However during the tour a few red wine casks were spotted so we’ll be waiting to see the outcome.
Other stops on the tour included Benromach in Forres,The Whisky Castle in Tomintoul, and StrathIsla where again their blending tour came up trumps. The clients were focused on single malts however a step back and look at blended malt was a refreshing eye opener for them to experience. It was an interesting morning when the tour came to the end and a blending session resulted in their own unique 20cl blended malts to take away and which we hope they will enjoy drinking (along with some fond memories).
All in all some very different tours. Varying from one focused on tastings and some amazing rare and unforgettable whiskies, to a tour of contrasts varying from single malts to some unique ‘blend your own’ malts.
SimplySpeyside Tours has a lot more to share and we’ll keep you up to date with things. However we appreciate your time taken to read this blog, and please watch out for further blogs about our adventures.