The time has come: I’ve been working on this plan for a long time and waited for the right day. We leave Elgin and drive through Speyside. Here you will find the highest density of Scottish whisky distilleries. You can throw a stone and be sure it will land in a distillery window. Fifty whiskey producers huddle together here. There’s no better place to celebrate a bachelorette party than here if you can find someone to drive. And today Uwe has to drive.
For cost reasons, we only selected one additional driver for the car rental. So far I have driven every day because I enjoy it. But drinking whiskey is fun too, and I’ve always been at a disadvantage here. Uwe doesn’t look bad when I tell him at our fifteenth “full Scottish breakfast” that it’s his turn today.
The first distillery we visit is now run only by ghosts. Dallas Dhu closed in the mid 1980’s and has served as a museum ever since. In the rooms of the former distillery, we use original equipment to get an idea of the everyday work of a whisky distiller. A few barrels from the production at that time are still preserved and are popular pieces among collectors. Since we don’t expect a sample here either, we gratefully decline the invitation to a guided tour of the facility.
My special thanks go to the lovely ladies at Glen Moray on this day. I can taste not one, not two, but four of the good wines. “Do you know the 12 year old?” I shake my head. “Well, then try that one. And what about the 18-year-old?” I shake my head again. “Then I’ll pour you one too.” And it goes on like this.
I can’t hold back and ask directly what else is available, and a few moments later several glasses are lined up in front of my nose. My grin reaches the tops of my ears and I almost feel sorry for Uwe, who can only watch today, although I just hit the jackpot of the tastings. At the end there is even a glass of original Caribbean St. James rum that Chris spots on the shelf. Since both Glen Moray and St. James now belong to the same parent company, these bottles are also for sale here…. And ready to try.
It’s ten in the morning and Chris and I are already good at it. With good friends you have a sip or two. So we stop at Cardhu on the way to Ballater. The shaggy Highland Cattle in front of the entrance greet us loudly. Knockando also proves to be generous.
The next day we drive to Royal Lochnagar early in the morning. I don’t want to be like that and am driving myself again today, so that Uwe can also experience something from Speyside. The distillery owes its royal suffix to the fact that Balmoral Castle is right next door. As purveyor to the court of the royal summer residence, the resourceful founder of the distillery earned this noble title back in 1848 during a visit by her royal highness.
We’ve gotten a little spoiled by now, so we’re going without the free tour that we’re offered and are blunt on record that we’d like to content ourselves with the tasting for the “Friends”.
The lady who conducts the tours tries to persuade us, irritated, that her tour is definitely different. But we insist on starting the tasting program straight away.
The woman is only a little offended, but you can’t be angry with us and she conscientiously gives Uwe and Chris a sample in small jars. She looks at me and I shake my head. But then I pull out my hip flask and ask for a donation for the poor driver. My friends and the lady look at me in astonishment. But then the woman laughs and generously fills the bottle for me.
In the evening we have a good time in Inchgael. We have conquered a small manor house and I can enjoy my captured whisky in peace in a wing chair in front of the fireplace.
Our last days are upon us. Tomorrow we head to the East Coast and St. Andrews where we meet a pirate. – Chris & Alex