The Balvenie Tour

All good things come to he (or she) that waits…and man, that happened to me.

I’ve been trying to visit The Balvenie Distillery since mid 2016, and I even had to cancel a tour last year as work got in the way.

Today that changed.

Today I found myself spending rather a long time in whisky heaven…and I loved every single minute.

What treats awaited me? What would I see? All those sights and sounds and of course aromas and tastes.

I was met outside by Charles Metcalfe at the visitor centre. Then it was time for a coffee and to meet the others who were on the tour. This was a lovely group of four from America and shortly after a group of three men from Liverpool.

So the time had come. We were told the history of the distillery and then we made a move to start… off to the malt house. It was great to see the barley steeping as well as being able to follow it through to the kiln. A real insight and treat…I had been hoping to see one of these processes, but not both.

We then meandered through to the washbacks…the comment that made me smile was “and now you’re ready for whisky..” yum yum indeed. Being able to immerse yourself in an experience like this. Bliss!

The stills were a lovely sight, and then off to the cooperage after calling shotgun. En route we passed all those wonderful warehouses where casks sleep.

This was my first experience of a cooperage. All I can say is what a skill!

From there we then drove back to the visitor centre to drop the van, where to next?

Warehouse 24.

I was really quite excited about this.

Through the door, heavenly aromas greeted us. The dimly lit warehouse with the casks sleeping…maturing while we await their contents.

Upstairs we enjoyed some samples from a first fill bourbon cask, a second fill bourbon and a sherry cask.

Then time for samples back in the tasting room. From new make to a rather delicious dram from 1974…what an array of whiskies.

Huge amount of thanks to Charles for a thoroughly informative tour, and to Lisa and Duane…your humour and fun were appreciated.

Sarah x

PS I licked my fingers ๐Ÿ˜‹

Birmingham Whisky Festival

I was dreaming I was flying…

In actual fact I was flying. Flying down from the frozen North. Between snoozing, I was gazing down at the snow dusted mountains and villages across the UK.

Yes I (little Miss Spontaneous) had decided to squeeze in one last festival this year…well you would, wouldn’t you?

So, here I was in Birmingham for the festival. I had a little wander round Birmingham beforehand (to refresh my bearings.)

A little note of big thanks to Eddie and Vicky…you know why, and it was appreciated.

One of the first people I bumped into was Sorren (ocdwhisky) and then I think Mr. Boutique-y Whisky himself Dave. Had a nice chat with Jason (B Standing) and well there were a lot of familiar and friendly faces there, it was a whisky festival after all!

Hugs and greetings given it was nearly kick off time. So what was the first dram to be?

I decided to pop along to the Paul John stand to say hello to Shilton,ย  and I was very lucky to have been offered a sample of the new Kanya by Paul John which should be available in the New Year… Kanya believe it? I could and luckily other’s got to sample it too.

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I then decided to go for a wander round the hall… I have to say it was a bit of a shock seeing Sorren (#SOS – see Twitter) on the Diageo stand, but he was at home with Colin Dunn (lovely, funny man) and they were very busy…and I had a nice couple of samples poured for me at the Talisker…or should I say Diageo stand. I tried the Blair Atholl 23 year old and much later the Pittyvaich.

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I went and said hello to David and his lovely wife Wendy from whiskeytumblers…if you’ve never seen what they do, then why wait? They’ve also got a “snifter” now.

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I tried the Kilchoman Red Wine Cask matured which was nice. Then basically it was weaving in and out and sampling lots of other delicious whiskies.

Andy Purslow was amusing as ever and poured the Treacle Chest for me and later the Vanilla Burst and a couple of others too.

I also met Amy Seton and had a catch up…exciting times ahead for her.

I appear to have taken up residency at one of the small silver tables…the bloggers table ๐Ÿ™‚ always a good spot to gather ones thoughts and take pics of what you’re drinking. And to stand and take in the delcious nose of a tasty dram and just smile…

Properly met the lovely Vicky Osgood who I’d very briefly met at the Whisky Exchange show in London.

Anyway it was mostly drinking whisky…you’re shocked. I can tell! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ but also meeting some new friends and making new ones.

And I hope those that got some of my delicious fudge enjoy it, and it’s not too long before “nom nom…it’s all gone!!”

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So…till next year.

Big hugs, Sarah x x

Good Morning..

Yes, good morning…

I’ve been thinking about how best to describe my words when it comes to sampling whiskies. Will it make sense to a reader. Will it convey what I’m experiencing. Will I be right? I know I won’t “score” the or rate them as it’s quite a personal journey…

I guess I just need to let my nose and palate sense and taste them and let my fingers do the talking. From this a confidence will grow. I’m sure? Maybe.

Benromach Visit

My other Speyside visit on the 23rd September was to the Benromach Distillery which is in Forres.

Upon arriving it seemed as if I was the only person on the tour and I was assured (by a chap called Brian, who took the time to speak to me) that I would have some eye candy to show me round, this in the shape of young Seb. However, just as I had finished watching the introductory video we were joined by a couple from Chester who were about to embark on their first distillery tour.

We left the visitor centre and headed out, we were greeted by a truck delivering the latest consignment of malt to which we were offered to take a handful to smell as it was going into the store. Unfortunately there were not too many opportunities to take photographs on the tour. Once we were at the spirit safe we were shown bottled samples of the low wines and the spirits of which we were given a drop of the heart to rub in our hands to sample the aroma, and to have “clean hands”.

From here we went on to the filling room where we were just in time to see some casks being filled, so the offer of placing my finger into the flow and licking it to taste the whisky was a must!

Upon the return to the visitors centre I sampled the Benromach Organic Single Malt, this was a rather lovely whisky, tastes of pepper and sweet fruits with banana.

Glen Garioch

Today I went for my second visit to the Glen Garioch distillery, which is situated a short distance from the outskirts of Aberdeen in a village called Oldmeldrum.

I was greeted by Fiona who would later take us on the tour.ย There was an older gentleman on the tour whose father had been a distiller there over 60 years ago, whilst he himself had been a joiner working there. He told me a very interesting story of the “plumbers” share. They would open the casks and use copper piping (thumb to hold in the liquid) and fill up their flasks with whisky.

I like this little distillery, a lovely history and a lot of character. A definite must for any passers by.