Let us take a few more glimpses of various distilleries visited on the recent trip to Scotland.
First, let’s clarify my frequently used “Friends of the Malts” moniker.
If you visit any of the 12 distilleries owned by Diageo, you can sign up for being a “friend” of their entire collection. You get a “passport” that can be stamped with a “visa” at each of the distilleries that you visit. The benefits of the membership are mainly the waived fees for a standard distillery tour and/or an extra complimentary dram to taste.
Here are the bottles for half of the lineup.
When you get the last of the distilleries stamped in your passport, you receive a small gift which has little value beyond commemorative. I have been to eight out of twelve, and the next trip will likely cover the remaining four.
Here is me making a face that suggests a pithy remark to one of my travelling buddies.
This was before our very first dram for that day, so maybe I was just anxious to get started.
Laphroaig displays “opinions” regarding its whisky throughout the distillery.
Not all of them can be technically called praises.
The next photograph already featured on Facebook. It shows me making a contribution to the whisky-making at Laphroaig.
Contrary to common misconception, what I am holding is not exactly a spade. The correct term is turf spade or peat spade, and it is used to cut the turf into pieces.
I am sure I am not holding it correctly either.
Other distilleries ban the use of cameras on tour, but Laphroaig allowed photography, so I can show you their impressive still room.
Conversely, Ardbeg has a solitary still as a monument on the plaza in front of its visitor center.
Almost all distilleries on Islay are located on the coast among impressive scenery. Here is a fragment at Laphroaig.
Seaside at Lagavulin.
And one of my favorite shots, at Caol Ila.
The approach to Bunnahabhain, which occupies a cove on the northeast coast, is awfully picturesque.
“Mainland” distilleries are more often located inland, which offers different visual compositions.
Many distilleries display their most prized bottles as treasuries would display crown jewels. Here is a 35 years Glengoyne.
A 1957 Bowmore.
A 1952 Tullibardine that goes for the bargain price of £20,000.
Glenkinchie distillery has a nice exhibition of the history of scotch-making.
One room is given to a cross-section model of a distillery, which explains in good detail the process from start to finish. We were told that the model was fully functional – in other words, it could produce whisky if desired. In very small quantities, of course.
An on-and-off snowfall covered the grounds at Glenkinchie rather beautifully.
A former dovecote at Kingsbarns displays the first cask filled at one of the youngest distilleries in the land.
A couple of mediocre visits aside, not a single distillery left a disappointing impression with us. Here is to more such visits in the future! Sláinte!