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Edition #635  Friday, September 1, 2017

Jonathan's Trip to Scotland

Our perennial Employee of the Month, Jonathan, was recently in Scotland for 2 weeks touring his ancestral lands and the many distilleries found therein. His mother was born in Glasgow and he has developed quite a love of "uisge beatha" or whisky, the water of life. Being especially fond of the peaty whiskies found on the island of Islay, this was the first stop of the trip. Jonathan was kind enough to contribute a photo essay of his trip for our newsletter.

We stayed in the central town of Bowmore on Islay, home to the Bowmore distillery on the shores of the sea loch, Loch Indaal.

On the warehouse tour at Lagavulin we tried 5 different whiskies straight from the cask, including a 1966 vintage.

This is the spirit safe at Laphroaig collecting the low wines during a run from their 4 pairs of stills.

Laphroaig is known as one of the most distinctively pungent of the peated scotches of Islay. Here I am cutting peat in the traditional manner in their nearby peat bog.

On the other side of the island, Bunnahabhain has a reputation as being a lighter and fruitier spirit, helped in part by their exclusive use of sherry casks.

Caol Ila is probably the least-known of the 8 distilleries on Islay, largely due to being owned by industry giant Diageo and used mostly for blends.

The ferry terminal at Port Askaig is a colourful and idyllic spot, with the famous Paps of Jura in the background at left.

After sailing from Port Askaig with a stop at Colonsay, we arrived in Oban after an uncharacteristically smooth and characteristically gray tour to the inner Hebrides. We had the most memorable meal of the trip here, a veritable smorgasbord at a simple food shack near the ferry terminal in the city known as the "Seafood capital of Scotland".

A bus and a train got us into the Speyside region in the northeast Highlands, home of the 12th century Balvenie castle just outside of Dufftown.

The "Heilan coo" is a popular theme for many a tourist trinket.

Dufftown, known as the "Malt Whisky Capital of the World" for having the greatest number of working distilleries in the town and its environs, is twinned with the Saskatchewan town of Mortlach (also the name of the distillery at the end of this road).

In Speyside we were lodged in the town of Aberlour, and nearby is one of the very few remaining family-owned distilleries, Glenfarclas. Their impressively antiqued stills were just finishing off their run before being silenced for a week due to a recent lack of rain.

Here I am in the lavish tasting room at Glenfarclas, enjoying an exclusive guided tour through their hallowed Family Cask range.

The Mash Tun in Aberlour is world famous for their hospitality, food and whisky selection. They are in fact the proud owners of the only complete set of Glenfarclas Family Cask bottlings, as the distillery accidentally sold their last 1953-vintage bottle a few years back.

The river Spey has been one of the most important resources in the region for centuries, providing both a clean water source for the heavy needs of all of the bordering distilleries and an abundance of fish. This photo taken on the banks at Aberlour on a bright Sunday morning is also proof that the sun does shine in Scotland, occasionally.

We flew out of the historic city of Edinburgh. This was taken from the terrace of the Edinburgh castle and shows the juxtaposition of old and new, a common theme in the ever-growing major cities of Scotland.

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Edition #645
Friday, May 11, 2018

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