Roadtrip II - Destination Dufftown
|Part of my Roadtrip to the Speyside with 3 mates.
This is Part 4 - 4 | Find 1, 2 and 3 here
The Balvenie Distillery
After our morning visit to the Cooperage was in the afternoon finally our visit to the The Balvenie Distillery.
Due to the nice weather we left our B&B a little early so we could make a small detour around Dufftown. We made a short stop at Whiskyshop Dufftown.
After this we walked towards the Distillery when we saw the Dufftown War Memorial and as the sign pointed towards Balvenie Castle we decided to take a detour through the forrest behind the Memorial.
A short walk later brought us to the The Balvenie Castle which more ruin than castle. So we decided to scratch this from the itennary and move on.
With a panoramic view on the Glenfiddich Distillery and after some lefts and rights we ended up at the The Balvenie Distillery Grounds.
It is made clear that without reservation you do not need to enter the grounds as they do not have/do walk-in tours. After a few minutes enjoying the view, and my obligatory "I was here" pictures, we moved ahead to the Visitor Reception.
Here we were greeted by Mr. Stewart himself and parked in a small but luxurious waiting area. Once the group was complete we were handed some safety jackets (orange for the Dutch guys) and we started our tour.
We started out at the malting floors, were you can see he different stages of the Barley. From the "raw" product off the fields, via the washing bassin to the sprouting and germinating version.
The barley was shuffled and turned during our visit.
Then it was off to the Kiln. But not before we passed the fire that is used to dry the barley.
After climbing up the stairs you could stand in the Kiln and feel the hot air drying the barly.
After everyone had a sniff, and pictures of the Kiln we got down the stairs again and went on to the Tun room.
Here were the massive stainless steel mash tuns and hug wooden washbacks.
There was the opportunity to taste the wash, but unfortunately there were no glasses. So you had to drink with your hands. This was a minor dip in a further more then excellent tour.
After the Tun Room we moved on to the Still Room. Here you only see the Spirit Stills... al four of them. The Wash stills are out of sight. However the Spirit Safe is in view. This explains why you see two duty safes in the still room.
On your way out you will see the coolers on the outside.
After the still room there is a short walk over the Distillery grounds towards the Cooperage. The Balvenie is one of the few distilleries that still has there own in house coopers to work and rework the barrels. You will have to look from a small balcony as you are not allowed to walk on the shop floor.
After the cooperage it is a short walk back to the famous Warehouse 24.
In the Warehouse you are able to taste samples straight from the barrel to make a choice for the Bottle Your Own. And if you are a Warehouse 24 member they will draw a small bottle from a very special barrel. A 40+ year old was offered as a treat during the tasting closing the tour.
Sitting around the big round table with the small tour group allows you to reflect back on the tour while tasting 5 samples from the range of The Balvenie + the special sample from the 40+ year old.
And then you will have to add your had filled bottle to the duty ledger.
Roadtrip II - Destination Dufftown
And then it was already time again to return to the Ferry with a stop over in Edinburgh.
We decided to take the scenic route and include the wonderful scenery of Loch Ness. We made a quick stop to enjoy the view and take some pictures.
After the quick stop at the Loch we moved on wards to the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition.
We did the tour and had a quick lunch. The tour will give you a history of the Loch, and the monster swimming in it.
And then we continued to Edinburgh to our B&B. and the HardRock Cafe for a dinner.
After dinner we found a new Whisky Bar were some of the bottles were not even opened;
After a good nights sleep we took on the the last stage towards the Ferrry, with one huge cup of coffee along the way.
Back home it was time to review the spoils. All in all it was good trip with a great score.
--- end of page ---