the head, the heart, and the tail

Today was whisky day, and the plan was to hit a few distilleries since we were in heart of the whisky trail. While directing Karen everywhere in Aberlour except our hotel the previous night, we had ended up in the Aberlour distillery parking lot a couple of times. Karen suggested trying it first, and it was a great pick.

Aberlour runs only two tours a day, and we lucked out and showed up fifteen minutes before the first of the day started. We further lucked out by being the only people there for the tour, resulting in a highly personalised overview of the distillery, a history of whisky, and the competitive scene of Scottish whisky. The tour was finished with a tasting of whisky stratight from the still, from the cask, and as a finished product. Gavin was our guide, and spent close to three hours with us.

We then headed back to Dufftown, the whisky capital of the world, to see the Glenfiddich, the most-consumed single malt in the world. The distillery is also one of the only independant, family-owned distilleries remaining in Scotland. Glenfiddich maintains control over every step of the process from the springwater (they own the land the spring is on) through storage (they have on-site coopers) and bottling. A huge operation, and everything about the tour gave the impression of how seriously they took the product and how important it is to them.

From there we headed up to Elgin, located a mile or so south of the North Sea. We navigated a whack of roundabouts, and found ourselves at the ruins of the Elgin Cathedral. The ruins are huge, and give a very good idea just how big it was in the 16th century – the last time it stood active.

We climbed both towers and were rewarderd with a spectacular view of Elgin and some of the surrounding countryside. We then discovered we were only a minute or so away from the B and B, so checked in and grabbed some dinner, and some after dinner snacks.

Tomorrow we’re off to maybe see a fishing villiage or two, and then head back down to the castle trail. The hotel is gorgeous (I’m running out of acronyms adjectives), and whisky and dark chocolate are an excellent combination.

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