In Scotland’s picturesque countryside of Speyside, Travel +Leisure India went on a fabulous whiskey trail through Scotland in the distilleries of Chivas Regal and Glenlivet Distillery. Here, we witnessed the art of blending whiskey. Find out where you should go for the best experience! By Ashish Chawla
When you reach Aberdeen in Scotland, the unspoiled countryside and dramatic coastline overwhelms you. I was here to decode Aberdeen’s relationship with Scotch. My address was the 12-room Linn House, an idyllic retreat of Chivas and Glenlivet hospitality. The house is a 19th century baronial mansion built on 5 acres of grounds; a symbol of Scottish heritage and tradition and the perfect place to appreciate a unique range of whiskies.
The mansion is minutes from the Strathisla Distillery—home of Chivas Regal and my first stop. At the distillery, the rich, complicated flavours of Chivas, in different ages and blends, and the Strathisla single malt, which is at the heart of all Chivas whiskies, is shown to the guests. To make whiskey, golden barley has to go through three important processes,and while on this tour, you can see exactly how this is done.
Next stop: the Glenlivet Distillery. After the tour here, you can not only sample whiskey straight from the source, but buy a miniature bottle as a souvenir from the visitor’s centre. The best part: one can also bottle, seal, and label his/ her single cask Glenlivet bottle here.
Third stop: The Aberlour Distillery. Established in 1879 by James Fleming, it is a name that has become synonymous with the Speyside village. A wall in the Aberlour Distillery’s visitor centre has an interesting display of wooden framed prints showcasing the distillery’s history, that goes back 1,500 years.The Aberlour single malts are usually double cask, matured for at least 12 years in the finest hand-picked Oloroso Sherry butts and first fill Bourbon casks. I tasted some fine creations in the tasting room, sitting on a rustic bar stool that had legs made out of deer horns. As I walked down the picturesque town towards the Glenburgie Distillery, I spotted a family cross the bridge over the Spey river.The admirable riverside landscape and greens makes the location a perfect getaway for tourists and locals.
Final Stop: The Glenburgie distillery is the heart of all Ballentine Whiskeys. I was impressed by his kind Celtic hospitality, immense knowledge, and witty nature. He took me through all whiskey blends—from the finest blend with a soft, sweet, and complex flavour to the 30-year-old blend with a rich, oak-influenced and lingering flavour. The evening was spent discussing all the flavour nuances a fine whiskey has to offer.