Single Malts and Speyside

As I sit and sip on my 16 Year Aberlour Single Malt I realise how dangerous to the budget it is to sit in a great old bar in a beautiful old hotel such as the Dowans Hotel in Aberlour. With a bar stocked with single malts from the region I do not ask the price but just start to work my way through each dram, charging them up to the room.  I will leave it to Kerrie to settle the bill tomorrow on check out Smile

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IMG_41872014-07-29 26 Dowans Hotel -  Aberlour

This is a great hotel with a lot of charm and the hosts are some of the friendliest we have come across. The building was built in 1888 and the hotel is a mix of rooms atop various staircases and nooks within the building.  The renovations are very stylish taking in a contemporary nature but still respecting the age of the building they are within.

After a night of single malts I started our day today, Wednesday, with a tour of Glenfarclas Distillery – an independent family owned distillery just out of Aberlour.

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We were shown around by a lovely Scottish lady and because they were not distilling we were able to see inside the machinery and ask lots of questions – a truly fascinating process for which we could delve into both the art and the science. Tomorrow we are visiting Glenfiddich to take in the smells of the process in action.

Glenfarclas was claiming the largest single Mash Tun in Scotland at 10 meters in diameter and 16.5 tonnes capacity.  It was impressive with each barley mash having 3 loads of water being passed through and it taking 11 hours for a single load to filter through.

2014-07-30 07 Glenfarclas Distillery - Aberlour2014-07-30 09 Glenfarclas Distillery - Aberlour

The stills were even more impressive and we learnt that each distillery has their own bent to how their stills are shaped and the impact this has on the whiskey.

2014-07-30 15 Glenfarclas Distillery - Aberlour2014-07-30 18 Glenfarclas Distillery - Aberlour

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Following this we went on to the Speyside Cooperage and saw how casks are made and repaired. The highlight here was watching Molly have a go at putting a small cask together – she eventually got it.  Plus learning that the correct name is a cask and that barrel is only a specific size of cask being 180 litres.

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2014-07-30 25 Speyside Cooperage2014-07-30 26 Speyside Cooperage

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After this the rest of the day was fairly mundane with a visit to Dean’s Shortbread Factory and then another two castles –Huntly Castle and  Balvenie Castle. Huntly Castle (left pic) was in relatively good condition and was one of the better castles for being able to walk the floors and seeing how everything was laid out – especially servants quarters and staircases etc.  Balvenie Castle (right pic) was in a heavy state of ruin.

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