Thursday, May 25, 2017

Castles and Distilleries

Today we stayed within a 10 -15 mile range of our hotel in Archiestown visiting distilleries, castles, and a woolen mill.  We started the day by stopping at the Craigellachie bridge which has round turrets and was built in the late 1800s. From the bridge we continued on to the Macallan distillery. We got there just when it opened at 9:30 AM, but could not get a tour because they were booked.  So Bill decided to just do a tasting, however they couldn’t do tastings till 10 AM, so we spent time just hanging around the visitor center and gift shop.  After the tasting, we continued on to Ballindall castle.

Ballindall castle is more of a large country estate than a castle.  The lord of the estate still lives in the estate and is apparently friends with the Queen since there were several signed pictures from her and pictures of her visiting.  It is a well appointed home with two nice gardens and a very soft lawn.  Sadly,  you could not take pictures inside the home,  but you could take pictures outside. The interesting thing about the castle is they recently found a letter from George Washington to the one of the previous lords in the attic/tower. From there we went to the wool mill for lunch.

Ballindall Castle (cell phone photo)

The wool mill is a working mill and co-op. The shop at the mill sell hanks of wool yarn and finished wool products made by volunteers. They also have guided and self guide tours of the mill itself, which we did not go on.  We mostly stopped there so Cristina could get yarn and we could have lunch.  They run a very nice yet simple cafe.  The sandwiches were tasty, and the cola I got seemed spiced.  I think it is what a chai cola might taste like.  From there it was off to another distillery which was basically across the road.

Hairy Coo named Fluffy (Cell Phone Picture)
We stopped at Cardhu distillery, which is owned by Diageo, which also owns Johnnie Walker.  Cardhu is used in the blending of Johnnie Walker  As a side note Cardhu is single malt scotch.  Since, we arrived there about 20 minutes before the next tour we did their distillery tour.  I would say I have been on better distillery tours, but I did like the initial nosing the different scents found in the scotch bouquet.  The tour did include a tasting of seven of their scotches.  Neither Jim,  Cristina, nor I were impressed with any of the scotches. The only highlight was that distillery was near a farm and the hairy coo (cows) were out, so we could get pictures. We also found out they like digestive biscuits.

From there we went to go see the Inveravon Pictish Stones.  The stones weren’t what I was expecting. I thought they were going to be in a circle.  Instead, they were carved stones in a church entryway.  From there we headed to Balvenie Castle. Balvenie Castle is a castle ruin, that does self explore tours. I would say it is a small sized castle. We only took about 45 minutes to cover the whole thing.  From there we went to Glenfarclas Distillery.

Balvenie Castle (Cell Phone Picture)

Jim at Glenfarclas Distillery (Cell Phone Picture)
Glenfarclas distillery was the last distillery and place we stopped at today.  We did not do a tour of the distillery, but Jim and Bill did do a tasting. Jim and Bill tasted a 15 year, 21 year and 25 year scotches. While Cristina and I just wandered around the visitor center looking at 7,000+ pound sterling scotch. That ended our day out.  Tomorrow we head up to Thurso to catch the ferry to Orkney.

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