Friday 4 June 2010

Roll out the Barrel

Considering the importance of tourism to Scotland's economy you'd think it would be less of a hit and miss affair. Sadly, the industry often promises far more than it can ever deliver and anyone venturing into the benighted boondocks is likely to return laden with tales of hospitality horrors.

Friends were staying last weekend, so I got to play 'tourist at home'. At Babbity Bowster in Glasgow we ordered grilled langoustine. After a considerable wait they came out... ice cold. The waitress took them back. Twenty minutes later they returned... luke warm. We gave up and ordered pies, only to be told, a little while later, that there were only two steak pies left, but, if we were willing to wait even longer, 'chef' was about to make up a batch of sausage pies. Err, no thanks. We fared much better by Dumgoyne.

Glengoyne Distillery is tucked into a magical dent in a rather attractive hill just 40 minutes drive from the city centre. The water used for the whisky was once drawn straight from the waterfall.

Increased production means they now have to take it from further up the hill, same source though. They get through a 100 litres of the stuff making just one bottle of whisky. Much of it in the cooling process.

Glengoyne's one of the few Scottish owned distilleries left. It's production is relatively small. The road past it marks the boundary between the Highlands and Lowlands. This stuff is distilled in the Highlands then matured in the Lowlands.

A 45 minute guided trip costs £6.50 with a tasting of the 10 year old single malt. £8.50 if you want to taste the 17 year old too. You also get £5 off any Glengoyne whisky purchase in the shop afterwards.

We got to taste a 21 year old too. Fabulous, unctuous stuff. Dark brown, from the barrels, caramel isn't used here. They don't use peat either. Our friend bought a bottle... £87... but they throw in a bottle of the 10 year old for 'free'. Mind, it seemed cheap as chips compared to the recently released 40 year old.

I must have driven past this place a hundred times and always thought it looked pleasant. Well, it's better than that. An informative and engaging tour without too much of the bullshit that normally accompanies Scotland's whisky industry. Our guide seemed genuinely embarrassed at having to play the marketing video... all misty glens filled with badly acted monks and Rob Roy running through the heather. Luckily the product speaks for itself. Don't overlook the 10 year old, it's pretty damn delicious. All were better with a good splosh of water.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to see a fellow sign collector. That food poisoning A-board is a classic! The distillery looked a lot of fun, despite the obligatory glades and glens vid!