GlenDronach – Hunting Season Begins!

One of my favorite things about our single malt cask program is the actual hunt for the whisky, which starts, of course, with making my way to the distillery itself. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and you would think, coming from a small island myself, that I of all people would know that what looks to be a short distance on the map is not necessarily the case. We discovered this once again on our second annual trip to Scotland, which began on a frigid Monday morning at Edinburgh airport in April.

We started by driving out of Edinburgh, across the Firth of Forth in the direction of Pitlochry. Once you cross the bridge and get through the usual roadworks, the countryside opens up and makes for a spectacular drive. Our intention was to stop in Pitlochry for a meal as we were famished after our long haul flights. However, we were somewhat impeded on our route north. It seems that every pheasant in Scotland had decided that today was the day that it was going to roll the dice and play the “Why did the pheasant cross the road?” game. Inevitably somebody was going to get hurt, and lo and behold after a few near misses, one cocky bird decided that he was the king of the road. It was like a scene out Monty Python’s “Ministry of Silly Walks.” Out he came with the goose step and before anyone could get a word out, he was history. My sales rep Kevin, my wife Doria and myself were all quiet after that, until we stopped at a little pub in Pitlochry and I ordered the special for the day. You guessed it- pheasant stew!

To put things in perspective, Scotland is roughly the size of Indiana. And that’s where the similarity begins and ends. Scotland, like Ireland, is crisscrossed by a series of small roads with motorways (expressways) found only around the main cities. Therefore getting from A to B in a reasonable amount of time can be quite a challenge. However we knew that we were getting close to whisky country as we made our way through the northern part of the Cairngorm National Park, as every second lorry was in some shape or form associated with whisky. I would need a drink after sitting behind this lorry for 10 miles on narrow twisty country roads!

Wikipedia says that GlenDronach Distillery is located by Forgue (rhymes with Morgue!) near the town of Huntly. I would like to clarify that GlenDronach is actually near nowhere. And it certainly isn’t near Huntly, at least that’s what we decided as we rolled in the distillery’s gates as the light quickly faded. We’d made it with 6 minutes to spare before the last worker left for the evening. An hour later we were sitting in the Bognie Arms Hotel, the tiniest restaurant that I have ever seen, with seating for about six small people, tucking into a mountain of high-calorie food. Ah Scotland, it was good to be back! A wee dram back at the old Brewers Cottage (our accommodation) at the distillery and then it was sleepy time with a busy whisky day tomorrow; where the hunt would begin!

Sláinte, Denis

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 Vine & Table #301