Chivas Speyside Trip – Part 3
It is now the morning of Tuesday 29th march 2011 and this is our second day as guests of Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard). On this morning everyone is moving a little slower than normal this could be down to the long day yesterday or indeed to could be all the fabulous drams we tasted.
Everyone enjoyed spending the night in the grand surroundings of Linn House, some in four poster beds, fantastic, but we were now heading down to the dining room for a hearty breakfast which was welcomed and washed downed with many a cup of coffee. It is maybe right at this time that we should give a BIG THANKS to Eileen Fleming and Carol McDonald the Hospitality Supervisors at Linn House for all their hard work and professionalism a credit to Chivas Brothers.
After breakfast we loaded our bags onto our coach and our driver Wullie (our driver for this two day trip) drove us of to The Glenlivet Distillery, everyone including our hosts chatted heartily about the unbelievable day we all had yesterday and how much we were looking forward to today.
In just under an hour on the road we arrived at Glenlivet and were met by Alan Winchester (The Glenlivet Master Distiller) who gave us the grand tour of this amazing distillery.
This distillery still has its old stills and wash-backs but in the new part old age traditions of making Whisky the have new locally produced copper pot stills and solid wooden wash-backs made by craftsmen in Speyside. You have a great feeling of space and light. If a visitor to Speyside or indeed Scotland has to visit only one distillery then this is the one, an absolutely incredible feet of engineering and workmanship. Alan’s enthusiasm for his distillery was unmistakable.
On the tour we headed up the slight hill to Josie’s Well the source of The Glenlivet’s water, here Alan gave us the story of this distillery. Now at the end of the tour we headed down to one of the on site bonded warehouses to see many a vintage cask stored in the traditional dunnage style. Then Alan gave us a big surprise, he unbunged one of the casks which contained a Glenlivet 36 year old. We were all treated to a tasting of this wonderful dram.
The tour and the tasting was soon over and we were all back on our coach heading for the Mash Tun bar/restaurant in Aberlour for our lunch prior to heading back to Keith and the Strathisla Distillery for a tour and the story of Chivas Regal and yes, another special tasting.
Lunch at the Mash Tun was extremely unusual, we all ordered our lunch’s and guess what, none of us ordered a beer or a dram, it was Irn Bru all round, could this be a result of too many drams last night. Lunch was excellent, an ideal stopover for anyone in the area and wanting a relaxing Whisky themed bar.
Back on the bus we got and off to Strathisla Distillery.
We are now in Strathisla Distillery and Alex is our tour guide for a good look round this old and elegant distillery. It was amazing to see this old distillery with its slate roofing and wooden rafters that the stills were custom made to fit around. They still have the old waterwheel turning, but alas, this is only for show it no longer powers the distillery, but fabulous to see.
We then adjourned to the Strathisla board room for a special tasting of the Chivas Regal range for this much looked forward to part of our two day visit to Speyside.
We entered the board room to find that the boardroom table was set out with a full range of Chivas Regal drams, all awaiting or nose and taste buds.
We tasted a 12 Year Old, an 18 Year Old and the fantastic 25 Year old, together with a new spirit, the drams were outstanding but the 25 Year Old took all the medals and awards at this wee tasting.
After the wonderful tasting Alex then took us all down to the bonded warehouse and then into the Royal Salute Vault, which is not opened for everyone and we all felt very honoured to be entering this incredible area. It did not end there. Alex asked someone to take the bung out of a very special cask, and Jim quickly volunteered, and no sooner said than done, the bung was extracted. Alex then proceeded to give everyone, a good sized dram, and an unbelievable Whisky this is, what away to finish the tour and our trip to Chivas Brothers on Speyside.
We finished of the trip by visiting the shop in Strathisla and Jim bought a bottle, his favourite of the day an Aberlour A’Bunadh.
So we all headed for the airport and the railway station on the coach, we all, again, were chatting about the past two days, and very soon were saying goodbye to our new friends that were jetting off to London, but Jim, Nicola and Chris carried on to Aberdeen railway station, Jim and Nicola catching the Glasgow bound train and Chris on the Edinburgh one.
On the train Jim and Nicola reflected on the past two days, could we pick a highlight, no we could not, the entire two days were the highlight.
All our hosts from Chivas and the Richmond Towers were all fantastic, we both agreed we would love to meet them again. The Managers, Distillery Managers and the Master Blenders and all the staff were great.
The overwhelming impression we took away from this trip is of the enthusiasm everyone from Chivas and Richmond have, they all love the work the do, the all seem to be part of one great family, the Chivas Family.
If anyone on this trip, guests or hosts, are ever in the Falkirk area please get in touch, Jim and Nicola would love to reciprocate some of the grand hospitality we received.
So to end, a very BIG THANKS to you all.