The Whisky Boys – A Summer Adventure

Jim and Jacqueline’s adventure started when Nicola and Scott dropped us both off at the Dundee Cruise Terminal where we boarded the Ambassador Cruise Ship “Ambition”.

This was the start of a fourteen day cruise.

We were both impressed by the cleanliness and atmosphere and with a maximum capacity of 1200 guests it certainly did not feel overcrowded.

On boarding we went to our room which was very pleasant,  having everything we needed. Unpacking took a few minutes, and we were anxious to find out more about the ship. (Well actually the bars)

The range of drinks/cocktails was extensive, this is the list:- 

Gin Cocktails including, Tom Collins, French 75, Gin Martini, and Singapore Sling plus more.

Whisky Cocktails including, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Whisky Sour plus many more.

Rum Cocktails including, Pina Colada, Mojito, Mai Tai, and Cuba Libre plus many more.

Vodka Cocktails including, Espresso Martini, Sex on the Beach, Bloody Mary, and Harvey Wallbanger plus more.

Tequila Cocktails including, Tequila Sunrise, Margarita, Long Island Iced Tea plus several more.

For folks who want to experiment and explore new flavours and cocktails without spending a fortune on flavours they are not keen on, the concept of a drinks package on a cruise is an excellent mechanism to hone your palate’s preferences. It may sound extreme of me to say this but this really is an “educational journey” of flavours.

As a Whisky Boy, it was my duty to search out about their range of Whiskies.  The main ones that I enjoyed were:-

Chivas Regal 12 Years Old

Johnnie Walker Black Label

Glen Grant 10 Years Old

Jura – The Sound

Bushmills Steamship collection

Our first port of call was Lerwick, Shetland Isles, (after an overnight sail) a delightful little town with a fine harbour and alleyways winding their way through this old town.

Jacqueline has loved the TV series Shetland with Douglas Henshall who played Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez. In the tourist office and maps dotted around the town gave the location of Jimmy Perez’s house in the TV series and other filming locations.   The town is delightful.

After another overnight sail we arrived at our first port on the Faroe Islands, Klaksvik. Klaksvik is the second largest town on the Faroes. Klaksvik dates back to Viking times but it was not until the 20th century it became the cultural and commercial centre Faroe. 

There was a feel of Jurasic park about this town with its towering mountains and steep cliffs.

The next morning we arrived in our second Faroe port, Torshavn the cap;ital city of the Faroe Islands, a very old town which is crammed with wooden turf-roofed houses. Shopping is a must with many boutiques lining the main shopping strip.

Two days later we arrived in Iceland. We have four ports to visit on the island. First is Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, where we stay for two days. Jacqueline and I wandered the streets of this beautiful city heading up a very busy shopping street, full of shopping, gift shops, restaurants, bars, and jewellery shops. Awaiting you at the top of this vibrant street is Hallgrimskirkja, a magnificent Cathedral like no other.

What came across when we visited the Faroe Islands and Iceland, is how clean the streets were and the surrounding parks etc. We took time to buy some souvenirs and pop into the odd coffee shop and bar a great day walking around Reykjavik.

Two days later we docked at Isafjordur. We had booked a day trip which involved visiting a geyser, a magnificent waterfall and the scars on the landscape from two tectonic plates colliding. A fantastic eight hours and very interesting as well as exciting.

On the next day our expected port of call was Akureyrl, but, due 50/55 knot winds we tried but were unable to dock.

Our final port in Iceland was Seydisfjordur. An absolutely beautiful little town with all the houses painted in pastel colours. It was beautiful to just walk around this lovely town. We stopped at a small bar and sat outside and had a coffee and a beer.

Goodbye Iceland, you were exciting and beautiful.

Meanwhile back in Longcroft Nicola was in charge of our home and looking after our cat (Bella).

Nicola organised a tuition/tasting for the staff from the wonderful Cotton House Restaurant. Nicola set up the Tasting Cabin and had six of the staff sitting comfortably around the tasting table which was setup for the tasting. 

The drams Nicola chose were :-

  1. Glen Moray – Twisted Vine, Cognac Cask
  2. Tamnavulin  – Double Cask
  3. Glen Scotia – 2021 Festival Release, Red Wine Cask

A great night had by all, all drams were grand and there was one non Whisky lover but after this selection, he has been converted.

So as you can see the Whiskyboys continue on their mission to educate, delight and convert as many newbies to the joys of Whisky at every opportunity.

Now leaving Iceland and heading for Scotland. We will be docking in Scrabster for John o’Groats, Wick and Whisky. Jacqueline and I set off for Wick and to the home of Old Pulteney Distillery. Arriving at the distillery at midday we were met by our tour guide Michael, a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic young man who not only shows passion for Pulteney but loved his work. After the tour we were invited to taste a couple of drams. On our way out of the distillery we passed through the distillery shop and I acquired a bottle of Old Pulteney – Huddart.

On returning home I was able to sit down and do a tasting of this dram.

Now let’s open the bottle and have a wee sip.

This Single Malt was matured in fine oak ex-bourbon casks and the final part of the maturation was in ex-peated malt casks, this allows the gentle peat smoke to be absorbed.

Old Pulteney – Huddart, Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Unaged, 46% Alc/vol 70cl

Colour…Sunset over a barley field

Nose…Salty sea spray, honey, vanilla ice cream melting on a singed stave, sweet and salty smoke, very inviting.

Taste…Sweet and slightly smoky, caramel toffee, more salty sea spray, sweet and salty popcorn, a little floral note, and some mild spices like ginger.

Finish…A little dryness on the finish but the sweetness and smoke are well in charge.

An exceptional dram, could be an introduction into smoky Whiskies. Priced at around £46.25, this is a dram most Whisky lovers should have on their shelves.

After Pulteney, we visited John O’Groats and had our picture taken at the famous signpost.

Our final port of call was Newcastle for Tynemouth, a lovely town with many shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. In the railway station, they had a local market with an enormous amount of trade stalls. You could buy almost anything there, with loads of retro stalls, flowers, veg, records – you name it.

We now sailed to Dundee for our disembarkation after a total voyage distance of 2708 Nautical Miles.

A grand cruise with a varied choice of ports, this cruise is highly recommended.

Nicola and Scott were at the terminal to give us a lift home, we also shared some of our duty free Whisky with them.

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