so expensive the prices make you blink and look again, because you could buy an entire
case of quite decent whisky for the price being asked here for a glass. It is a decent glass,
in the sense that the standard measure is a small double - 50ml - but even so.
I have never gone entirely mad with this big brown book, but even keeping to the
humbler examples there are interesting and out-of-the-way whiskies to be sampled if you
choose carefully, and it's really rather comforting to know that you're in the presence -
at the other end of the scale - of Extreme Whisky Pricing. I only hope that the people
who do shell out hundreds of pounds for a dram aren't doing it just to impress partners or
people they're trying to do a deal with. And that they don't add bleedin Cola.
We stayed at Gleneagles over a long weekend with the McFarlanes, three years ago.
Gleneagles has wonderful staff, brilliant food and drink, and has all sorts of sports and
activities to take part in if you feel so inclined, or you can just be outrageously pampered.
I believe golf is played there on occasion, too.
We went in opposite directions at the end of the weekend, the McFarlanes north to
Glenfinnan, us south to North Queensferry. Ann and I were in the Defender at the time,
which we'd bought a week or so earlier. It was still unchipped, with its original lowly
horsepower quotient, and as we headed out of the car park towards the Glen Devon road,
we were behind a brand new silver 911 Turbo. I naturally expected this beast to disap-
pear into the distance in a red-shifted blur within about half a second of exiting the hotel
grounds, but it didn't. Instead it dawdled, rarely doing much more than 50. We stuck be-
hind it in the Land Rover, driving fairly sedately, easily keeping pace. I swear if I'd really
wanted to there were a couple of places I could have overtaken the guy. I didn't - it would
have seemed almost sacrilegious, and would basically have been showing off, even bor-
derline aggressive - but I could have. I have no idea why the car was being driven so
slowly, but it just goes to show; it ain't what you drive, it's how.
Glenturret is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland (just one pair of stills), and one
of the oldest (founded 1775), however it's also one of the most up-to-date and visitor-
friendly. It lies leafily beside the river Turret, only a mile or two from Crieff, and is set
up to receive lots of visitors in a Centre displaying all the shiny newness of that Visit-
ors Centre Vernacular, Reformed: blonde wood, lots of wee halogen spotlights, serious
glass and cable-linked stanchions. Oddly, the stills themselves are one of the less visually
appealing parts of the whole experience; they're inelegant, almost square-looking things,
but I suppose of all the qualities of a still its looks are the least important. There's good
Scottish food in a proper restaurant, various audio-visual bits and bobs, a well stocked
shop and two statues; one of a giant grouse, at the entrance to the car park (for this is the
Famous Grouse Experience, both it and Glenturret being owned by the Edrington Group),
and another, much smaller one of Towser, the old distillery cat credited in The Guinness