Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
loon and they were the first to make a TV documentary on the production of Scotch. Clips
of films ancient and recent, multitudinous posters of varying degrees of gaudiness and
subtlety and dozens of promotional products make up a spellbinding Museum of Canny
The tasting bit at the end of the tour is also a further nosing/blending teaching area,
with a bar where you can sample the blend at different ages and the Aberfeldy itself, plus
tables to sit at with little smell sample bottles and a Nosing and Tasting Notes form to fill
out. There's a café here too.
After this multimedia extravaganza, the distillery tour might seem almost a disap-
pointment, however the guides do their best to live up to the brand vision. Well, our guy
wore a kilt, which is a start. Actually he was really interesting. His dad had worked here
in the distillery - he was present in a couple of the blown-up old black and white photos
displayed on the tour - and he used to skelp about the place when he was a bairn and was
given a whisky toddy every night from the age of about one. One month, that is. Claimed
as a result never to have had a cold in his life, but developed a concomitant dislike of
whisky, blended or malt (which is interesting but definitely not my idea of a good trade-
Aberfeldy is at the heart of the Dewar's blend and these days the distillery runs 24
hours a day for five days a week, employing eleven staff including the secretary and man-
ager. There's a big enclosed mash tun with a neat water-skooshing system to keep the
window clear, two steel washbacks outside and eight inside, made from Siberian larch
rather than the usual Oregon pine. The four big stills have nearly flat Lyne arms and the
whole pace is as neat as the grounds outside, all cream and burgundy paint and looking
positively polished and gloriously gleaming. This is real engine-room, full-steamahead
industrial malt-making. About 90 per cent of the output goes for blending and the result-
ing malt expressions - I choose the standard 12-year-old - are not in a sense the point of
the place, which is very much to make the principal component of the Dewar's blend. It's
a perfectly palatable dram all the same, bursting with flavours, quite sweet and with hints
of flowers and herbs. Big and boisterous and in a way almost asking to be blended, but
nothing to be ashamed of. The whisky equivalent of somebody you wouldn't kick out of
Dad, Uncle Bob and I lunch in the Black Watch Hotel in the centre of Aberfeldy. This
is fairly appropriate as the Black Watch was my paternal grandfather's regiment. Dad and
Bob's father spent three years in the trenches of the Somme and I still have a ring he
carved out of a shell fragment. It's worn away a bit now but you can just about make out
the figures and letters that spell out 1914 Somme 1917 . He made it back alive and my dad
was born in 1918.
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