Thursday, 11 December 2014

Knockdhu: A modern Tradition

After the Spirit of Speyside Festival earlier in 2014 was over, we stayed another week and visited the Knockdhu Distillery where we met distillery manager Gordon Bruce and his right hand Alistair “Ally” Reid. After this great day Alistair accepted our request to send some questions over to get some more information on this beautiful distillery and its workings. A great place tucked away just of the main roads, but surely is one not to be overseen.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

"Better blends then, compared to most single malts now"

Every self-respecting Dutch whisky connoisseur knows of the existence of van Wees' shop in Amersfoort, their different lines of independent bottlings and their relationship with the industry in and outside of Scotland. Responsible for the fame and success of this business is Mr. Han van Wees, born in 1931 and still going strong. On November 28 2014, the Nestor of the Dutch whisky community held a tasting in the attic of his store in Amersfoort, reason enough for us to go there and enjoy the remarkable line-up.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


November 26th we were selected as one of the lucky few to join a Twitter Tasting from the Lakes Distillery organised by The Whisky Wire. In the lined up was their blended British whisky the One, and the company's gin. Their gin was a bit of a new experience for us, since we have not tasted many of those before.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Whisky in the Jarr - part three: Going to church

After having been introduced into the world of Jim Beam and being directed into drinking some rare old XXL niceties on the Saturday afternoon, the Saturday evening was open for us to step into the church and browse the tables, shake some hands, hug some friends and share a dram with people we just met for the first time. Whisky brings people together, and so does the largest whisky festival in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Whisky in the Jarr - part two: XXL tasting with the Director

In part one of our visit to Whisky Live Holland in the Hague, we already told about Hans Offringa's masterclass about American Whisky - especially the Jim Beam expressions. Like other masterclasses during the festival, it lasted 45 minutes, so there was little time for chitchat and making elaborate tasting notes. Time was deliberately kept to 45 minutes for the visitors to the main event, in order for them not to lose too much time. Douglas Laing's Jan Beckers had arranged to draw the longest end of the straw though; his XXL masterclass with a selection if six Director's Cut whiskies would be in between the two main sessions of the Saturday and lasted a very relaxed one hour and forty-five minutes.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Whisky in the Jarr - part one: American Whiskey

Half-way in this year's whisky-season, the time has come for the largest festival in the Netherlands; Whisky Live Holland in the Hague. The biggest festival automatically means the largest number of people, and sadly - the most expensive one. Both the number of people and the prices for the entrance and extras during the time of each session is for many people a reason to not to attend this festival. As with most whisky festivals around the globe, Whisky Live Holland had it's own share of masterclasses too, which were selectable separate from, during, or in between the sessions, so no precious time would be lost or forgotten while walking around and chatting with the many people present.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Day 4: Tom in a Towel

Photo: Martijn Krolis
The day before we had to go home again had arrived, and was once more planned with great events. When the breakfast was devoured again, it was time to get everybody in the van on time to drive from Dufftown to Tomintoul following the B9008 and the B9136. Not having visited, we trusted the GPS to get us there on time, and via this amazing route with beautiful vistas, we came to think we must have missed a sign at some point. Just when we were about to turn around at the next possibility, this possibility turned out to be the distillery, beautifully tucked away at the side of the only road leading to the village with the same name.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Day 3 - after lunch: the Balvenie

So, after spending the morning at the Glenfiddich distillery, the group had to get back into the car to drive the half mile or so to the Balvenie distillery. We took the car, because we were out of time (big lunch) and crossing the terrain without high-visibility vests and a tour-guide, is simply not allowed. At the visitor's reception - a livingroom like place where our guide Katya had made us coffee and tea (with Walker's of course) while she told us in short the history and the hows and whys of the distillery. She told us that - sadly - the malting floors were empty at this time, because there had been a company party in the barn. No harm done; Katya had some good stories, "laboratory" samples and pictures to explain the process.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Day 3 - before lunch: Glenfiddich

Thursday-morning, the weather was a bit grey and misty when we woke up. After a sturdy breakfast, we drove the small one and a half mile from the cottage to Balvenie Castle. It turned out the van had wipers, and we actually needed to turn them them on to keep our eyes on the road. Sadly, we were there out-of-season, so little further than the path up to the castle was next to impossible. Both the wet air and the absence of an open gate could not withhold us of enjoying the scenery and snapping some pictures before we would head down the hill to our first stop of the day: Glenfiddich.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Day 2: Aberlour - Rothes - Keith - Craigellachie - Aberlour

Because of yesterday's late arrival, we had not seen the crisp and beautiful surroundings of the Parkmore cottages earlier. With the sun shining and the surrounding hills covered in cold, misty clouds, this promised to be a beautiful day. Again. Some of the early risers had already been running or strolling around in the vicinity, and when bacon and eggs were all eaten, we all were ready to start our second day of the trip.