After our recent Scotland trip, we had to come back to the Netherlands and do some work to make some money and do it again (and again) next year (and beyond). Scotland is great, as you can see from our weekly articles these days after the road trip through the promised land, but hang on... we are in the Netherlands, cradle of brewing and distilling! Why on earth have we never decided going on a road trip in our own country and see what the dozens of distilleries have to offer (well, on some different occasions we have)? A road trip on its own, up north, two hours away from what we call home lies Groningen, where we find Hooghoudt, one of the oldest distilleries in the Netherlands. A traditional family company since 1888 and in the top five of producers of our national spirit: Jenever.
Sunday, 26 June 2016
Sunday, 19 June 2016
Just about the first thing we did when we knew we were traveling to the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival 2016 was contacting Brian Robinson, distillery host at the Ballindalloch distillery to see if we could arrange something during or around the days we would be in the area. Coming from the A9, following the “Malt Whisky Trail” brown signs, there is no way you can miss the distillery with its humongous lettering on the side of the building. In May 2014, during our first visit to the festival, a couple of days after visiting Forsyth’s coppersmiths where the finished Ballindalloch stills were visible for all to see, we passed the distillery under construction and saw the stills had just been hoisted in that day. We knew we had to see this again some day, when everything was connected and set up properly, without us trespassing and see how the light fruity spirit would be coming to life in the Single Estate distillery in the Spey valley. Single Estate, because they grown their own barley, process, distil and mature on their own lands and properties, feed the draff from the mashtun to their own Aberdeen Angus cattle, and the pot ale and spent lees from the stills are used as fertiliser around the Estate.
Monday, 13 June 2016
This time of the year is in the Netherlands known as the time to enjoy the Queen of the Vegetables, the White Gold, the Asparagus. With family living in the province of North Brabant, where a large amount of the country’s asparagus are grown, we travelled towards them for a nice dinner with the traditional ham, eggs, new potatoes and gravy solely made of molten butter. Calories a-gogo, but hey, so are most things that taste good. So, will this be another article where food is paired with whisky? No. In fact, there isn’t even any whisky involved...
Sunday, 12 June 2016
After a lovely evening in Wishaw, where we enjoyed a massive dinner at the Artisan whisky bar and restaurant with old and new whisky friends, we made ourselves ready to defy the Tuesday-morning traffic of Glasgow and find our way to Alexandria, where we had arranged an appointment to visit the Loch Lomond distillery. Glasgow rush hour turned out to be a breeze compared to what we are used to in the Netherlands, and in just over an hours drive on the M74, changing into the M8 in Glasgow, crossing the river Clyde into the Highlands region using the M898 over the Erskine bridge to Old Kilpatrick, we found ourselves on the A82 leading towards Alexandria.