Whisky Tour 威士忌遊

Whisky is to Scotland like tea is to England, though I’m sure the Scots don’t drink multiple cups of whisky a day! Whisky that is produced in Scotland is called scotch, and no visit to Scotland would be complete without either sampling the many scotch available or a visit to one of the 100+ distilleries still in operation today。

Not long after leaving Isle of Skye, we stopped by the Claunie Inn which is on the main road to our next stop Fort Augustus。 Outside, Claunie Inn is located in the middle of the stunning Highlands surrounded by 21 munroes (mountains higher than 3000ft), and inside it has over 200 malt whiskies including some which are no longer in production。 The Scots have a very low tolerance on drink and drive, much stricter than England and Wales, so it helps to have an alternative driver particularly one who doesn’t mind not drinking if you are driving around Scotland。 This was my role now that we had started our whisky trail in Scotland。
離開天空島後,我們從A87去我們下一站Fort Augustus。在路上我們經過一間已超過一百年老的酒吧 Claunie Inn。酒吧位處於美麗的高地中心,外面四周被21座超過3000公尺高的山包圍,而裏面藏有超過200種不同的威士忌,甚至有些現在巳不再生產。相對全英國,蘇格蘭酒駕法例非常嚴謹。如果在蘇格蘭要自駕遊,又想品嚐佳餚,最好有一位不喝酒的後備司機。這就是我當時的任務。

Our B&B at Fort Augustus was by the canal which leads into the world famous Loch Ness that was only a few minutes walk away。 I normally prefer to stay at B&Bs than hotels as you get to know the owner and understand more about the local area and culture。 And sure enough, the owner of the B&B being a bit of a whisky buff himself, recommended some interesting distilleries and shops for us to visit。
我們在Fort Augustus的民宿就在運河傍,而運河是連接到世界著名的尼斯湖,步行也只要幾分鐘就到。通常我較喜歡住民宿多於旅館,因為可以跟主人聊天及了解當地文化。民宿男主人也是一位威士忌愛好者,除了聊天外還向我們推薦一些很別致的威士忌工場及商店可參觀。Edradour at Pitlochory, the smallest distillery in Scotland was one that he had recommended but unfortunately they weren’t open as it was still their winter season。 So, we went to the local whisky shop that he had recommended instead。 OH had a good chat with the owner and bought a bottle before he left。
他推薦的其中一間Edradour是全蘇格蘭最細小的釀酒廠,可惜當時還是他們的冬季休息時間所以未有對外開放。於是我們去他推薦在附近的一間專售賣威士忌商店,在哪裏跟店主傾談了一會,還買下一瓶威士忌。We did however manage to visit a few other distilleries during our trip including Tomatin where OH did a whisky tasting。 Tomatin wasn’t a brand that OH was familiar with so he was pleasantly surprised when he tasted the Legacy which was much smoother than he had expected for a new scotch。 The Cu Bocan wasn’t his cup of tea as it was made using peat malt. Tomatin only produces Cu Bocan once a year, and after it is produced, I think the tour guide said they needed two weeks to clean the entire distillery to get rid of the peaty flavour before they can start producing their normal scotch。

旅程中,我們去了三間不同的威士忌釀酒廠參觀,其中一間是湯瑪丁。OH 試他們的酒,出奇地覺得Legacy的口感絕不似新酒。至於Cu Bocan因為有泥煤味所以不是他那杯茶。湯馬丁每年只會出產一次Cu Bucan,而導覽員說每次生產完畢後,他們需要用(好像)兩個星期清洗整個釀酒生產線,確保把泥煤味剷除才可以開始生產其他的威士忌。

If you are interested in visiting multiple distilleries in Scotland but not sure which ones to go, then The Friends of the Classic Malts have 12 scattered around Scotland。 It’s also actually quite a good guide to help plan your visit to Scotland, just make sure to get someone else to drive after the whisky tasting!

By now we were over two weeks into our road trip and as much as I loved the rural side of Scotland, the buzz at Edinburgh was quite a welcoming and comforting scene。 We probably didn’t do Edinburgh justice, and just spent our whole day wandering leisurely around town, visiting Edinburgh Castle and not much else。 We did however stop by Rosslyn Chapel before we left, a beauty in itself but made famous by the movie Da Vinci Code。 Rosslyn Chapel is nearly 600 years old and its stone carvings inside really took my breath away。 Sadly photos aren’t allowed inside but this is really one place that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Edinburgh。

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