Back from our second trip to Scotland to visit distilleries. No Daleks this time, but I still came home with souvenirs.

From left to right, that’s

  • Tullibardine 20 year
  • Balblair 1990 second release
  • Tomatin Special Edition Cask Strength. Not available in the US.
  • Cu Bocan Virgin Oak. Also from Tomatin. The only one I got with any peat to speak of. Not available in the US. Apparently, it is. Not even all that hard to find.
  • Ben Riach 1999 Virgin Oak. Maybe available but difficult to find in the US.
  • A self fill from Highland Park. The HP store at the distillery was disappointing considering how many flavors expressions they sell. This was the most unique thing available and you can only get it at the distillery.
  • Auchroisk 12 year. Hepburn’s Choice is like Gordon and MacPhail. They buy a barrel and slap their own label on it. Probably not available in the US. Found it at The Whisky Castle in Aberlour. A tiny shop with about 500 different malts that specializes in these private bottlings. They had about 40 or 50 bottles open to taste and were willing to open almost anything else you were interested in. They also have the largest bottle of malt whisky in the world. It is worth a stop if you are in Speyside.
  • Auchentoshan Cooper’s Reserve. A “Travel Retail” exclusive that was available at the distillery, but I bought it at duty free.

We went on tours of Tullibardine, Balblair, Benriach, Highland Park, and Auchentoshan. The Blablair Manager’s tour was actually led by the manager and he had a lot of information that we didn’t get at other places. There were also a few questions he refused to answer. The Ben Riach and Auchentoshan tours were very good and the Tullibardine tour was average. We stopped at a bunch of other ones and usually got to taste something, often for free.

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The Highland Park tour was disappointing, especially given the difficulty of getting to the Orkneys. Maybe I just had expectations that were too high since I like the whisky, the grounds are beautiful, and there was a lot of build up in the journey.

One word of warning, if you ever go keep on the look out for otters with bad intentions.

We were lucky to escape with our lives. Our livers may not have fared so well.