I came to Edinburgh on a whim. I didn’t have plans or set out for anything, but I knew I wanted an authentic adventure.
After a bit of investigation, I decided, straight away, that I was up for a low-key gin tasting experience. The good news is, I didn’t have to travel anywhere. The lovely folks at Cranachan & Crowdie that are located right on the Royal Mile took my pallet on an incredible tour of Scotland one taste of gin at a time. I tasted a whopping, get this…. 14 different kinds of gin! Yes, that’s a lot of gin and yes, I was totes freaking out, too, because I mean, that’s a LOT of tasting! But, I loved it! The flavours were floral and some were a bit punchy, but none the less, I was going waaaaay far down a magical mystery rabbit hole and I liked it. Check out my #OMGIMFREAKINGOUTFACE:
Later that day, the lovely folks at Cranachan & Crowdie took me for a sneaky visit to Pickering’s Gin Distillery. This was an incredible behind the scenes tour! I also found out that 70% of gin made in the UK is actually made in Scotland and also that 70% of the world’s gin is produced in the UK! This is actually quite an important statistic and what I didn’t really understand, until now, is that gin is basically whisky that hasn’t been aged…. which got me thinking… how the heck do they make this stuff?
I booked the Discovery Malt Whisky Day Tour with Rabbies (To the American folk out there, it’s NOT RABIES… it’s Rabbies) This was a good idea because I wasn’t really clear on the entire process and I pretty much didn’t have a clue about whisky at all; this was an excellent starting point and it’s reasonably priced.
There was seven of us all up on this experience along with our awesome tour guide! After two fantastic pitstops at Stirling and Doune Castle (look up Monty Python and the Holy Grail) we were quite thirsty to wet one’s whistle at the first distillery – Glengoyne Distillery.
Glengoyne does whisky tasting RIGHT! As soon as you walk in, you’re tasting straight away. Seriously – they’re not messing around. Nor was our whisky tour guide – I believe he either had four coffee’s or something much stronger, because his energy was second to none. Seriously, if I could figure out how to harness his energy and then sell it, I reckon we’d solve all the world’s Starbuck’s coffee problem.
We went up stairs, down stairs… had whiffs of wonderful hops and learnt the importance of Scottish Whisky. This was a pretty spectacular visit. Some of my tour mates decided to keep the whisky dream alive and had another taste!
And then, OMG… the holy grail of Glengoyne whisky – check out this beauty aged 35 years going for the the bargain basement price of….. £2850!
Afterwards, we boarded our comfy Rabbies bus and headed for a spot of well deserved lunch at gorgeous Loch Lomond… But we were all on a mission… next up Deanston Distillery.
Deanston is very different from Glengoyne – it was an old cotton mill harnessing the power of the river right across the street. In fact, they still are. A lot of the power they are generating at the distillery is being sent back to the main grid – It’s pretty cool to have a sustainable distillery – you cant really beat that!
The two distilleries are a bit different, but why I really enjoyed Deanston with their “no frills” approach. I loved seeing all the barrels outside in the rain. This gave Deanston such an authentic feel.
Again, Deanston’s whisky also tasted very different to Glengoyne. It was a bit stronger and more bitey. But, this is the beauty of whisky – it is no easy feat to finding your perfect dram. You just gotta get out there and get tasting.
I was pretty stoked with the tour. I learnt a lot of the history around Scotland and the imporance of whisky to the area. I also, now know exactly how to set up my very own
illegal whisky still! If you, too, would like to experience the same whisky experience, Be sure to check out the Rabbies webpage! It’s pretty hard to beat.
A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!