Distilleries of Scotland

What better reason to go to Scotland than a profound shared love of whisky? Brendan, his parents, and I went for that reason in August 2015. We visited 24 distilleries in two weeks while driving around the country, particularly the smoky Islay region and islands.

Scotland is notoriously grey and rainy and though we visited in high season we weren’t spared those grey rainy days. There was however a lot of sun interspersed meaning that the fields were incredibly green and the flower baskets that hung absolutely everywhere were always bright and shiny.

Lagavulin
Ardbeg
Glen Grant
Glenfiddich warehouse
Glenfiddich
Glenfiddich stills
Glenfiddich Washback No 11
Blair Athol
Edradour
Strathisla
Strathisla
Aberlour
Talisker
Tobermory
Caol Ila

Arthur’s Whisky Breakfast

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Arthur’s Whisky Breakfast since booking tickets back in June.

On arrival at Arthur’s we were taken up the stairs and shown to our designated seats…not with our friends. We hadn’t booked tickets together but had naively assumed we’d be able to sit wherever we liked. Thankfully the team at Arthur’s (and Martha’s!) know service well and didn’t let it register on their faces just how annoying we were being messing up their seating arrangements. It was all okay in the end, Brendan and I sat at “the best table in the place” with Laura, Tim, and Paul.

Cranachan

A menu sat at on our plates showing us what to look forward to and coffee orders were taken (not included in the price but rich and delicious). An introduction to the Whisky Breakfast and Arthur’s was made by co-owner Anita (McLeod, wearing the McLeod tartan) and we were given a brief history lesson on the building. Courtney was introduced as our taste master for the morning and our first course of cranachan was served with Macallan whisky.

Kedgeree

Next the kedegeree was served with a Japanese whisky. We’ve been wanting to try Japanese whisky for a while and this one bought out spiciness in the kedgeree beautifully. Courtney told us to save out money for something better though. The Yamazaki has taken advantage of recent awards won by Japanese whiskies and flooded the market. I loved the smell of Yamazaki, it reminded me of fruit mince, and the taste was fine if a bit sharp. But Courtney suggested us buying one less bottle or saving a bit longer to get something better like Nikka Yoichi.

Rabbit Pie

A rabbit pie with whisky onion jam was served with the Islay classic Laphraoig. I love Islay whiskies with their strong smokey peat flavours.

Finally we were served a whisky hot chocolate with shortbread. Ardmore whisky mixed with dairy milk chocolate that we just didn’t want to end.

Despite the incredible food and whisky on offer the highlight was hearing Courtney talk about the whiskies and her job as the spirits equivalent of a sommelier.

Selling spirits for Moore Wilson’s she sometimes had a few hundred open bottles sitting on her shelves, Courtney refused to let a customer spend big money on stock without having tasted the product. Likewise she said she doesn’t approve of people selling spirits if they don’t like drinking themselves, and she’s sick of bar staff at good establishments knowing long histories of their cocktails and nothing about the whiskies behind the counter.

Arthur’s Whisky Breakfast tickets sold out weeks after going on sale but if you’re attending on either of the next two Saturdays you are in for a treat!

Whisky Breakfast menu