Having spent a lovely morning touring the Glenkinchie Distillery, I made my way north into the Scottish highlands and set my sights for Dalwhinnie. Roughly 100 miles north of Edinburgh, the Dalwhinnie Distillery sits in the hamlet of Dalwhinnie. Located directly off the A9, this tiny community is found among the peaks and valleys of the Scottish highlands, which provide some of the best scenery Scotland has to offer.
As this was my second tour of the day, I allowed myself plenty of time to make the journey between the distilleries. Having made great time along the A9, I made a brief stop at a small cafe in Dalwhinnie itself, as I had not had anything to eat since my early breakfast and it was soon approaching 2:00pm. John,the gentleman running the cafe was tremendous, as he set out a proper place setting at my table, complete with knife, fork, place mat, coaster, and so forth. As he waited for the bacon to cook for my sandwich, he told me stories of the local area, and what it was like to work and live in Dalwhinnie. After I finished what was one the best bacon butties I have ever had, I made my way to the cash and noticed a book on the counter. Dalwhinnie: A Hamlet on the Great Road was a book that was put together by a group known as Dalwhinnie Past and Present. Of the group, John’s wife was an active member and had made contributions to the publishing of the book. I had a quick flip through the pages and was sold. Every page was loaded with photographs: school photos, local scenery, old maps, and of course the distillery. I made no hesitation and purchased the book, as a fitting souvenir to my visit. With my book in hand, I made my way up the road to the distillery.
When I arrived at Dalwhinnie the parking lot was nearly empty, and I had high hopes that I might get my second personal tour of the day. I went inside the visitor centre to let them know that I had arrived and was ready for my tour. They took my new passport given to me at Glenkinchie and stamped it. 2 down, only 12 to go. I was told that I was quite early for my tour and that there would be one starting in roughly 10 minutes if I’d like to go at that time instead. Not seeing anyone in the gift shop, I agreed and went outside to take some pictures before the tour began. As you can see the it was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and blue sky stretched as far as the eye could see. I was just on my way back into the visitor centre when a bright yellow tour bus pulled up, and nearly twenty people piled off ready for their tour. Well, two personal tours in a day would be asking too much.
Our tour group featured quite a selection of people. There were four Swedish college students, three young couples from Australia, and two rather large families from Japan. Seeing as how no one else had ever been to a working distillery, our tour guide made sure to take his time and thoroughly go through the distillation process. Having a basic understanding of the whisky making process, I was looking for those little stories that allow you to distinguish the brand from other distillers. With the tour coming to its conclusion we returned to the visitor centre where we were given a wee dram of Dalwhinnie 15 year old, the brand’s core expression. This is a lovely whisky, so light and warm, yet there is not a hint of peat. Much like Glenkinchie earlier in the day, Dalwhinnie has a soft straw-like colour, and is very gentle to the senses. It is certainly a single malt whisky that I would recommend for anyone who is looking to discover the world of whiskies. Now my day was done, I had just finished my second distillery tour, and I was ready to head back to England. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.