A Travellerspoint blog

Thursday, August 25, 2011, Day 19

Loch Ness and The Whisky Trail

sunny 69 °F
View Ireland/Scotland 2011 on stevencavalli07's travel map.

This is the last “real day” of the trip. Tomorrow we return to Edinburgh and we fly back home on Saturday morning…Edinburgh to Newark…Newark to SFO.

We awoke to a beautiful, sunny morning with a ½ mile puff of fog across the Loch. There was hardly a ripple on the water. In the morning newspaper we learned that the winners of the best jokes of the Fringe Festival had been announced. (1) I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves; (2) Crime in multi-story car parks…that’s just wrong on so many levels; (3) People always say, “I’m just taking it one day at a time.” You know what? So is everybody. That’s how time works! You can Google the rest…but, the best of the worst…”Uncle Ben has died. No more Mr. Rice guy.”

After breakfast we set out for the Whisky Trail, an area about 45 minutes southeast of Loch Ness where there are literally dozens of scotch distilleries within about 20 miles of each other. We chose to check out Benromach, the only distillery that is family owned…chosen at the suggestion of our hotel proprietor.

The burning question I have had since arriving in Scotland is…Why is Scotch Whiskey so much more expensive in Scotland than at home. I favor Mccallans at home and can buy a bottle of 12 year old, single malt Scotch at Costco for about $32. Here, the cheapest price I have found was in a little grocery store up the road from where we are staying…32 pounds which is about $53. Read on for the answer our distillery tour guide gave me (or did I give it to him).

Benromach is a small distillery near Nairn, Scotland. It was established in 1898 but has opened and closed many times. Most recently, it had a re-birth in 1998. The distillery proudly displays a picture of Prince Charles signing the first cask of whisky at the latest version of the distillery in 1998…which was proudly pointed out to us on our tour. Next to that cask in the warehouse sits a cask with a brass label…the one millionth gallon produced at the distillery since 1998. It took 10 years whereas some of the largest producers like Glennfiddich produced 2 million gallons per day.

We learned about the distilling process, saw all of the equipment and the tour ended with a dram of the amber liquid…Margaret’s first ever taste of scotch whisky. She bravely sampled it and then gladly let me finish her dram. Oh, the answer to my burning question, “I don’t know…I hear that a lot…must be taxes.”

Next we set off in search of Cawdor Castle. MacBeth was the thane (Margaret's word...probably from Jeopardy) of Cawder Castle. Being a little castled out, we found a spot outside the castle entrance to take a couple of photographs. Margaret decided that she was going to climb on a fence to get a better view over the castle wall…until I suggested that we had made it two days from departure without a major injury…and how the ambulance and hospital bill would greatly exceed the cost of admission to the castle.

We then headed to Beauley, supposedly renowned for its gift and craft shops. We arrived about 3:45pm, not yet having had lunch. We went immediately to the restaurant only to be told that they closed at 4pm and would not be serving us any food. One thing I have learned on this trip is that a series of Genova style delicatessens would be a gold mine in Ireland and Scotland. I have yet to dare to try their favorite sandwich of “egg, lemon mayonnaise and watercress.”

The day ended with another fabulous five course dinner at the hotel. Gazpacho with candied chilis to start. Ravioli with deer roe for Margaret…risotto with parsley and reggiano cheese for me. Sole meuniere with pommes dauphine for guess who, and chicken for me. Dessert was passion berry zabione and assorted homemade ice creams. Marg pulled out a close game of doms and then we retired to A Beautiful Dream.

Posted by stevencavalli07 02:43 Archived in Scotland Tagged loch ness

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