Whisky Festivals - An Angel's Journey
I was never into festivals, now I feel like an avid festival goer only I don't need wellies and a carry oot!
The Angels (Myself, Julia and our ace photographer Janie) took off on the road trip for the weekend of the Spirit of Speyside and what an educational beautiful journey we took. neither of the other girls had ever drank or really tasted whisky so when we booked in for International Women of Whisky tasting as we arrived in Aberlour at 11am! it was quite exciting for them, so as we listened to Johanne McInnis and her incredible knowledge on whisky and being from Canada she was absolutely just what the girls needed to persuade them to try and not just taste but to create, imagine and learn about each one we tasted - the hands down favourite was the Aberlour A'bunadh caramel treacle and soft... see I'm even making up my own tasting notes!
Also meeting the other Whisky women Allwyne and Angela And of course Janie's long lost cousin Annabel
A quick hello to our stockist A Gift from Scotland Gordon & Jayde so friendly and knowledgable about the clans and the local history we had to stock them up before we left.
The beauty of Speyside in the Sunshine was epic enough but then we went for lunch to the newly refurbished Craigellachie Hotel. We were the first in and the waitress was doing her best for the large groups who followed quite promptly - the food was delicious the service was personal and caring and the place looked great a wander upstairs to see the drawing rooms and soon to be Quaich Bar with over 1000 whiskies... we bumped into a tall Dutch man relaxing in the library with a voice like velvet he explained his books he had written and we listened intrigued of the Hans Offringa story. We told him our Angels' Share story and how the film had inspired us - then he announces that THE Charles Maclean should be joining him later - As Ken Loach and most of the cast and directors of the film all had our angels it was only right I left a little Angels' Share gift for Charles when he arrived.
We then ventured to Macallan met with Frankie, Robert and the team who are promoting our products fantastically and who were using our Whisky dropper in their tasting session was Macallan fans from Holland, Norway and Spain.
We decided to detour to Knockando not to the distillery however,The newly developed and resurrected mill was like stepping back in time, old croft cottages with original wallpaper and tweed and i could of listened to the sound of the water mill all day. one thing to remind us of our whisky trail though the very apt sign " mind yer heid" totally suitable for a whisky experience.
We also visited Glenfiddich , Glenlivet and Aberlour...this was the jewel in the crown for us.. a quaint building stood beside the river and with a spattering of black trees telling us the Angels' Share was near! Cathy and Jonathan on hand to receive us and tell us about the building the tour and excellent whisky made there. In the car park we speak to Alistair the tour guide who makes these trips often as his living - totally passionate and dedicated.
The angels flew back to Stirling... with the anticipation of Spirit of Stilring whisky festival to come. I attended the Opening Dinner which was in the historic venue of Stirling Highland Hotel, beautifully paired food and three great whiskies to try Ben Nevis, Glenfarclas and an Auchentoshen. Dinner followed by a superb auction which raised thousands for Children's cancer charities Scribblers Picnic and after dinner speech which left a few red faced and excellent Scottish music. The festival itself was a throng of bodies young and old, some well oiled with the free flowing spirit, some on a mission to find The one.. all in all a very busy day for the distillers. The Spirit of Stirling team did the city proud.
With World Whisky Day (saturday 17th may) and Glasgow Festival sold out :-( our next Journey is to our very favourite doorstep distillery. Deanston are holding an open day and whisky festival on Saturday 7th June where there will be an abundance of craftsmen showing off their very special crafted whisky ware.
Many many more Whisky festivals to attend and even a Tartan one thrown in for good measure!
So if you see us come and say hi we love hearing why you purchase our products and where in the world they end up. it's all about The Angels' Journey....
selected images by janie meikle bland & tristan hopkins