Our destination of the day was a trip into the countryside to visit the Glengoyne Whisky Distillery in Dumgoyne. The bus ride up to this distillery was mostly very pleasant. It’s always so interesting to watch the buildings disappear, and the raw, natural landscape reveal itself to you as you travel further and further away from the city centre. We cruised by rolling hills and seas of green grass. The last few minutes of the journey were a bit intense.
This enormous bus was barreling down the narrowest country roads at speeds that would rival a highway. It felt like a rollercoaster, and I was so thankful when we saw our stop in the distance.
The Glengoyne Distillery is a whisky distillery which has been in operation since 1833! Glengoyne distillery sits on the Highline Line, the dividing line between the Highlands and the Lowlands of Scotland. The whisky casks rest on the lowlands side while the stills and the process of packaging the whiskey happen in the highlands.
While waiting for our tour, we wandered around the hills around the distillery. The weather was perfect. The sun was out, and the rain had all but disappeared. Some people might think travelling with friends for part of your honeymoon is weird but come on? Look at these ladies? Could there be anything more fun?!
Glengoyne is regularly referred to as the "most beautiful whisky distillery in Scotland" and I really disagree. In case you're wondering, why I'm spelling it "Whisky" not "Whiskey" is because it is the traditional Scottish spelling. The addition of the "e" is left for the Irish "Whiskey".
As you walked into the Distillery, past the buildings towards the back, we came upon the water source where all the fresh spring water for the whisky comes from. The air was dewy, and you could almost taste the whisky in the air.
We cashed in our Chocolate and Whiskey Tasting tickets and headed upstairs to the gallery room. Being someone who isn't an aficionado on whisky, we opted for the Chocolate and Whisky tour since it offers people with a sweet tooth a way in to begin appreciating whisky. In here we were given a short presentation about whisky, and it’s history in Scotland. All over the walls, there were pieces of ephemera and old, traditional tools once used in this very distillery to make the whisky.
The origins of Scottish whisky come from a drink once called uisge beatha which means “water of life”. The first whisky ever known to have been produced was back from 1494! From there, the distillation process has been refined over the years, but the taste and recipe remain much unchanged.
The Glengoyne Distillery does not use peat smoke to dry the barley used to make whisky. Some people might remember tasting other whiskys which have a distinct “peaty” flavour. These whiskys do not as their barley is dried using warm air which rises from this two-floor store house.
The distillery was rather small but beautifully laid out. We entered the room where the whisky was fermenting in HUGE wooden containers. We couldn’t take photos in here because of the risk of electricity causing an explosion! They would lift the lids of these huge barrels and allow us to sniff the fermenting whisky. It almost makes you pass out the smell is so strong! After touring this room, you come face and face with the huge copper distillers which turned the fermented barley into Whisky!
Behind lock and key are some of the oldest and most preciousbarrels for the Distillery. Some are owned by kings, queens and other wealthy people from all over the world.
Depending on how long the whisky is aged, the colour changes. It deepens. Like a beautiful amber rainbow.
Inside the showroom were all the different varieties of the whisky they sell. From a short little eight year single malt to a bank breaking 12 years cask-strength malt.
Every time you distill whisky, a little of the liquid disappears in the process. This small portion is called the “angels share”. How cute.
After walking around the showroom for a bit, we headed over to the house on the premise where we were to have our Chocolate and Whisky Tasting.
The key with eating chocolate and whisky is in the pairings. Individual chocolate will help bring out the flavour notes in the whisky. It changes the taste of the alcohol. The chocolate will cut your palate making the taste less harsh and it will also help to increase the depth of the flavour profile. We tried two different whiskys along with the chocolate. An eight year and a 15 year.
There were four flavours to choose from; milk chocolate and caramel, dark chocolate with dried fruit and berries, dark chocolate with raspberries and finally dark chocolate with sea salt. My favourite was the raspberry. It was bright and sweet and mellowed the flavour of the whisky.
Although I'm not the biggest whisky fan, this experience allowed me to appreciate it more on a higher level and I found the history of this distillery a fascinating study. Getting to taste the whisky along with the chocolate is the way to go if you're new to whisky or just looking for something a little different!