Goldring Travel’s 2019 Culinary & Cultural Cruise -Part V (Invergordon, Scotland – Glenfiddich Whisky!)
I knew, since this particular cruise was decided upon to be the Goldring Travel 2019 Culinary & Cultural Cruise, that we would be visiting a whisky distillery; the only question being which one. Well, since my “go to” whisky is Glenfiddich that answer came quickly to me!
Upon arrival at Glenfiddich we headed to the Malt Barn, a restaurant located inside one of Glenfiddich’s first buildings from the mid-1800’s used, in part, to malt barley, for a lunch. (Safety tip: Never engage in a proper whisky tasting on an empty stomach!)
While a number of Scottish options were offered for the main course, most opted for incredibly delicious potato-based Fishcakes or a gourmet take on Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. (Yes, I know, I have a bit of a fixation on haggis, but it isn’t like I can get it back in the US and I do love the stuff. In fact, my late bulldog was named Haggis McGillicuddy of the Highlands.)
|Gourmet Haggis, Neeps and Tatties – Amazing!|
He provided us with our first whisky (or the second one if one was paired with lunch – as I did). It was an interesting IPA whisky which was aged 14 years in a bourbon cask and then six months in a beer cask.
Over the next hour we toured the Glenfiddich facilities and, to be honest, I was amazed at the volume of whisky that it produces as well as its commitment to retaining old-school techniques such as maintaining wood vats and freely using copper while rejecting stainless steel.
- First Fill Sherry Cask (the first time the cask is being used to age whisky)
- Second Fill Sherry Cask
- First Fill Bourbon Cask
- Second Fill Bourbon Cask
Our guide removed the plugs from the bunghole (the hole in the cask through which it is filled) and we were able to take a good sniff in each. We were then told to pick the one each of us preferred. Each of us took a turn using a tool called a whisky thief to draw a sample from our chosen casks and filled a small bottle to take home; but only after logging our whisky sample in Glenfiddich’s records and filling out proper Glenfiddich labelling.
It should be noted that Glenfiddich whiskies are generally a marriage of bourbon and sherry cask aged whiskies. It is still considered a single malt because the malt and resulting whiskies are from the same batches; just aged in different casks. That is why it is called a marriage rather than a blending.
It was then time for the Whisky Tasting. Unfortunately, time was running short, but we did have a sampling of five (5) additional single malt whiskies (in addition to the IPA and 15-year-old previously sampled):
- 12 Year Old
- 15 year Old Solera
- Project XX (not a single malt, but a 20 year old, but a blend of whiskies from 12 to 26 years old)
- 21 Year Old aged in bourbon barrels and finished in a rum barrel
- 26 Year Old
Set before us were pre-poured samples along with foods to pair with each ranging from raisins (sultanas) to cheese to creme brulee to smoked salmon.
|Glenfiddich Whisky Tasting with two of the Glenfiddich Cask samples|
For me the favorite parts of the day were the comments from my guests that insisted they did not like whisky…as they happily were drawn into the whisky tasting…feigning protests before giving in. Exposure to culinary and cultural things that are, in fact, different than preconceived notions is, of course, the point!
After our whisky tasting it was time to head back to the Seabourn Ovation for the sailaway to Scrabster, Scotland.
If you are interested in a Seabourn, or any other, cruise, give me a call, drop me an email or send me a Facebook message!
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