On the third day of our stay in Elgin I didn’t make any plans to visit distilleries or anything, I left it solely up to my partner to plan the day and do things that she wanted to do. I thought she deserved a day off after having been dragged round four distilleries in two days.
We started our day with a wander around Elgin, taking in all the local sights and exploring the capital of Speyside, walking down all the ancient streets, dotted with museums, churches and an Iceland…
We decided that we wanted to go and visit the Elgin Cathedral which, if not now a ruin, would have been the second biggest in Scotland. The Cathedral was a beautiful structure and it was a real pleasure to get the chance to walk around it and feel the history of the place. Had it not been burnt down and left to ruin over years it would have been a breath taking place to explore.
The Cathedral had lots of little exhibitions and you can even get up one of the towers to view Elgin from the top. Our favourite part was looking at the ‘unique’ stone face carvings that used to decorate the roof of the cathedral.
After we had finished in the cathedral we went for a late lunch in a lovely wee pub where my partner informed me that she didn’t really have any plans for what she wanted to do for the rest of the afternoon. Now being the ever resourceful gent that I am I couldn’t see our afternoon go to waste, and I had found a leaflet in my pocket of all places, as if I had planned this all along. The last tour of Strathisla on a Sunday is at four o’clock and if we left then we would have plenty of time to make it. It’s funny how things just fall into place like that!
It was about a half hour drive from Elgin to Keith, and involved a ridiculous amount of roundabouts but we eventually got there, and with plenty of time before the tour. I’m glad we got their early as it meant we had plenty of time to wander around the distillery grounds and take pictures of what is arguably the most beautiful distillery in Speyside. As well as taking pictures it also meant that I got the chance to browse the shop and check out the unique Chivas bottlings of small batches (less than 1,000) and single casks. There was a single cask bottling of Longmorn, 16yo matured in a sherry cask, I kept going back to look at it, it was very tempting.
When the time came we all gathered round to hear the usual health and safety spiel. Our guide for the tour was Susan and started off by giving us an in depth history of the distillery from founding to present day before taking us through the production. There was some Mexican guy on the tour who was dressed all in black leather, with a black cowboy hat on, like some Van Helsing wanna be, and from the start I could just tell he was going to be an arse-hole. Every room we went into he would just ask the most retarded and unrelated questions before Susan could even actually do her tour, she did a great job of putting up with him though. It was a good tour; despite Van Helsings best efforts, topped off with a nice set of drams to taste.
Our tasting included a measure of the Strathisla 12, Strathclyde 12 (single grain whisky), Chivas 12 and Chivas 18. Unfortunately I was driving so I didn’t drink them, I have had them all before anyway so I wasn’t too bothered, though I did get to take them home so I will be sure to enjoy those at some point. After our tasting we headed back to the car and our yurt for what would be our last night in Elgin, I wasn’t going to get down by that fact though as the best day was yet to come, a visit to the Speyside Cooperage and the Aberlour distillery.