Picture This: The Cathedral of Speyside

by Keith Savage · 7 comments

The heart of Speyside has always been spiritual. Amid these emerald woods and quiet burns, the druids of eons past were said to have marked the crossing of ley lines with their typically stark and enduring monuments, inscrutable to our dull modern eyes. Christianity followed suit, perhaps to capitalize on the hidden wells of power or to erase the specter of its blasphemous precursors. A new religion now crowds out the Torula-blackened gravestones and awakens spirits from rest well-deserved. Distillation. Here, in The Glenrothes’ stillhouse, is the Cathedral of Speyside, a house of worship built of monolithic and gleaming copper pillars.

Massive boilers droned beneath the towering stills and filled the arched room with a cloying, tropical humidity. Vapor-stained glass windows sucked in light from white clouds as I drifted among the unfathomable fabrications. Up a set of stairs, the stillman, at a lectern of sorts, converted grain into liquor. Alchemy. Magic. Godhood? I stopped and gazed into the spirit safe. A gush of clear “water” poured into bowls behind the glass. Whisky – Uisge Beatha – the water of life. The gustatory sensation of whisky is ascendance, but I’ve stared into too many empty glasses to forget the face of descent.

Vacation ScotlandNo Gravatar April 22, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Found this old post Keith. – I’m doing a tasting shortly (wearing my New York Whisky Academy Hat) including the Glenrothes ’94. Great whisky


Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 22, 2012 at 7:11 PM

I gave the same bottle to my brother as a gift for being my best man. It’s cracking whisky, as they say.

ElsieNo Gravatar July 17, 2011 at 11:43 PM

Very very interesting! šŸ™‚ thanks for the post!!! Nice pics!

LeifNo Gravatar July 16, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Hahaha, “The Water Of Life” This place does sound mythical. Going to have to give it a go one day.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 16, 2011 at 4:49 PM

The name for whisky in Gaelic, uisge beatha, literally translates as “water of life.” Pretty cool, right? Definitely try to see The Glenrothes. Well worth your while.

richard bielinskiNo Gravatar July 16, 2011 at 7:57 AM

i have visited many beer brewerys in my 84 years

this is a first to visit a distilery,your right , there is a feeling of peace and tranquility in those copper pillars and it is almost spiritual,,,,,, thanks richard

Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Interestingly, distilleries are a lot like breweries with some added equipment (like stills).

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