MoraySpeyside

The view from the Brochs of Coigach, Wester Ross, Scotland

The yearning for adventure fills the hearts of many people (and even some hobbits), but the dream of a trip rarely includes the nasty logistical bits that cast one down to the mundane, earthly realm of the modern travel experience. I can’t tell you how many trips to Scotland have begun with some whisky and bright-eyed romanticism: Galloping across the hills and through the glens, my vision somehow from a drone’s point of view, as the skirling notes of a bagpiper’s air fade on the swirling wind. I’m laughing because it’s true. Invariably, the reality of that dream starts in endless lines, stale airports, cramped cabins, and distinct physical discomfort. The thought of “roughing it” with your accommodations suddenly turns from adventurous to foolhardy. Read more...

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The Dulaig, Luxury Bed & Breakfast, Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland

Here’s a secret: I’m a homebody. I like my routines, the familiarity of home and family and friendship. There’s a comfort in moving through a world defined, and it was so strong as a child that I did everything in my power to avoid sleepovers. By its very nature travel wrests us from the cobwebs of comfort, casting us into foreign places filled with foreign experiences and foreign thoughts. The irony is that I also love to travel, and it can be hard to reconcile these two forces. Traveling with family and friends goes a long way, but you know what else helps? Staying in places that feel like home, places that exude comfort and warmth and make you forget just how far away home is. Such places are treasures… Read more...

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Five great small towns in Scotland

I enjoy cities when I travel, but I’m most happy when exploring the countryside, combing over the hills and glens for secret places and small towns. The cultural texture is just more immediate where globalization’s far-reaching fingers have farther to stretch, and it is among these places where the character of older times remains strong. Experiencing those “older times” is a large part of the joy I get out of traveling. To feel different, to feel out of place — not in an uncomfortable way — is a magical feeling.

I most often find that feeling in Scotland’s small towns, and once you get beyond Edinburgh and Glasgow that’s pretty much all there is… Read more...

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Benromach 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Some time ago I received a sample of Benromach 10 with the understanding that I would taste it and share my thoughts, whatever they might be. You can’t imagine how happy I was to receive that sample. It has been a secret wish of mine to get into writing whisky tasting notes. Though I admit some doubt in my olfactory faculties, command of vernacular and vocabulary may well make up for any deficit in that realm. We shall see, I suppose.

For regular readers, Benromach will be no stranger. I’ve written two articles here about my visits to the distillery, and it remains high on my list of favorite distilleries in Scotland. Read more...

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The town of Aberlour in Speyside

There is no homier place in all of Scotland than Speyside and Moray. My visits to this gorgeous, green region always seem to be sun-dappled, full of good cheer and just the right amount of liquid gold. There’s so much whisky here you’d think the wide, relaxed River Spey was made of the stuff, but it is the work of man’s modern alchemy and the primary way of life for the people who live here. This region is a mecca for whisky-lovers the world over, as the many whisky festivals attest, and it is no stranger to tourism – not by a long shot – but rarely have I felt such a right and harmonious energy. Whatever you are not – not a whisky drinker, not an outdoorsy person, not a walker – here you will become. Read more...

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