Tullibardine Distillery, Blackford, Perthshire, Scotland

My pair of trips to Perthshire in the past year afforded me time to visit distilleries that had managed to elude me. Chief among them was Tullibardine distillery, another of Scotland’s doughty distilleries that has withstood the trials of time, soldiering on despite the merry-go-round of owners and consumers’ vacillating tastes. If Tullibardine single malt isn’t familiar to you, there’s good reason: Throughout the 20th century Tullibardine’s whisky was destined primarily for blending, and the distillery was eventually mothballed in the 1990s, its stock left to age in barrels of perhaps questionable quality. But like many other Scottish distilleries, Tullibardine’s tale mirrors the myth of the Phoenix… Read more...

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Pre-dinner canapes and wine at Knockendarroch Hotel, Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland

Last autumn I had the opportunity to stay in Pitlochry at Knockendarroch Hotel, a place that had long been on my radar. Struan Lothian, the man behind Knockendarroch, managed the Kylesku Hotel and Torrdarach House once upon a time, and my stay at the latter five years ago was a highlight of the trip. My stay at Knockendarroch was similarly excellent, and as part of it I had a chance to experience dinner at the small hotel.

Dinner at Knockendarroch Hotel worked out perfectly as it was my first day of the trip and I usually don’t like having to seek out restaurants when I’m jet-lagged and grumpy. Whatever grumpiness I had was soon to be dispelled… Read more...

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Dougie MacLean Performing at Perthshire Amber

Year after year Scotland brims with traditional folk music festivals from Edinburgh to Orkney, Glasgow to Skye, and many small towns in between. The musical heritage is so rich that no matter the time of year you’re bound to find a music festival near wherever the road takes you.

That’s what happened to me last fall.

An opportunity to visit Perthshire at the peak of autumn colors arose on short notice, and I quickly threw myself into researching how to best fill my week-long visit. I chanced upon a serendipitous discovery — Perthshire Amber… Read more...

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Marking our Mark at Strathearn Distillery

Our last day of distillery school in Perthshire dawned a powder blue over Comrie town. Tony and the Strathearn boys had given us freedom to come in late, assuming, rightly, that the previous night would’ve been a late one.

In the shade of Comrie’s high street we stopped at the Comrie Caf√© for a proper Scottish breakfast and recapped the various whiskies we’d tried the night before. Of the ridiculous number I imbibed, Kilchoman Machir Bay and Bruichladdich Port Charlotte stood out. Then, on our way back to the apartment, we stopped at the butcher and picked up a steak pie for dinner. Read more...

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A full barrel of Strathearn newmake

Jeff’s 30th birthday dawned with a splitting headache. It was no surprise — the Strathearn boys had done their damnedest to manifest this bleary morning. I lurched from bed and shuffled down Comrie’s high street to secure a couple of black pudding sausage rolls to take the edge off, and they did by god, they did.

It being Jeff’s birthday, Tony arranged for Stuart to pick us up and ferry us to the distillery for it was likely to be a long day with celebratory drinks as the nightcap. At eight in the morning I could hardly stomach the thought, but as I stepped into the stillhouse where Wee Erin and Bella the Stripper waited, I remembered there’s no rest for the wicked. Read more...

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