Perthshire

Traveling Savage filling a barrel between two condensers

Delilah was gone. A man came into the office, hoisted her, and carried her off to his truck with a grin on his face. I watched, aghast, as Tony waved him goodbye from the doorway. The truck rumbled over the speed bumps while Delilah sat cold, alone, and forlorn in the pick-up bed, gleaming in the morning February sun. Strathearn didn’t need Delilah anymore, so they sold her.

This is not a tale of human trafficking. I’m referring to Delilah the still, half of a matched pair of 100-liter copper stills. The other half, appropriately named Samson, remained in the stillhouse for small-batch gin runs. We’d be doing one of those today. Read more...

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Tears from copper at Strathearn distillery

Ah, the first day of school. The excitement, the anxiety, the hangover?

Surprisingly, both Jeff and I were fairly chipper as we shuffled out of the apartment on that partly sunny Monday morning and drove toward Strathearn distillery. The Murray was a good friend, though he was half the man he used to be.

The gents at Strathearn were kind to us by providing a late 9:30am start time, and after passing through the town of Crieff and the farms of Perthshire’s bread basket we arrived right on time. The distillery’s HQ… Read more...

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Loch Earn on a February evening

I’ve been to north of 40 distilleries in Scotland and nearly gained a degree in the theory and process behind making single malt Scotch whisky. Perhaps it was inevitable that I would contract an overpowering desire to put that knowledge into practice, to see if I could make whisky like the passionate wonder-workers manning stills across Alba. This past February and March I engineered an opportunity to do just that while working at a distillery for a full week. I had arranged the trip with the Strathearn Distillery guys, who I had met just a few months prior in November, and my good friend Jeff, a purveyor of fine drams who works as a professional brewer here in Madison, Wisconsin. Read more...

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The Birks O' Aberfeldy, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland

There are few places in Scotland better suited to the casual hiker than Perthshire. It’s a region of rolling highland foothills covered in swaths of mixed forest cleft into rocky river valleys by the Tay and Tummel. Mountains like Schiehallion and Ben Vrackie loom over it all, providing even greater contrast to this gorgeous landscape. You don’t need to be a rugged mountaineer or spelunker to enjoy Perthshire’s natural treasures. That’s a good thing, too, because I’m neither. I’m just a guy who likes to get into the Scottish countryside and connect with natural splendor.

I’ve been a fan of Dunkeld and Pitlochry for a long time… Read more...

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Knockendarroch House, Pitlochry, Scotland

When last I met Struan Lothian he was running the beautiful Torrdarach House perched above Pitlochry’s main street. He and his family had come to Pitlochry from the fantastic Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland to share their gifts as hosts and proprietors further south, and I was intrigued when I learned he had moved to another establishment within Pitlochry, Knockendarroch Hotel and Restaurant.

Pitlochry is graced with more excellent accommodations than your average Scottish town. It’s a pretty place along the River Tummel, situated on the main route into the northern highlands and amidst Perthshire’s natural glories. Read more...

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