A CRACKIN’ ROAD ON THE WAY TO GLEN ORD & GLENMORANGY
Today we left Drumnadrochit for Tain, the furthest north we will travel this trip. To my surprise, I discovered another awesome driving road, this time the A833 heading north out of Drumnadrochit to the intersection with the A862 near Beauly. This roughly 16km (10 mile) is not as epic as the Carradale to Campbeltown road, but it contains a decent mix of elevation chances and twisty bits and the visibility is quite good making it a fair bit safer.
We were headed this way to visit Glen Ord distillery on the way to Tain. You may have heard of Glen Ord in The Singleton of Glen Ord, one of three Singleton expressions released by Diageo. Another fun fact about this distillery is it’s where the peated malt for Talisker comes from. Glen Ord is a perfect example of what happens to a rustic old distillery when a huge multi-national spirits company takes over; they surround the distillery with a bunch of ugly modern industrial buildings. This is what Oban distillery would look like if it wasn’t already surrounded by the town of Oban.
We didn’t tour Glen Ord, but rather paid a few pounds to have a walk through their museum like visitor experience (similar to the one at Laphroaig) and then tried the complimentary whisky. I recommend doing something similar, if you visit a distillery that you have no particular affinity too but still want to say you’ve been there.
Back in the car we continued north, past Dalmore distillery (we’ll be back tomorrow) and on to Glenmorangie (pronounced like ‘m-orange-y’, not ‘mor-ran-gy’). Glenmorangie used to be Dad’s favourite distillery, until I gave him something else that he liked more. Dad is the kind of person who finds something he likes, then sticks to it; pretty much refusing to try anything new, since life has already peaked apparently.
It’s why Dad has bought a lifetime supply of the same runners or why he follows the advice of randoms from 50 years ago to this very day.
Dad revealed to me over dinner that ‘someone’ told him once you should never eat and drink at the same time, you should either drink, then eat or eat, then drink. I asked why, and he said he couldn’t remember but it must have been a good reason because he has been doing it ever since. His theory began to crumble when I asked how long after your last drink is a safe time to start eating and the theory fell apart completely after a five second Google search – apparently the opposite advice to what Dad was told five decades ago, is true. Who would have thought?
We began our time at Glenmorangie in the gift shop and Dad was amazed at the price of the Glenmorangie 25 year old, the whisky I had given him for his 70th birthday, nine years ago. I didn’t tell him how much it cost at the time (about A$450 back then) but he was gobsmacked it’s worth nearly four times that now. It’s no wonder investing in whisky is so popular; the trick is buying the right whisky at the right time…and not drinking it.
The Glenmorangie tour started in the visitor’s centre which is a nice little museum-like setup, before you go into the distillery itself. The tour is fairly straightforward and again, you cannot take any photographs which is a shame because the still room is one of the most impressive of all the distilleries; colloquially known as the Highland Cathedral, with its towering roof to accommodate Glenmorangie’s equally towering stills which are as tall as an adult giraffe apparently.
We left the distillery, had lunch in Tain and checked into our accommodation at Golf View House, which I must say has a fantastic view of more than just a golf course. Tomorrow, we head south again and make our way east to Dufftown in the heart of the Speyside region.