Out and about - The Glengoyne Distillery
It's a stunning setting and, as you might expect, the distillery itself is rather eye-catching with its bright, whitewashed exterior and attractive pagoda roof. A walk round to the back of the cluster of idyllic buildings - complete with neat and colourful flower baskets - revealed a well maintained pathway, lined with old whisky barrels and a crystal clear waterfall which cascaded from the hills - the original water source at the distillery.
We paid £20 each for the tasting tour, which included a friendly and informative walk through the distillery, and a dram of the Glengoyne 12, 15, 18 and Teapot Dram.
The light and fruity 12 kickstarted the lunchtime tour along with a brief introductory video about the distillery. A wander through the complex followed, before we got to sample the excellent 15 and 18-year-old drams. In our 18-strong group, only two of us preferred the 15, which was beautifully balanced and laced with delicious slivers of vanilla, but the 18 was hardly a slouch, with its rich dried fruit and smooth honey flavours.
The tour finished in the distillery shop and a taste of the Teapot Dram, which you could either have in a glass or china teacup. I went for the glass and took a sip. Bottled at 58.5%, it was hot and fiery and took the breath away, but there was no mistaking the quality. A touch of water opened it perfectly and it was delicious - big, bold and packed with dark dried fruit and spices, with a long, lingering finish.
You can only get the Teapot Dram at the distillery - or if you're on the Glengoyne mailing list - so I had to buy a bottle, so expect a full tasting at some point in the near future.
I left Glengoyne with my new bottle, a delicious box of whisky fudge, and a huge smile on my face. It was a fabulous but expensive afternoon, but let's face it, it's good to treat yourself every now and then.