At Long Last Home – A Distillery tour summation

No trips planned. I’m back in Seattle, and back at home and “regular” life.


So in the tradition of Harper’s Weekly, I give you the following metrics and summation of the four weeks of travel:

Miles Traveled: 18900 (approx)

Airports: 13

Worst Airline: Ryanair. The cheap costs of their flights are defrayed by a very limiting baggage policy, and excessive fees if you exceed their limits.

Best Airline: I was really surprised by West Jet

Hotels: 13

Scariest Hotel: Executive Inn in Louisville – Straight out of the seventies, and not in a good way.

Best Hotel: Culdearn House in Grantown-On-Spey. Small, cozy, great food. And the host was friendly as he could be.

Most Underated Hotel: We loved the Lord Nelson in Halifax.

Rental Cars: 6

Rental Cars Damaged: 1

Number of cans of Shoe polish purchased to cover damage: 1

Times trapped in a Parking Garage: 2

Amount of Times lost: 7

Of those time, amount due to GPS failure: 4

Number of times driven on the wrong side of road: 2

Cups of Coffee Consumed: 30

Cans of Sugar Free Red Bull Consumed: 18

Best Breakfast: Culdearn House, and their Traditional Scottish Breakfast.

Worst Breakfast: Radisson Buffet in Windsor, Ontario. It’s likely that I got food poisoning from a smoked salmon.

Best Meal: I’ll go with the most memorable – The great Haggis we had on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at a place whose name escapes me at the moment.

Distilleries visited: 24

Most Difficult Distillery to locate: Forty Creek (wrong google directions)

Most Scenic Distillery: Glenfiddich – It’s a great location with a ruined castle nearby. Woodford Bourbon was also quite stunning.

Glasses of Whisky Consumed on trip: 120 (approx)

Brands tasted: 110

Oldest Whisky Consumed: 63 years old

Youngest: 2 minutes

Worst Tour: Jameson (Dublin) – Not a tour so much as a model of what their site used to look like. The Jameson folks have also seemed to have hired disinterested tour guides, making the entire process seem like a sales pitch to get you to their gift shop.

Best Tour: Woodford Distillery was one of the more informative tours we had. The George Dickel tour we found to be quaint and fun due to the tour guide.

Most interesting Characters: God, there were so many. John Teeling of Cooley had us laughing almost non stop. Dennis Malcolm of Glen Grant was the most charming, and John Hall of Forty Creek was the most thoughtful, both to us and how he views whisky. I could list everyone here tho. George Grant, Roger Brashear, Larry Kass, Dan Tullio – all were an exceptional help.

Best Whisky Shop: The Whisky Castle in Tomintoul, Scotland. Mike Drury and his wife Cathy were both funny, engaging, and helpful.

Best Whisky Moment: Having Brian Quinn at Locke’s Distillery serve us the 63 year old was up there, as was drinking the 25 year old Glen Grant whilst overlooking their creek on the old wooden foot bridge. Drinking a whisky equal my age at Glenfarclas was also extraordinary. I can’t pick just one moment.

Biggest Surprise: Canadian Club’s embracing their Prohibition Past. Sure it can be seen as a marketing tool at this point, but it’s great to see them embrace their place in history (both Canadian and American). All you need to see is the bullet hole in the wine cellar to understand that. Additionally, they have a really great location (off of the Detroit River, which is prettier than it sounds), and I liked their whisky more than several of the bourbons and Scotches I’ve tried.

Brands and companies I’m now interested in more than before: Forty Creek, Buffalo Trace, George Dickel, Cooley, Glenfiddich.

(Note: I only rated the tours where the sites where no one knew why we were there. We visited several locations that were quite remarkable thanks to the help of PR folks and brand managers.)