Speyside + Inverness

When we started planning our summer holidays on last April and we finally decided to travel for almost two weeks through Scotland I was moved by landscapes, while my husband by whisky distilleries. Luca is quite into whisky tasting – and for “into” I mean obviously that he is really passionate about this topic – so when I proposed Scotland as a destination I was pretty sure that a distilleries tour during our journey could be a the perfect subject to completely involve him to this travel… And I was right!
First distillery of our tour has been the Glenfiddich of Speyside. It is a 19th century distillery, still placed in the original site, surrounded by hills covered by heather and moss and set of many stone houses decorated by amazing small gardens. The tour included a long visit of the distillery where you can learn and see with your own eyes almost everything about the single malt whisky production: how barley becomes malt, how the malt fermentation started and keep going in the huge wash bags – and the product of the fermentation is something like a strong beer. Then the fermented malt is double distilled in the pot stills and then stored in the cherry or bourbon casks for many years.
We had the chance to visit one of the distillery’s warehouse during the tour and you can believe me if I say how charming is see so many casks stored there since decades – and be aware of the price of each of them. At the end of the tour we had a 4 casks tasting – and that’s best part of it! If you have the chance to visit the Glenfiddich distillery you absolutely have lunch at their bistro: delicious recipes – first of all the Cullen Skink soup – paired with their whiskies and an amazing sweets and cakes selection for a reasonable price.
On the road from Speyside – which is wonderful to visit too – to Inverness we also visited Ballindalloch castle, the home of the Macpherson-Grants since 1546. Most of Scotland’s castles are still owned by the noble Scottish clans. The families still live in the castle and allow visitors inside to admire their antiques, forniture, paintings, armors and more amazing stuffs. It is a matter of making business, but also of keeping alive their legacy and memories. And the gardens around are stunning too! It was a new experience for us, because it is almost impossible to see something like that in Italy, where monuments like ancient palaces and castles are property of the State – and not so charming like the Scottish ones!
Then we arrived to Inverness, which it has been a pleasant surprise for us! A picturesque town grown on both sides of the river Ness, with many adorable victorian houses and buildings – our guesthouse was a victorian small villa too! – traditional tartan shops, bunch of rabbits everywhere, photogenic seagulls, people fishing in the city river at 9pm and english-gaelic road signs. Lovely, isn’t it?
The evening sky, covered by clouds enlighten by the strong northern sun was the perfect end of this beautiful day.
Now, stop talking, let’s see some pics! ;)

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