Whisky Magazine Issue 12
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Malcolm Greenwood samples the other 'water of life', pure mineral water, in Scotland.
The small village of Blackford, at the base of the Ochil Hills in Perthshire, Scotland, is the headquarters and location of the UK's largest producer and exporter of natural mineral water. It is water sourced from a protected watershed and catchment area in the unspoilt, natural environment of the adjacent Kinpauch Hill. This is the home of Highland Spring Water.
It is an early July morning and I am experiencing a natural and wild environment where the processes of nature are left free and where carpets of wild flowers, heathers and lichens fill the nostrils with intoxicating fragrances. The only sound is from a hovering lark high above, well out of range of the spiralling buzzards and lone sparrowhawk which seems captured motionless in time. However there is a warning from our guide and driver, David Webber, on reaching the summit to be vigilant for basking Adders.
From upon the cairn one is afforded a magnificent vista of Perthshire. Far below the silent sights of Tullibartine Distillery and its recent neighbour, Highland Spring Water, is the famous Gleneagles Hotel and golf course to the north-east. Sweeping north-west across the fertile plain is an ocean of barley which seems to rise towards the Highland Line, while, to the south, heath moors extend to Alloa. The area beneath my feet is surely a conservation area par excellence.
The day is dry (not the norm for this area), yet it is on these heather clad slopes that rain falls, is gently filtered through the fractur...