Whisky Magazine Issue 135
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Enter the home of Oishii Wisukii (Delicious Whisky!)
Arriving in Craigellachie at lunchtime, Whisky Magazine's publisher and I pulled up outside a small inn that sits upon the narrow road that snakes its way through the centre of the village. Painted chiefly in white, with rich green woodwork around its square windows and tall front door, it was a welcoming sight after a long drive. As we descended the curving staircase to the bar, my employer remarked over his shoulder, “Welcome to the beating heart of Speyside, it's a real Who's Who of whisky down here!”
I suspected that I was having my leg pulled. Perhaps in my enthusiasm for this first trip to Speyside, I had given the impression that I naively expected to find one of the magazine's ‘Icons of Whisky' behind every corner. Yes, clearly this was a joke at the newbie's expense, I thought, before narrowly avoiding a collision in the hall with George Grant of Glenfarclas.
As I recount this tale to Tatsuya Minagawa, the new owner of The Highlander Inn, he smiles and nods with recognition – that this had happened to me clearly comes as no surprise. “Well…” he begins, considering his words carefully. “Sometimes – I'm trying to be humble, you know – but sometimes, perhaps, I do find myself thinking that possibly this place is the centre of the whisky universe!” he exclaims, before lowering his voice again and adding bashfully, “On Speyside, at least.”
In truth, Tatsuya has no need to be modest. With countless trips to Speyside now under my belt, I'...