Whisky Magazine Issue 23
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Shrouded in an enigmatic air, Whisky Magazine's undercover visitor centre guru checks out four of Speyside's finest
I need more,” cried Whisky Magazine's Editor. Apparently, such is the clamour for the Mystery Visitor's words of wisdom that the column has been promoted from the listings page to an occasional feature of its own. Well, to celebrate, it seemed only logical to go right to the heartland – to Speyside itself, where distilleries lie like autumn leaves, and see what this happy hunting ground has to offer the visitor.
Right away, The Macallan beckoned. This mighty malt has built a new £500,000 visitor centre, so a pilgrimage was organised. And organisation is essential – you are asked to book in advance for tours and, without a reservation, there's a good chance you'll be turned away. The centre is already exceeding expectations and will no doubt be very busy over the summer months.
However, I have to say I was disappointed – in fact, such is the power of The Macallan's reputation that I was sure I'd got it wrong and I returned a few weeks later, only to be similarly let down. The whole effect, given The Macallan's near-legendary status, is anticlimactic. But let's begin at the beginning, where the arrival is full of promise – Golden Promise barley in fact, fields of which surround you as you drive up to the Visitor Centre, demonstrating The Macallan's undoubted commitment to this premium variety.
The brochure promises ‘the very latest in interactive technology'. This is a curious claim for a video player and basic touch-screen installation. Equally, ‘visitor cen...