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Issue 32 - Rockin' in Fochabers

Whisky Magazine Issue 32
July 2003


This article is 14 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Rockin' in Fochabers

Dave Broomembraces a rock 'n' roll lifestyle in Speyside's hippest town

Things were going well. The VIP room was suitably dim – indeed it seemed to be suffused with that strange orange light last seen in the freak-out sections of 1960s films.

I was holding, pinkie raised, a glass of Chivas Manhattan (25ml Chivas Regal 12-year-old, 12.5ml each of dry and sweet vermouth, a dash of Grand Marnier, ice, flamed orange zest), prepared astoundingly quickly by my new friend Danny Undhammar.

A scene which, you may well think, is not that unusual for a professional barfly such as myself. Show me the way to the next VIP bar, as Jim Morrison might have slurred. But life, as you may have gathered from my previous ramblings, is never straightforward. In fact, it's downright weird. This wasn't your normal guest-list-only zone. These Chivas Manhattans were being drunk upstairs in the Fochabers Institute.

Maybe, I thought, as the second slid down, the ad campaign has finally paid off. Perhaps Fochabers has leapfrogged over Keith (the friendly town), Dufftown and Elgin and become the hippest place in Speyside, a town which can rival Glasgow and Edinburgh in bar culture.

The campaign, I should tell you, was the first time I had ever heard of Fochabers. In the 1970s, the local tourist board tried to lure people to the town with a series of ads and brochures featuring an owl and the catchy slogan: “To Whit To Whoo, Tae Fochabers Wi' You!”

Which I think you'll agree is a tag line you will never now forget. I can only presume that “Get Tae Fochabers” was...

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