Whisky Magazine Issue 44
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Robin Laing takes a gentle stroll with his friend through Speyside
Donald's career path has taken him to the South East of England, close to the engine room of political power. This path has distanced him, in my opinion, from those magical places in Scotland where earth seems to interface with heaven. He's my friend so I see it is my duty to bring him back whenever possible, so we've had days mountain climbing in Glencoe and short breaks in Islay.
Donald has become a single malt whisky enthusiast and I take some credit for this. He doesn't know it but I've enrolled him on my life appreciation course and it's all part of the programme.
I did notice though that he was favouring Islay malts. He would go for one or two other Island or Highland malts now and then, but never any Speysides.
When questioned about this he said that Speyside whiskies always gave him the hiccups. I told him I'd never heard anything so ridiculous in my life, whisky is the cure of ailments not the cause, but he stuck to his guns. Here was a personal challenge; how to help Donald get over this obviously neurotic delusion – by subterfuge? By behavioural psychology? By bullying and torture?
In the end I decided on the subtle approach; take him to the heart of Speyside, not to visit any distilleries, but just to let the atmosphere do its work.
So I booked us into the Craigellachie Hotel. Craigellachie is the spiritual heart of Speyside, almost equidistant from Aberlour, Dufftown and Rothes. A dozen or more distilleries are within walking distance and evocative place...