Whisky Magazine Issue 50
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The Mystery Visitor slips into Blair Athol and discovers that a week is a long time in whisky.
It's tiring work, this mystery visiting. No sooner do you compile one of these fearless and hard-hitting reports than the management go and change things and all your work is out of date.
To make it worse, they don't always tell you and then you have to find out by accident. Take Blair Athol, for example.
It's confusing enough to begin with. You'd think, wouldn't you, that they would have built it in the town of the same name? Oh no, that would be too simple. Much more fun to put it seven miles down the road in Pitlochry – and then spell the name ever so slightly differently just to tease.
But that didn't fool me and, with the rain teeming down (it was the summer, of course) I joined a tour group of bedraggled tourists to see what was on offer.
Now, we reported on Blair Athol in an early issue. A relatively obscure Perthshire distillery, it enjoyed a brief burst of fame as a showpiece for Arthur Bell & Company when they were independent, but has slipped down the pecking order under Diageo.
So now your best chance of drinking Blair Athol is in a glass of Bells, as more than 90 per cent of the output goes for blending. But it is worth stopping off here as this is one of the prettiest distilleries you could find, especially the trim central courtyard.
The exterior is looking a little tired, though, and I'll be watching out for the painters this summer (if it stops raining). However, inside there were a few surprises.
Since I was last here, the museum area has been compl...