Sunday, April 3, 2011
A trip to Speyside > March 2011
At the end of last month we were delighted to be invited on a mini tour of the Speyside whisky region by Chivas Brothers. The company, which forms part of the larger Pernod Ricard group, owns 12 distilleries in total, 11 of which are located in Speyside. Our tour was to visit three of them - Glenburgie (pronounced glen-burg-ee and pictured, above left), The Glenlivet (pictured, above centre) and Strathisla (pronounced strath-eye-la and pictured, above right). The three distilleries are the foundation on which Chivas Brothers is built - Glenburgie single malt contributes greatly to the famous Ballantine's blended whisky range, Strathisla likewise for the Chivas Regal blended range and The Glenlivet is a world famous and iconic single malt whisky in its own right.
On the trip we learnt plenty about each of the three distilleries and the Chivas Brothers' organisation and methodology. We met a number of people who spoke to us about the nuances of the whisky industry - these included Alex Robertson (the International Brand Ambassador for Chivas), Sandy Hyslop (the Master Blender of Ballantine's) and Alan Winchester (the Chivas Distillery Manager, who oversees The Glenlivet amongst other distilleries). All imparted a great deal of information and enthusiasm in the short time that we spent with them. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them again for their time. We will be writing about the trip and our findings over the coming weeks in a series of blog posts.
We were joined on the trip by a mix of old and new whisky blogging friends, including our fellow Londoners Joel and Neil from Cask Strength, Chris from Edinburgh Whisky Blog, Jim and Nicola from Whisky Boys and Patrick from Whisky-News, a whisky website which he writes in both English and French. If you are not aware of these sites, then we urge you to visit them as all are very good and are packed with information. They will also be writing about the trip, so please follow their versions of events too.
We would also like to thank Courtney (the Chivas Communications Executive) and Grace and Kaye from Richmond Towers, who do PR for Chivas Brothers, for all the organisation and additional information given. Final mention must go to 'Willie', the bus driver who ferried us around in the minibus for two days and had no sympathy for all our 'morning of Day 2' hangovers - this manifested itself in him driving as fast as possible through the Scottish countryside, finding every pothole and accelerating towards every corner! Maybe, it just felt worse than it actually was .....