Sunday, November 8, 2009

Great places to drink whisky ... The Mash Tun, Aberlour

the mash tun, aberlourThe Mash Tun is a pub and whisky bar that is located in the heart of the Speyside whisky region of Scotland. It can be found in the small town of Aberlour and sits on the banks of the fast flowing River Spey. The pub offers contemporary Scottish cuisine and the whisky bar is stocked with nearly 100 whiskies! The Mash Tun also has accommodation in the form of five luxury rooms that are named Aberlour, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan after five famous local distilleries. It is currently owned by Mark and Karen Braidwood. For more information, take a look

The Mash Tun was built in 1896 by Thomas Campbell, a former Captain in the Royal Navy. He asked the architect to construct the building in the shape of a ship, hence the curved frontage. It was called The Station Bar, due to its location next to Aberlour's railway station. The name remained until the branch line that served Aberlour was closed in 1963. This is when it became The Mash Tun, in reference to the piece of equipment used during the whisky making process and the rich whisky heritage of the local area. There is a clause in the building's title deeds that states when/if the railway line ever re-opens, then the name must revert to The Station Bar.

The whisky bar of the Mash Tun is certainly well stocked. As mentioned, there are approaching 100 whiskies behind the bar with the emphasis unsurprisingly on Speyside whisky, both from famous and little known distilleries. The selection includes a complete set of the Glenfarclas Family Casks (a series where one cask from each consecutive year between 1952 and 1994 was bottled). This is one of only two complete sets in the world where they are on general sale to the public (the other is in Japan), with prices at around £250 for a dram of the 1952!

During our one night stay at The Mash Tun (in the gorgeous Glenlivet Suite), we had a hearty evening meal and then settled in to some serious dramming. We set our emphasis on the lesser known Speyside distilleries and classic Speysiders that we had never been able to try before. As a result we sampled, amongst others, whiskies from hard to find distilleries such as Craigellachie and Glentauchers alongside classic well re-knowned whiskies such as Cragganmore 12 years old and Mortlach 16 years old. Click on each name to read our detailed reviews of these whiskies.

The Mash Tun is simply a great place to drink whisky. It is vibrant and welcoming, with a great selection of single malts and blends and offers the chance to relax with a good dram with the sound of the River Spey in the background. If you are in the area, then you must make sure that this place is on your route. We would like to thank Mark and Karen and their staff for the hospitality during our stay at The Mash Tun.

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