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Royal Deeside : A Dram of Whisky 2

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The Malt Whisky Trail

The famous Malt Whisky Trail is a trail that links several famous distilleries in the Spey River valley. The distilleries are Strathisla (Chivas Regal), Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas, The Glenlivet, Cardhu, Glen Grant, Dallas Dhu and Benromach. To this the traveller may add the Speyside Cooperage at Craigellachie and Baxter's Food factory at Fochabers. Below we describe a delightful alternative to this trail.

Malt or Blended Whisky?

Malt Whiskies, which are the product of a single distillery, can be regarded as the equivalent of chateau bottled wine, each having its own taste and aroma. But the cheaper form of whisky is the blend. The basis of most blends is 'grain whisky'. To this base numerous malt whiskies are added to give a blend its own subtle taste and aroma. The cost is dependent on the quality of its constituents. Some expensive blends contain only malt whisky, blending the products of several distilleries.

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Whisky or whiskey ?: normally whisky comes from Scotland, whiskey comes from elsewhere.

A dram is a measure of whisky

Glen Shee looking north to Glas Maol Glen Shee looking north towards Glas Maol

An Alternative Whisky Trail....

From Crieff to Montrose

(Via the Perthshire Tourist Route and Royal Deeside Tourist Route)

Near the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, the town of Crieff lies on the Perthshire Tourist Route. Close by lies the oldest distillery in Scotland, Glenturret. Driving north to Killin and then east along beautiful Loch Tay brings one to Aberfeldy. A few miles north, on the southern edge of the delightful Highland town of Pitlochry, is the Blair Atholl distillery. Pitlochry makes a grand stopping place before the short drive north to Blair Atholl and the fine Blair Castle. Returning to Pitlochry and heading east to Kirkmichael the road passes close to Edradour, Scotland's smallest distillery.

Beyond Kirkmichael the A93 leads north through Glenshee and into the Cairngorms National Park (see top picture). With the fine mountain Glas Maol on the right, the road passes right through the Glenshee ski centre near the Devil's Elbow. The road reaches its highest point here at the Cairnwell pass. Thereafter it passes through Glen Clunie on its way to to Braemar and Royal Deeside. (Look out for herds of Red Deer here and make the excursion to the beautiful Linn of Dee.) Eight miles east of Braemar alongside the River Dee lies the royal castle of Balmoral, a residence for the Royal Family. Adjacent to the estate is the fascinating small distillery of Royal Lochnagar, named after the grand mountain towering above both the castle and distillery.

At the eastern end of Royal Deeside a small road leads southwards from Banchory through the hills and past the stunning Cairn O' Mount view-point to 'old' Fettercairn. Continuing through to the coast at Montrose, an area long associated with smuggling, one finds the Hillside distillery.

As a bonus, this route passes close to a clutch of fine castles including Blair Castle, Braemar Castle, Balmoral Castle, Craigievar Castle and Crathes Castle and much more...

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Introduction Journey through Deeside A Dram of Whisky 1 A Dram of Whisky 2 Forests and Woodlands Lochnagar
The River Dee Red Squirrels Craigendarroch Hill, Ballater Clachnaben by Banchory Braemar Weather  




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