Pub Visits by Paul Mclean of MCLEANSCOTLAND -Scotch Whisky News

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OBAN PUB EXPERIENCE – name with-held for obvious reasons! Story by Paul.

The whisky classic – in the pub, enjoying a dram at the bar. Three old guys (aye, older than me!) also at the bar dramming. Got chatting to them, wondered where the hell I am from? Cannee make out my accent – no matter, even my mates can’t. Once we had establish I was from Connel – 5 miles away – all was fine and happy, they bought me a dram. My turn, I bought 4 drams (myself included) of Aberlour 10yo. Let it linger in ma mooth and enjoyed it, as did the others; Jack, his usual is a half of Best with a dram. Euan, a JW Black, usually drinks Cally Best. Ronnie, he was persuaded to try a Glenlivet, he liked it and smacked his lips! As he disappeared to the toilet, I mentioned to the other two, “it’s known as the ladies whisky, coz its easy to drink”, they thought this funny. As he came back they told him and laughed more, he ordered a Lagavulin – he downed it nicely and said “there’s a real mans dram for ye!” The barman gave us all a nip on the hoose; me; Black Bottle, Jack; Famous Grouse, Euan; Glenfiddich, Ronnie; JW red – don’t go mad now with the expense! Just as things were calming doon, in walked an American couple, soaked to the skin and freezing, they BOTH ordered a Lagavulin! All four of us laughed so much we were choking – a mans dram eh!


OBAN PUB TALE – IRISH BAR – name with-held for obvious reasons! Story by Paul.

I walked in, went to the bar and ordered a Tullamore Dew single malt. Fella next to me said to his pal “now there’s a man who knows a good whiskey”, they both had thick (but understandable) accents. They chatted away arguing about Irish whiskey, so I bought myself a Redbreast 10yo, and a Writers Tears and a Connemara Peat, once each for the two fellas. Mayhem followed! Great craik, two “rounds” of whiskey followed, they asked where I was from?  “Connel” says myself. Confused looks spread over their faces, they had had a few by now, “what county is that in?” says (let’s call him) Paddy, “it’s 5 miles doon the road” I say, oh they say. When I mentioned my mum is from Kilkenny, they lit up! “ we are from Co Kilkenny!!!” Two drunken Irishmen chatting about home, whiskey, my mum, I just about managed to escape!


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Monday 23 December; distillery day today, started with a drive to Ardnamurchan, furthest westerly point of British mainland. Back tracked a little to where Adelphi are building a distillery. I reckon about 3 months to the finish now. With Concerto barley, being grown especially for the distillery, next to their bottling warehouse in Fife this will be a totally Scottish whisky!  Whisky industry veteran Graeme Bowie is to run new distillery. Graeme will initially oversee the visitor centre project. He moved from Inver House’s Balblair Distillery in Ross-shire, where he has been assistant manager. All the buildings, except for the visitor centre are now up. Even though, as images show, not quite finished, it can’t be long before I am there again, dry this time!  It was a hell of a day on my visit!  Remaining completely independent, Adelphi is able to select its single malt whiskies from as many distilleries as possible. Adelphi will only put its name to an outstanding whisky, they bottle single malt Scotch whiskies from only the very best single casks available. No two casks mature their contents the same, and with only 100-700 bottles produced from one cask, Adelphi single malt bottlings are both rare and highly sought after, only the very best single cask, single malt whiskies are good enough to be bottled on their own. With the help of Charles MacLean, it selects a mere 4% of those that are offered. Your guide and host (Paul McLean) will vouch for that, having tried many!  Too many.

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From here a fantastic drive (ok, some really bad weather) to the Corran ferry, and on to Fort William (again), where I had a meeting arranged with Colin Ross of Ben Nevis distillery.  A good long chat with Colin in the boardroom, chatted over distillery tours, special bottlings and all sorts of things, even bible man! There will a new distillery visitor centre opening next year (2014) and a new whisky name also! Warehouse Number 7, this will replace Legend of the Dew. Warehouse 7 is now where the current visitor centre is located. Two very exciting bottles soon to be available; 21 year old Port finish looks good, in it’s own decanter, also exciting, the 25 year old, again in decanter, only approx. 500 of these available and 200 of the 21 yo available in decanters, looking at £400 ish for the 25, a limited edition. So don’t say I didnee warn you!

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Back at the pub for the final night, sitting at the bar, there was an American couple staying, also seated at the bar, after a wee opening chat, with the ok from Steve (owner) I nipped to the room for some whisky bottles (200 ml), we then had a blind tasting, another “silence of the drams”! I told them how it worked and they were up for it. Bottles included, BenRiach 1995, Templar dram; 21 yo Speyside, Bruichladich Rocks and a Cutty Sark Storm. After the pen and paper bit, we then chatted away with the 4 drams. What did we think? Overall winner by far, BenRiach! One comment re BR; “anyone who does not like this whisky, needs surgery!”  I like to these silence tastings, no one can speak until we all wrote down what we thought, no suggestive comments made to influence the others, my own idea (Paul). For a finish we enjoyed a Famous Grouse chocolate bar!

Paul McLean was on a selfish, chill out trip, all on his own (except for Stan the Stag)! But can repeat the trip for anyone who wishes to tour with MCLEANSCOTLAND in 2014, a west coast thriller! See facebook for many images of this trip; McLean Whisky Tours

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