DramVentures 2017 – Winter Bothy

Winter Bothy Dramventures

Bothy: Allt scheicheachan bothy
Munro: Beinn Dearg 1008 metres – OS MAP 43

Setting off from Edinburgh the Dramventure crew and mascot TJ drove to Blair Atholl – then to Old Tilt and parked at the Glen Tilt car park. From there we walked towards the crossroads at Old Tilt and followed the marked walking trails towards the woods, keeping the river on our left. We left the forrest through a large gate and followed a good land rover track for another 8km to get to the bothy, which we’ve got to say looked pretty darn spooky at night!

On the way in we were weighed down with coal food and whisky. Snow was knee deep and even waist deep in places where it had drifted, but DramVentures mascot TJ carried his own gear in his Ruffwear backpack with ease.

The bothy itself has one main room with chairs, four benches for sleeping on and an open fire. It was clean and tidy but cold and difficult to heat, but it was a very welcome sight, late on a cold Friday night.

Early Saturday morning, we set off from the bothy, crossing a small burn and followed a well worn track for about 3.5KM before ascending towards a broad ridge which leads to the Munro top – marked by a large cairn or shelter. You can return by the same route or chose a more direct route over small stalkers paths to return to your original path and back to the bothy.

The walk in and ascent of the Munro were arduous to say the least, but the views were well worth it, which kept us in good spirits.

Saturday night after our walk we warmed ourselves by the fire and enjoyed two wonderful bottles of single malt.

Our first bottle was the Ardmore Legacy. Whisky fans will know that you can often pick this lovely bottle up in shops for about £20-£25. It’s my personal opinion that there aren’t many better bottles of whisky available at this price range. The legacy is a lightly peated dram with a slightly sweet palate. It’s got a hint of spiced honey or cinnamon and comes with an exceptionally smooth finish.

Our second bottle comes from one of Dramventures favourite distilleries Talisker. Talisker Storm like Ardmore Legacy is a NAS (non age statement) offering from the Skye powerhouse. We can have the NAS debate or argument another time when we discuss Bruichladdich’s approach to transparency in their NAS offerings.

I really enjoyed this bottle. Storm has many of the characteristics you’d expect from Talisker. It’s smooth yet has a decent depth of flavour with hints of sweet spices. It’s warm finish let’s you enjoy the hints of peat but is not overpowering.

After drams and stories around the fire we eventually retired again to the warmth of our sleeping bags. Mascot trainee Murphy and his mentor Tj curled up by the fire and a sound sleep all round was had.

In the morning we packed and tidied the bothy after some fresh cooked sausages and returned to the car by the Land Rover track.

31.2Km and about 1200metres of ascent was covered over the weekend and a great time was had!



Glenlivet ‘Inspiration’ Tour and Tasting – 26/03/2016

Glenlivet ‘Inspiration’ Tour and Tasting – 26/03/2016

The Glenlivet Tours

glenlivet map

Saturday 26th March 2016 saw the first distillery visit to be recorded for DramVentures with a trip to The Glenlivet for their ‘Inspiration’ tour and tasting.

Arriving too early, we enjoyed an excellent lunch in the visitor centre café, before spending some time wandering around the exhibition until it was time for our tour.

The tour began as James, our guide, gathered a small but friendly group of whisky enthusiasts together. After a quick introduction, health and safety brief and explanation of the whisky making process, it was into the still house.

Most modern distilleries are an industrial affair, and The Glenlivet is no exception. The main stillhouse is large, open and metallic, boasting 6 stills (3 pairs) producing some 10 million litres of spirit per year, with plans to almost double that in the near future.

We then journeyed on to the exclusive ‘Warehouse No. 1’ where we were shown the range of bourbon casks, hogsheads and ex-sherry butts. Of particular interest but unfortunately unavailable were the two 53 year old casks. What was on the menu however was a dram of 39 year old malt, drawn straight from the cask, which this writer can honestly say (at the time of writing), is the best dram he has ever tasted. The subsequent two, courtesy of the designated driver, and a generous guide were as well received as the first.

g dram

The tour now concluded, it was up to the loft tasting room for a further 7 drams consisting of:
Clearic (New make spirit)
Founders Reserve
15 French Oak Reserve
Hand filled 16 year old single cask, exclusive to the distillery
Uisage Beatha (16 year old single cask)
XXV (25 year old)
Not to mention the complimentary pen and ‘The Glenlivet Story’ booklet, which was a nice touch.

tasting table

the drams

All told, the tour was worth well more than the £35 price, and is thoroughly recommended. The only problem with this tour is developing a taste for exclusive, expensive whisky!