"Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough." -- Mark Twain
If you're one of those Scotch geeks that swears by having a wee drink every now and again, you may have already made the pilgrimage to the motherland. Chances are you've visited at least a few of Scotland's 100 plus whiskey distilleries. You probably know that if the snifter in front of you smells of peat and salt air it comes from the isle of Islay, if it's uber sweet it's probably from Speyside and if there's fruit and smoke, it's likely a single malt from the Highlands.
Now, thanks to the Glengoyne Distillery near Loch Lomond in the Scottish Highlands, 15 minutes north of Glasgow, you can extend your whiskey education even further. This prestigious distillery invites whiskey pilgrims in for one of six classes in learning how to blend scotch. They call it "getting inside the barrel."
The two-hour Master Blender class teaches stillmen wannabes how to create their own blend. Not only will you sample award-winning 17-year-old Single Highland Malts and visit the bonded warehouses, but you'll go home with your own self-made 100 ml bottle.
Or if you're ready for your PhD, sign up for the master class which includes nearly a whole day of whiskey tasting, touring, talks and personalized blending. In this class, you'll leave with a 200 ml bottle of your own making, a personalized bottle of 10-year-old Single Highland malt, a certificate and a cellar book.
In both classes, you'll visit the Sample Room with its walls lined with whiskeys at different stages of maturation, the Club Room that was designed by the hip Glascow design firm Timorous Beasties -- known for its surreal and provocative textiles and wallpapers, the firm got its name from the Robert Burns poem, "To a Mouse" -- and the Board Room, all of which used to be the Manager's House.
Although it started long before, when distilleries where illegal and hid in secret coves of the Highlands, Glengoyne Distillery has officially been making Scotch whiskey since 1833. It's just down the road from the 15th-century Duntreath Castle with its medieval stocks and dungeons, near the area where Scotland's own Robin Hood (Rob Roy) valiantly fought the British aristocracy.
Often considered "the most scenic distillery in Scotland," Glengoyne gathers its water from a 60-foot waterfall gliding down from the Campie Hills.
Follow Pam Grout on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PamGrout