Written by MilwVon on 25 Nov, 2006
John Dewar & Sons Distillery and the Dewar’s World of Whisky in Aberfeldy is a must stop while in Perthshire, Scotland. If you are going to do the full historical tour of Dewar’s as well as the distillery you should plan on allowing at least…Read More
John Dewar & Sons Distillery and the Dewar’s World of Whisky in Aberfeldy is a must stop while in Perthshire, Scotland. If you are going to do the full historical tour of Dewar’s as well as the distillery you should plan on allowing at least two hours. The World of Whisky exhibit area was opened in 2000 and gives the historical overview of John Dewar’s modest start in the mid 1800s, later joined by his sons John Jr. and Tommy. While John was the first to join his father’s business, it was Tommy’s creativity and ingenious marketing flare that put Dewar’s in the world’s mind as a premium Scotch whisky manufacturer.As you take the walking tour, you can access the individual audio programming via a handheld apparatus. When you approach a display, you enter in the corresponding exhibit number and the tour audio plays. It is a very human story of how Dewar and Sons, Ltd. became the leading manufacturer and exporter of Scotch whisky.After the walking audio tour through the historical exhibits, you are ready to take the guided distillery tour. While photos are permitted, flash is not. We were able to get a number of great shots, however, which are attached to his review. The Aberfeldy distillery was built in 1896 and began operation in 1898. As you can see from the photo taken from the road in front of the complex, the building remains largely as it was first built over 100 years ago, with a small addition necessary to double their distilling process a few years ago.We had a very nice young lady serving as our tour guide. The distillery tour starts with explaining the germination and mash process. Our guide explained that the germination process is no longer performed on site here. Once the grain is germinated, it is brought here to Aberfeldy for mashing. From there, guests are escorted through to the fermentation barrels where the smell of raw alcohol and yeast can be overwhelming. You will also notice the heat in this area.Next stop is in the distilling area, where the brew is brought to a boil to turn the alcohol into a gaseous form. Once turned to gas, a chilling function is performed to return the alcohol back into liquid. This liquid is then sent through a double distilling process to clarify what will be next placed in barrels for storage and final aging. Dewar’s sends their barrels to Glasgow for the aging process, blending as appropriate and bottling.In order to be called “Scotch” whisky, aging must be at least three years. Here at Aberfeldy, most barrels are aged far longer. The single malt Aberfeldy Scotch is a 21 year aged whisky. Much of what is made here at the Aberfeldy distillery is used by other Dewar’s locations for blended whisky.After the tour, you can stop by the sniffing and tasting area to sample the product. For me, not being a hard liquor drinker, it was simply too strong for my tastes. David tried the 21 year old Aberfeldy single blend and thought it was very nice. For those who are teetotalers, there was coffee and tea available, as well as crumpets and other cakes.The last stop of the World of Whisky experience was of course, the gift shop. You could buy bottles and gift packs of your favorites to take home. There was also a nice assortment of Dewar’s logo’ed apparel including t-shirts, football shirts, and caps. There were also some Dewar’s tartan items including scarves, sweaters, and tamoshanters.The tour was £5.50, although we had a 10% discount certificate from the timeshare resort. This tour is also on the Blair Treasure Ticket if you choose to go that route for your discounted tour package. Even paying full price, we felt this was a good value and enjoyed our time learning more about John Dewar & Sons LTD and their Scotch whisky business. Close
Written by MilwVon on 23 Nov, 2006
For our week in Scotland, the Moness Country Club timeshare resort was home. Comprised of 95 one and two bedroom country cottages, we were very pleased with our accommodations. As you entered the white two story stucco structure, you came through a double door foyer…Read More
For our week in Scotland, the Moness Country Club timeshare resort was home. Comprised of 95 one and two bedroom country cottages, we were very pleased with our accommodations. As you entered the white two story stucco structure, you came through a double door foyer with the master bedroom and bath on the first floor. Upstairs was the living room, kitchen and dining room. The four person dinette table folded down to make room for the Murphy bed in the wall.The space for the three of us was perfect, allowing just the right amount of space and privacy. Mom enjoyed being upstairs especially since she is an early riser. David on the other hand, could snore away and not worry about waking her up. The living room had an interesting mix of light oak finished woods that felt very, well, Scotch. It was comfortable sitting in upstairs watching television or planning for our next day’s activities.The resort offered a full compliment of activities including nature walks, evening games (snooker and billiards), table tennis and a nice indoor swimming pool. In the games hall, there were daily activities for guests including squash, lawn bowling, badminton and mini-tennis.The reception building also housed the Farragon Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant and bar were open nightly, with the restaurant only open for breakfast on the weekend. We enjoyed “high tea” (early dinner) upon our arrival on Saturday night, not feeling we could wait until “dinner” at 7pm. During high tea we dined on a nice meal of steak & ale pie, boiled potatoes, fresh home baked bread, and a dessert tray of scones and biscuits with fresh raspberry jam. The next morning we had breakfast which included a buffet of cereals and juices, and ala carte made to order eggs. The poached eggs were very good, as were the potato scone that accompanied all egg selections. Mom had the bacon which was very much like thin slices of ham, while David and I tried the sausage links. I didn’t care much for mine, probably more my picky American taste buds. They just had a texture and flavor that was not familiar to me and I really didn’t enjoy them.In most timeshares in the UK, guests have to pay for their electricity so when we arrived our cottage was ice cold, like a meat locker. Turning on all the electric radiant heaters, the rooms finally warmed up sometime in the middle of the night. We were all so tired that I don’t think it mattered much. Not to mention, the bedding was very fluffy and retained body heat very well. I think I woke up around 3am roasting and having to kick off some covers for the balance of the night. By morning, I could turn off the unit in our bedroom and not worry about it cooling off too quickly. But with morning came another rude awakening... NO HOT WATER! Someone seemed to forget to tell us to turn on the switch in the kitchen that controlled the electricity to the hot water heater. (As a footnote, our electric bill for the week was £22 or roughly $6.50 per day.)Not wanting to lose two hours waiting for the tank to heat up, we all took sponge baths and slicked on an extra heavy dose of deodorant. Given the outside temperature was in the high 40’s or low 50’s, we were safe from feeling or smelling funky by the end of the day. Thankfully, we were able to enjoy full showers and baths for the rest of our stay.The staff at Moness Country Club was very pleasant and attentive to our every need and request. We would not hesitate to suggest it as a home base on your Scottish holiday. Close
Nestled at the gateway to the countryside of Perthshire in Blair Atholl, the view surrounding the castle on this crisp fall day was lovely. Blair Castle is a private residence, one of the first available to visitors. Completely furnished in original pieces dating back to…Read More
Nestled at the gateway to the countryside of Perthshire in Blair Atholl, the view surrounding the castle on this crisp fall day was lovely. Blair Castle is a private residence, one of the first available to visitors. Completely furnished in original pieces dating back to its origin of 1269, the majesty and history is breathtaking! Only available via guided tours, guests enter through the Great Hall, a large room with huge paintings of several of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl. Decorated for the upcoming Christmas Holiday, it was fun to think how it must have been to grow up in Blair Castle. After a glass of muld wine and learning about the history of Blair Castle, visitors are invited into the main area of the castle. While most rooms are not available to tourists, a representative portion of the home including the dining room, arms room, children’s play room, and a bedchamber were all available during our tour. We were also treated to several rooms displaying jewelry, family heirlooms, china, and photos from generations.In the Great Hall, there must have been over 100 mountings of deer antlers, each with a small plaque with the hunter’s name and the date of the kill below. This is the room where weddings, private corporate events, and other special events take place. From here, our tour group was escorted to the dining room set especially for the Christmas feast. The ornate china and place settings gave a real feeling of Scottish aristocratic life. We were able to get a couple of photos taken before we were told that photos were not permitted in the castle. Please take a look at the photo of this holiday table attached to this review.In another room, there were dozens of swords, guns, knives, and body armor on display. Even full chainmaille chest armor could be seen hanging on the wall. One chest shield was been damaged by a musket ball and a sword stab. Our guide told us that its owner survived the wounds in spite of their dangerous locations. Another photo that we were able to get was taken in the stairway. Here stood a knight in full armor ready to go to battle on his horse. Pay particular attention to all of the swords on the wall behind him.The Atholl family has inhabited Blair Castle until very recently, the 1990s. Some of the photos taken and displayed showed the 10th Duke of Atholl just a few years ago. Today the Atholl Highlanders perform in full regalia each spring. Home of the only private army remaining in Europe today, Blair Castle still holds true to her rich Scottish heritage.The gardens and grounds surrounding the castle were also well groomed and lovely in spite of the dreary, rainy day. Immediately in front of the expansive white building was a brook running through the property. The trickling of the water running over small waterfalls was very calming and peaceful. It was a shame that we weren’t able to spend more time outside to enjoy it. There was also a small herd of red deer kept in a pen approximately 100 yards from the castle itself. We ventured up onto the hillside after our tour as the rains had stopped briefly. It was fun to watch the large male buck chase the younger male from the group of does. He was very expressive including exuding a loud “bark” as though to tell the young whipper snapper “Keep Away!”Perhaps our best photo op of the entire castle exterior was found purely by luck the next morning as we headed north on the A9 towards Inverness. The castle sits perhaps a quarter mile from the roadway, nestled in the beautiful rolling hills. With the gorgeous yellow and orange fall foliage, the setting was wonderful. Blair Castle can be visited as part of several special tourist packages. We of course used our British Heritage pass. There is also another “Blair” package that includes Glamis Castle, Scone Palace and a couple of the local scotch distilleries. To visit Blair Castle alone is £7.20. The “Blair Treasure Ticket” is £15, which will save you approximately £15 if you do all five attractions. Pay particular note, however... Blair Castle is only open Saturdays and Tuesdays during the winter and only for limited hours (9:30am to 12:30pm). Close
Located just outside of Perth, this castle may very well be my favorite of those that have been not been restored and/or remain unfurnished in Scotland. Complete with stories of royalty, treason and a fairytale of young love, this medieval castle has quite a place…Read More
Located just outside of Perth, this castle may very well be my favorite of those that have been not been restored and/or remain unfurnished in Scotland. Complete with stories of royalty, treason and a fairytale of young love, this medieval castle has quite a place in Scottish history. Originally built as two separate towers for the sons of William Ruthven, Ruthven hosted royalty here including Mary Queen of Scots on several occasions. The lands had been in the Ruthven family from the 1100s into the early 17th century. The castle changed hands and names when James VI, son of Mary Queen of Scots sought his revenge against the Ruthven family for betraying him. He had all of the family killed and subsequently tried for treason.With the premises subsequently reverted to the crown, the Ruthven land and buildings became known as Huntingtower, and were given to the Murrays of Tullibardine. John Murray, First Duke of Atholl, and his wife lived here until the mid 1700s. It was the Murray family that connected the two towers creating a more traditional countryside estate. After John’s death and the subsequent death of his wife, the castle would fall into a state of decline. The last year that it was a place of residence was 1767.The folklore fairytale of Huntingtower tells a story of young lovers. With the daughter of Murray family bedchamber in one tower, visiting her lover in the other tower, she heard the footsteps of her mother approaching. She dashed up the narrow spiral staircase to the roof. From the top of the tower, she leapt to the rooftop across the way. The young girl jumped over nine feet to safety, where she was then able to get back into bed as though she was still fast asleep. Her folly was later known as the Maiden’s Leap.Inside the Huntingtower Castle are many original features. Perhaps the most well known feature of this Scottish Heritage landmark is the two painted ceilings in each of the towers. The intricate Celtic patterns have been preserved and remain in their original state in one of the two towers. (Take a look at the photo attached to this review to see the beautiful ornate decoration.) In addition to the painted ceiling, the Murray coat of arms painted on one of the tower room walls has been preserved in its original state protected by a Plexiglas cover.For me it was most remarkable that so many of the castle’s original fireplaces, staircases and even the privy are in outstanding condition. In the main hall that was built between the two towers weddings are often held. The room is large enough to accommodate perhaps 30 guests. While abandoned nearly 140 years ago, the Scottish Heritage Trust has done an outstanding job to preserve this treasure. Admission is charged (approximately $7.50 US), although British Heritage pass holders gain admission free of charge. Close
Written by smacdoug on 02 Sep, 2003
The Birks of Aberfeldy was considered so beautiful by Robert Burns, that he was inspired to imortalize it in a poem of the same name (the walk being named after the poem was written, and Birks refers to the Birch trees that are featured predominantly…Read More
The Birks of Aberfeldy was considered so beautiful by Robert Burns, that he was inspired to imortalize it in a poem of the same name (the walk being named after the poem was written, and Birks refers to the Birch trees that are featured predominantly along the walk).
It definitely is a beautiful hike. The path is well-maintained and steep in areas, however staircases have been constructed, as well as fences and other safety measures. The hike, therefore, is not difficult.
The path follows a stream, complete with waterfalls, and leads through various foliage. There is ample parking at the entrance, as well as brochures, which outline all of the plants you might encounter along the way.