Dramboree 5 – I blame Jon and The Dram Team

Hopefully the title had you thinking “huh?”

I’ve called it what I did as they were the main influence in my deciding to buy a ticket and go. Well we all like a giggle don’t we? Or should I say “we all love trying new whiskies, don’t we?”

Maybe it should be “a lost weekend in a hostel in Aviemore?”…

So I was packed with my bottle for the table and my fudge for willing mouths, and I was Edinburgh bound… eventually. Signalling delays had meant I had missed the first train but as I had planned ahead there was plenty of time to get there. I decided to have my first dram of the day while we approached Inverkeithing and as my stash was packed in my case I decided to see what they had on board. Not a lot it seemed. The Auganocean (guess) didn’t fit the bill so I decided on a wee old favourite the Highland Park 12 year old. Upon arrival in Edinburgh and ignoring a tweet about “batten down the hatches Edinburgh” I attempted to meet up with Jon and Tom. Bonus was I also met Chris and Jamie from The Dram Team and lovely Amy Seton too. So we set off for one of the Robert Graham’s shops before a brief visit to look in the cage at Cadenhead’s. Brief note, always accept the proffered magazine and don’t respond with “obviously they’re popular” at the large pile. Still my cheekiness and a smile got me off with a laugh.

Shortly after we headed for the coach station to gather the troops of whisky brethren together. I was kindly offered the job of driving the coach, however being two drams in I gladly declined the offer. So all aboard the bus and we were Aviemore bound. Woo hoo!

Back of the bus banter was refreshing and I soon found myself at ease… and the array of delicious drams most definitely helped the miles just disappear, GlenDronach 2002 Batch 8 PX Sherry Puncheon, and then another Batch 8 the 1992 cask #145 Oloroso Sherry Butt. A brief comfort break in Pitlochry and we were on the last run to Aviemore as we headed through the Drumochter Pass and past Dalwhinnie Distillery. We soon found ourselves at the hostel and cases put away and bottles on the table it was a chance to mingle…a few faces I already knew and a few who knew my face and some new faces to know too. So I think the rest of the evening went a little like this…a whisky tasting and receiving our Dramboree 5 glasses and badges to identify who we were. Then later we all introduced the bottle we brought along. These could be something you’ve wanted to try because they are nice or totally evil drams… I brought Douglas Laing Old Particular Glenrothes 12 YO. We all set about tasting things we fancied, I tried the Glen Moray Peated Port cask finish which was rather lovely and it also brought me a lot of humour on Twitter… If you saw the tweet you’ll know what I mean 🙂 Compass Box Morpheus delighted my palate as did Dickel on the second dram. I tried some lovely SMWS whiskies too, 35.52 Lush, divine and exotic and 73.84 Tug of war in a meadow, I guess these were to build up a friendship with my palate again after subjecting it to Fujikai. If you haven’t “been” there then do give it a try… If I’d ever got close to a post game rugby players sweaty cup then I imagine my initial scent sensation would be “Fujikai”. However, I nosed it, I sipped it and believe that my face said it all as I took one for England and swallowed. It was interesting to see some extremely old looking bottle of Haig’s and I’m still not sure where they had been hiding. I gravitated to the lounge for the lost souls…humorous banter and some music and a chance to swap stories of who we are and what we like, the added bonus was the question “I’m going back to the table, anyone want anything?” to which I handed over my glass with a “surprise me”. All good and most welcoming as it was someone else’s choice.

I think I went to bed at 1:30am.

Saturday was an earlyish start and after brekky a walk down to Loch Morlich, love this area of Scotland. A fresh morning and the beautiful views to just lose yourself in for a moment or two. Breathtaking! We then all met up for a blind tasting with the whisky guv’nor and the Science of Peat with Mark and Kate from the Manchester Pyromaniacs manchesterpyromaniacs.blogspot.co.uk a fun and interesting look into heated whiskies including a blind tasting, and I managed to guess one to, the Laphroaig and won a fab Boutique-y Whisky canvas of the Back to the Future Sale label of the Williamson 6 YO Batch 1 bottle. A welcome addition to my other framed cards at home.

After a quick wee dram (as you do) it was time to leave now gloriously sunny Aviemore and head to Forres, en route passing by a whole host of distilleries and had we stopped I’m sure a lot of money would have been spent. But first a stopping Rothes for lunch and the best flipping fish ‘n’ chips I have had in years. Fun and capers in the park with the human fish and then onward to The Benromach distillery. A whistlestop tour of this lovely distillery and an ambush on the distillery shop and we were all aboard the coach back to the hostel for a BBQ. So full of meat and and a happy day behind us it was time to mingle and share a dram or two or… well what ever you liked really. Prize giving for the best bottle and the worst and thanks applauded for a wonderful weekend it was time to wind down in the lounge for the lost souls and share a few giggles. One day I might explain why when asked what biscuit I’d be resulted in me saying “I can’t say (laughing), before sheltering my face behind a cushion”. Then it was time for bed as tomorrow we are heading home.

I guess that all that’s left to say is thanks. Thanks for suggesting I go, thanks for eating and enjoying my fudge, thanks for the banter and giggles but mostly and more importantly thanks to those that run these weekends – Jason B Standing, Jonny M.

Thanks to all those that made this fun!

Sarah

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