Scotland, Day 11: The Macallan, Aberlour Distillery, Anniversary Dinner at Dowans Hotel, and a Most Amazing Coincidence
One of many highland cows around.
We mostly kept to ourselves and our room while we were here. But we did get to meet Cosmo and Prudence (Pru for short), from time to time. Here, Cosmo is chillaxing on the couch.
Liz, getting some time in with Cosmo.
At the gates of Macallan Distillery.
The architecture at Macallan was definitely unique, and one of the most modern ones of all the distilleries we visited.
Upstairs, in the bar area.
Fast forward a bit to a tasting we had at Aberlour Distillery.
This particular tasting was actually one of the more memorable ones. It was effectively a “blind” tasting, as the glasses we had prevented us from seeing what we were tasting.
Our guide asked us to talk a lot about what we were experiencing, and encouraged us to try to guess: Which was the oldest? The youngest? Sherry cask or Bourbon cask?
The conversation and discussion was really quite interesting, and again one of the more engaging tastings from our trip.
Instead of simply trotting out various Aberlour whiskies, we actually had a variety from other sister distilleries.
On the far left, it was the Aberlour new make spirit (what comes right from the still, before entering a cask of any kind). And on the far right, the Aberlour 12. These were kind of “bookends” for the tasting: it’s the whisky before its aged and after it’s aged, with a lot of variations in between.
L to R it’s:
Aberlour New Make
Glentauchers 21 Year, 1st Fill Barrel
Aberlour 21 Year, 2nd Fill Butt
Dalmunach 5 Year, 1st Fill Barrel
Longmorn 15, 1st Fill Butt
What I found fascinating: we were nosing the New Make, and there was talk of fruit and a strong pineapple flavor. I got nothing of this – just a strong waft of alchol fumes.
But the moment I took a little taste, the pineapple came out like a fist to my head. It was immediate and so very clear, a rather remarkable experience. And the new make was just incredibly delicious. Liz and I were both saddened to learn later that the new make wasn’t available for purchase.
Outside of Dowans Hotel, where we arrived a bit early for some drinks, before our dinner.
A note about the hosts at our B&B (Burnroy House): they have a great service where they’ll drive you to your dinner reservation, and drop you off. This is a great convenience in that you don’t have to worry about driving, and can just catch a cab back home.
Scotland has very strict drinking and driving laws, so whenever possible we tried to take cabs (particularly in the evenings, for drinks/dinner).
One funny thing about our time in Archiestown: there were four cab companies. But this technically translated into four different people with cars, as each person was their own “company.”
We ended up lucking out, and got the same woman every night we were out and about.
Inside the main waiting area at Dowans Hotel. We were seated here and given menus to look over. The interesting thing was that we placed our order here, and when the food was ready to be served… we were then taken downstairs, to our table.
We got our server to take a few photos of us, as tonight was a special occasion: our 12th wedding anniversary! Hard to believe that our big day was over a decade ago.
Man, that was a really fun time.
During our meal, there was another couple dining next to us. Near the end of their meal, we saw a small little chocolate message get delivered to their table. When we asked about it, we learned that it was also their wedding anniversary!
But more than that – it was ALSO their 12th wedding anniverary! What are the odds?
This is Ian and Susan, who were right next to us… and also celebrating 12 years of marriage. The two of them won a contest as part of the charity work they did during Covid last year, and they opted to use that prize to dine here tonight.
Where they sat next to us.
We learned that Ian and Susan were married before they met (Ian for 26 years, Susan for 22). They lived together for 4 years before getting married, and have 4 grandchildren between them (3 girls, 1 boy).
Even now, as I write this, I’m overwhelmed at the series of events that must have… that needed to have transpired, to end in our paths crossing on this night.
The same wedding anniversary date. The same number of years. For us to not only dine at the same place, but to be seated next to one another. And for us to talk and discover this.
The mind reels at the math here.
I couldn’t help myself, and asked for their advice on what they felt made for a healthy, long-lasting marriage. I still recall how they looked at one another, as they pondered the answer to this question.
They gave a standard, good reply: don’t go to sleep angry. But they also recommended: tell each other everything. That really seemed an important thing to them, as a rule.
I have to say – meeting Ian and Susan was just a phenomenal thing to me, and I couldn’t believe our luck in meeting one another. I was incredibly moved by this experience, and remained awed for the remainder of the night (long after we got back home).
Our anniversary plate. Just like Ian and Susan’s.
Scotland, Day 1: Driving to Glasgow, Dinner at The Butchershop
Scotland, Day 2: Auchentoshan Distillery, Kelvingrove Park, Dinner at Fanny Trollopes and Bon Accord
Scotland, Day 3: Glasgow Necropolis, Glasgow Cathedral, Tasting at Glen Goyne Distillery, Dinner at Stravaigin
Scotland, Day 4: Island Hopping to Isle of Arran, Lochranza Distillery, Isle of Islay, Late Arrival at Islay House
Scotland, Day 5: Bunnahabhain Distillery, Lagavulin Distillery, Dinner at Islay House
Scotland, Day 6: Bowmore Distillery, Bruichladdich Distillery, Isle of Jura, Jura Distillery
Scotland, Day 7: Travel Day, Dunchraigaig Cairn, Oban Distillery, Whisky Vaults
Scotland, Day 8: Travel to Inverness, Glencoe Valley, Loch Ness, Moments of Indecision, Drinks at the Malt Room
Scotland, Day 9: Victorian Market, Clava Cairns, Old High St. Steven’s, Malt Room Revisited
Scotland, Day 10: GlenDronach Distillery, a Late Dinner Panic, Arriving at Burnroy House in Archiestown