The Speyside Way Day One: Beginner’s Luck

It was a swankadelic bus from Inverness to Aviemore. The double-decker coach was arranged in tables for four like on a train, not seats in cramped rows. And we had free WiFi and plugs for devices.


The fancypants bus left Inverness at noon and we arrived at the official start of the walk in Aviemore by 1. By 1:30 we were officially on the Speyside Way, which might as well be called Whisky Way as half of Scotland’s nearly 100 distilleries are located in the Speyside area.
It was partly sunny, and one of the warmest days we had all month. Nice way to begin.


As a first leg, it turned out to be a terribly easy journey. It was only 5 miles of gentle terrain. We passed a golf course. Scottish courses are seriously scenic–if you play you owe it to yourself to pay homage to the land where links was born!). We arrived our destination Boat of Garten at beer o’clock. Unfortunately the beer sucked.


Our B&B Moorhouse was elegant with the most proper washroom we have had in a month. And they had some unique whiskies on offer.

Tasting Notes:

Dinner was had at the Boat Hotel, the only pub in town, doing the “early bird” prix fixe menu was a pretty good deal at £12 each. At least the quality was good–we have struggled with poor quality dining in Scotland. The relationship between rural and urban prices in Scotland are reverse to what they should be, with cities like Edinburgh often cheaper than rural regions for beer, single malt, and food. Malts that should be £3-4 are £5-6 out here in the country and closer to their distilleries.
Whatever. We sampled a Benromach Peated single malt and a few stale beers at the Boat Hotel pub. The malt was too light and thin, but suitably smoky. It benefitted from being opened with water.
Back at our B&B Moorhouse, whisky was cheaper than the Boat Hotel. As I write, we sip a Toumintoul 12  port finish, which is like lounging on the ground in an orchard after gorging on apples and plum. Its color is spicy, its body sugary. The Drumguich Josh got was pale gold, light, herbal, and dry. Reasonably complex flavor-wise but its body is thin.
Inverarity 10yo and Inverarity Ancestral 14yo: both fabulous! The 10yo is butterscotchy and smooth finishing dry with smoky whispers. The ancestral is dark, rich, spicy (with star anise and clove). Complex, and hides many secrets.
Tomorrow our walk is a little longer than today. We head to Grantown-on-Spey. That’s it for today.

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