By The Whisky Couple

As promised in the March issue of the Mercury, where we focused on glens, The Whisky Couple takes us hill walking this time, high atop the bens.

By the Whisky Couple

For alphabetical malt whisky drinkers, the quest gets serious upon arrival at the letter “G.” The aperitif will be Glen Albyn and one can rest with Glen Turret as digestive. In between you will encounter famous valleys — the likes of Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas and Glenmorangie. These are not the ones I will focus on this time; they usually draw enough attention. No, we will wander the lesser glens of whisky country that gave their names to malts as well as blends.

By the Whisky Couple

Often used but not worn out, antlers are a favorite among whisky label designers.

Who started this? Was it Glenfiddich? Or Dalmore? Both use a stag’s head as the company logo, albeit Dalmore uses this symbol somewhat more explicitly on its bottles. Based on the foundation date of both distilleries, The Dalmore (1839) should be credited with being first, since Glenfiddich started distilling in 1886. Notwithstanding that fact, I opt for the latter.

By the Whisky Couple

For this, our third look at “Viking whisky,” we go to an idyllic location along a river, on the High Coast of Sweden, in Bjartra. Roughly 480 km (300 miles) north of Stockholm, here stands an old factory where once, during the 19th century, wooden boxes were made for export to England. A huge fire destroyed the factory in 1890. A power station was built on the site about 1912, but only operated 12 years. The buildings were used for storage and then stood derelict after the 1980s. Then, in 2010, the appropriately named Box Distillery started to make whisky on this beautiful spot.

By the Whisky Couple

Have you ever heard of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, in short, SMWS? Yes? Good for you. No? Then it’s about time! I immediately confess that I am somewhat biased, being an official ambassador of the SMWS and a long-time member (since 1990). So forgive me that I write about something close to the heart. However I am sure the readers of the salmon sheets will enjoy the story — and may benefit from it.

By the Whisky Couple

Not too long back, your Whisky Couple joined a group of Dutch and German whisky aficionados who had signed up for a whisky sailing cruise in Scotland. Our vessel was The Flying Dutchman, a two-masted tall ship owned and captained by Dutchman Klaas van Twillert. Klaas has been sailing the Scottish waters for almost two decades and knows them like the back of his hand. Our task would be to arrange a couple of distillery visits along the way and bring a special dram or two on board — it was a fine invitation to accept. In one week we would sail from the west coast to Inverness by way of the Caledonian Canal.

By the Whisky Couple

There are bars … and there are saloons. Recently Becky and I were back in Sweden to witness the birth of a new whisky, up in the northeast, a story we will save for another episode in the salmon sheets. After our short stint near Sundsvall, we decided to stay a few extra days in Stockholm — among other reasons for Becky’s birthday. I try to find interesting places to celebrate every year. A favorite was with champagne while flying above the Mediterranean; that’s been not an easy one to beat.

Mercury newspaper racks are located at the following locations:

The Meeting Street Inn

Clair's Service Station at 334 Folly Rd.

Harris Teeter on Houston-Northcutt Blvd.

The Square Onion in I'On

Mt. Pleasant Library on Mathis Ferry Rd.