At the SMWS Members’ Room in London (June 2018)

Back to London in June, this time not to a restaurant (though I did eat some tasty food there). No, this is a brief account of an evening spent in the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Members’ Room in London. I am not a member of the Society. It never seems to make sense to join in the US, but if I lived in London or Edinburgh I would be all over it. This is because while in the US we only have a few “Partner Bars” where SMWS whiskies may be sampled, London and Edinburgh have Members’ Rooms where you can try whiskies from current and recent outturns and even get a taste of things about to be bottled. And the Members’ Room at 19 Greville St. in London is very nice indeed. How did I get in even though I am not a member? Well, a member can bring a guest and I was the guest of someone who is a member not just of the SMWS but also of the OWI (Online Whisky Illuminati): Billy Abbott.  Continue reading

Drinking Whisky at Ginger (Hong Kong, December 2018)

Here finally is my last report from my Hong Kong trip. Don’t worry, whisky people, it’s not another restaurant report; instead, it’s a brief account of a whisky bar I spent a bit of time in on my first night in Hong Kong: Ginger. I found it by asking for whisky bar recommendations on the Malt Maniacs and Friends Facebook page. It was one of a few that were recommended. I didn’t choose it for any particular reason other than it was all but right next to Kau Kee, where I had dinner that first night, and a quick walk from my hotel on Wellington in Central. Accordingly, after my bowl of tendon and noodles in curry soup I repaired to Ginger. Continue reading

Dornoch Castle Hotel, Whisky Bar and Distillery (Scotland)

More than six months after we checked out of the Dornoch Castle Hotel, here is a brief write-up of the hotel, their famous and excellent whisky bar, and a quick walk through their micro-distillery. Whisky geeks are well aware of the Thompson brothers and the Dornoch Castle Hotel. The brothers are members of the Online Scotch Whisky Illuminati  (OSWI) and their hotel and bar has been part of the itinerary of whisky travelers in the northern highlands for some time now. A few years ago they also launched a micro-distillery in the hotel grounds. Here now is a quick look at all of it. Continue reading

The Mash Tun (Aberlour, Scotland)

I really need to get better at putting up trip food reports quickly. We were in Scotland and London in June and I’m not yet done with my reports on Scotland and haven’t even started on our London meals and whisky experiences. As I’m now on the more relaxed portion of my current travels in Asia, I’m going to try to get a few more of these out this month so I’m not still writing my Hong Kong, Bombay and Delhi reports from this trip next June. Though, as I’ve said before, it is nice to relive trips in this way many months later. In that vein, here is an account of a relaxed lunch at the Mash Tun, a very well-known inn and whisky bar in the town of Aberlour. This was our last meal on our weekend in the Speyside. After this our friends returned to Edinburgh and we went north to Dornoch and Orkney.  Continue reading

Highlander Inn (Craigellachie, Scotland)

Back to Scotland, and back to a legendary whisky spot in the Speyside: The Highlander Inn in Craigellachie. We arrived here at the end of a long day. We’d left Edinburgh in the morning, in a convoy with our friends and their kids, and stopped for a few hours at Glamis Castle (lovely tour, lovely gardens). We then drove north to the Speyside via Aberdeen. We chose to go on the big highways because, well, when there’s the option of large lanes in Scotland, you take that option. The plan was to stop at Strathisla briefly on the way to the house we’d rented for the weekend in Mulben and then repair to the Highlander Inn for dinner. Alas, as I once said to Robert Burns, the best-laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft agley, and we found ourselves sitting in a horrendous traffic jam outside Aberdeen, caused by an even more horrendous accident that we eventually passed (an entirely incinerated car in the middle of the highway). There was no question of a distillery stop and so we high-tailed it directly to dinner. The sat-nav had us get off the A96 and onto the A920 right past Huntly and this brought us by some nice country roads up to Craigellachie. The roads were narrow, yes, but without the sheer cliffs and falls to the water by Loch Ness, on Skye and on the west coast to make things tense it was a very pleasant drive. And very nice to pass by signs for distilleries all along the way. There’s no doubt when you’re driving there that the Speyside is the heart of whisky making in Scotland.  Continue reading