Forty-two distillery tours.
One whisky-making country.
The bike, the Beard and I at Feolin, Jura, with a view to Caol Ila Distillery.
These are the essential facts of my Scotch Odyssey, undertaken over April and May of 2010. However, as you may imagine there was a lot more to one young man’s obsessive quest for whisky experience and knowledge than these bare statistics can communicate.
Therefore, I hope that you will explore, through the posts and articles archived on this blog, my very unusual, challenging and enlightening journey amongst the landscapes and people of Scotland, both of which I discovered to be indivisible from an appreciation of the eponymous single malts.
My ambition to cycle to each whisky distillery open to receive me (forty-nine in total at the time of compiling my travel itinerary) was a tad ambitious as the realities of solo touring in Scotland in spring rapidly made plain to me. Mechanical crises, bad weather, bad luck and my own unrealistic expectations resulted in unavoidable casualties and an incomplete mission.
Nevertheless, during those six weeks I was moved and inspired by my encounters with those visceral and varied landscapes; selfless, generous and compassionate individuals, and some mighty fine whiskies. Each have left such an indelible impression on me that in one respect I am glad that there are eight distilleries I could not visit and whose mash tuns and stills remain strangers to me: it means I shall just have to hop on the bike at a later date and take to Scottish roads once again.
In the meantime, the Scotch Odyssey Blog shall concern itself with all manner of things pertaining to your next visit to a Scotch whisky distillery. I aim to keep all tour information up-to-date, and review some of the more specialist experiences increasing numbers of companies are introducing for those of you who crave a more interactive engagement with Scotch. I promise you it is a deeply rewarding pursuit – no matter how you get there.