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August 16, 2010

One For The Road

When an email from GlenDronach dropped into my inbox I was quite excited. Maybe they were inviting me up for a top-line deluxe super-dooper tour, such was their disappointment that I couldn’t visit them first time around? Maybe they were sending me samples? Maybe they wanted to pay me lots of money to get back on my bike and spread the word about this rejuvenated distillery from one of my very favourite micro-regions? It turned out to be none of those. In fact, the details within the correspondence couldn’t have had less of a bearing on me at all.

However, I know I have at least one Belgian who drops in from time to time to browse the site and my fledgling views on all things single malt, as well as a fair number of Germans and even the odd French person so this, mes amis, is for you.

At the end of next month some people from GlenDronach distillery, near Huntly, will drive a little van containing lots of their juice - most in bottles, but some in a whole cask - around Belgium. From the 21st to the 25th of September they will pull up at various towns and cities to educate, entertain and (responsibly) water the Belgian whisky-drinking public.

Had this over-taken me on my (mis)adventures around Huntly I may have been compelled to brave the A96 again and haul my creaking clanking bike to the distillery.

Had this over-taken me on my (mis)adventures around Huntly I may have been compelled to brave the A96 again and haul my creaking clanking bike to the distillery.

“We’re taking the brand “on a journey of re-discovery” around Belgium, one of our fastest-growing markets,” declared James Cowan, Regional Sales Director for GlenDronach. 

“Following the phenomenal success of last year’s tour, which was a huge hit with Belgian whisky fans, we’re proud to announce details of our new 2010 tour.

“Once again we’ll be out in force with our special liveried van offering Belgians a unique chance to taste and purchase a truly excellent GlenDronach single cask whisky – this time it’s a 2002 release, which has been matured in a Bourbon barrel. In addition, we’ll be offering tastings of our award-winning 12, 15 and 18 year-old core range.

“Like last year, people will be given the opportunity to fill their own bottle of GlenDronach straight from the cask…charcoal, sheep’s hair and all! As it’s a limited edition, it’s going to be a highly collectable item.”

I tasted the new 15-year-old this week and I liked it a lot. If you are roughly in or near the Benelux area I would recommend you check it out. GlenDronach is owned by the same group of people who have brought such success to BenRiach, minnows when compared with Diageo and most of the other companies and this, I rather think, works to their advantage. Driving a little van around Belgium is something the above conglomerates could finance easily, but the point is they don’t. The BenRiach Distillery Company is both shackled and ingeniously (given the right way of creative thinking) liberated by their smaller marketing budgets. They are the modern day Tommy Dewars: heading to new territories with samples stuffed into suitcases and vehicles, making a genuine and personal connection with their customers. Well done. The list of tour dates (they sound like a jobbing rock band, don’t they?) is below:

Tuesday 21/09 Tasttoe – Kampenhoudt; Wednesday 22/09 Whisky on Wheels – Erpe Mere; Thursday 23/09 Anverness – Antwerpen; Friday 24/09 Tasttoe 2 – Wondelgem-Gent; Saturday 25/09 afternoon Jan Vissers – Geel-Westerlo; Saturday 25/09 evening Whiskyhuis – Zottegem

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