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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Talisker (Virtual Tour), Skye, Scotland

This was my fifth Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#5) and I have in fact been here in person, back in the summer of 2009 PB (Pre-Blog).  At the time (for reasons I don’t fully recall) I did not take the tour, but it was summer and often tour spaces at the more iconic distilleries like this one are limited at peak times.  I do remember being in the Distillery Visitor Centre and Shop and so that seemed like a good place to start my virtual tour.

This appears to be based on Google Earth platform and involved lots of clicking around to explore it and once you get the hang of following arrows and finding and clicking on the Xs on front of you then start looking around it is pretty interesting experience, and you do get to see the visitors centre and key parts of the distillery in much the same way you would on actual tour (just without the “happy cows” jokes and “magical water sources” stories).  With no commentary or information, it feels a bit like you have broken into the place and are wandering around rather than taking a tour though.  As I knew the basics I could tell what I was looking at, but someone who did not know anything about the whisky making process (and I am told there are some people like that out there) would get very little from this experience. 

As good tours end with dram, and I do have a bottle of the pretty good Talisker Storm on hand, I will drink one tonight, party like it is 2009 and then post that review.

If you want to take this tour then click on link and scroll down  to Talisker.... https://imbibe.com/news/8-virtual-distillery-tours-to-entertain-you-during-coronavirus-lockdown/

What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

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Barton 1792, Kentucky, USA

My fourth stop of the day (but this distillery, like Buffalo Trace, is owned by Sazerac and is not on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail) and if the Jim Beam experience lowered my expectations regarding the asthetic qualities of bourbon distilleries, then Barton 1792 sent them crashing through the floor.  This was a whiskey factory and industrial site, pretty it aint.  Still I really like the 1792 Ridgemont Reserve so this is still worth seeing as it goes some considerable way to dispel the Scottish distllery myths about the location, water and overall "terroir" magically contributing to the wonderful spirit.  1792 is a great product... and it is made in slightly run down, red brick factory in the middle of Bardstown.  I also learned that the 1792 date is a bit misleading, it has nothing to do with the distillery, but was chosen because it was the year that Kentucky became a commonwealth of the United States (well played Sazerac Marketing Department).  My tour was a little surreal, they are not in production now so our first stop was the obligatory bottling hall where we got to see (and hear) Taaka vodka filling.  Vodka on a bourbon tour?  Our guide seemed to have carte blanche to wander the site and so we did, rather aimlessly, looking at warehouses full of Magaritaville mixers and Cluny blended scotch as well as loaders, boiler houses and weigh bridges with the same level of enthusiasm as the stills or warehouses themselves.  This was a tour that desperately needed some structure and editing.... even I was bored by the end.  Simply put they need a story... what are they trying to tell the visitor?  Jim Beam talked about their family heritage, Maker's focussed on their brands, Heaven Hill told the overall bourbon story.  Sazaerac... come up with a story and then build a tour.  The highlight was without doubt the samples at the end, one I had never even seen before but will definately look for, Very Old Barton, and of course the excellent, high rye content, 1792. Just before I left I was, of course, offered a chocolate and I realized I had just been to my first Kentucky distillery that DIDN"T have a Beam connection.
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