Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scotland, Day 14

The story of Day 14 really begins on the evening of Day 13, with packing and other preparations for the journey home. In spite of hours of online research before the trip, I was never able to come up with a definitive answer to my question of how much alcohol is it “okay” to bring back in my checked luggage?. As far as I could tell there was no limit imposed by the airlines or the federal government (but anything over 140 proof is considered a hazardous material and not allowed on the plane). Of course you can bring back one bottle duty free, I think up to a value of $800. You are supposed to pay duty on additional bottles; however that’s only 3%. I saw references to a federal excise tax, but never saw a rate for that. Then I read that individual states might have limits on how much alcohol can be transported into them – good luck finding that info for wherever you happen to be flying into. I also saw references to the possibility of bringing back too much and raising suspicion that it is for commercial purposes – an annoyingly vague warning. I decided to buy what I wanted, keeping the weight limit of our checked bags in mind, then declare everything and roll the dice with customs. I had heard rumors that they don’t like to bother with all the paperwork unless it is for a small number of high value items, and will often wave people through with their declared items.

Needless to say, my father and I ended up with a lot of Scotch at the end of two weeks. How much? Five 70cl bottles, one 35cl bottle, seven 20cl bottles, and forty-nine miniatures! Much of my last evening in Scotland was spent carefully securing this precious cargo with an assortment of neoprene bottle totes, bubble wrap, packing tape, paper towels and zip-loc bags. Oh, and we acquired 10 glasses along the way at various distillery tours – one more thing to worry about breaking. All of this was carefully spread across 3 checked bags and meticulously integrated into our dirty laundry. Fortunately I had brought my digital hanging scale with me - 2 pieces of luggage ended up within a few pounds of the weight limit and the third had maybe 8 pounds of extra capacity.

The stress of packing and determining the values of items I would be declaring had taken its toll on me - I snuck out of the B&B and scurried across the street to the Fiddler’s Inn for a drink. With two hits of the Longrow 7yr Gaja Barolo and a 10yr Springbank, I managed to liberate my pockets of all the annoying UK coinage I had accumulated over two weeks, and put myself in a happy place before bed.

Day 14 should have been nothing more than breakfast followed by a 2 ½ hour drive to Glasgow, but I had a bit of unfinished business to tend to. I was blaming Day 1 sleep deprivation and the visions of how many rare bottlings I would want to buy during the trip, but I still had regrets about not picking up a bottle of the Glengoyne Teapot Dram when I had the chance, just a few hours after arriving in the country. Well, that could all be rectified with a slight detour on the way to the airport. It only added 30 minutes to the drive after all. The GPS led me back to the bottle I was longing for, and I carefully inserted it into our least heavy piece of luggage.

As we chased the sun across the Atlantic, I mentally prepared to explain the copious amount of single malt in my possession to the customs officials at my destination. But that event never came to pass; our flight out of Glasgow was delayed by three hours, causing us to miss our connection in London. We caught a flight to Boston that left two hours after the one we were supposed to be on, but out checked bags didn’t keep up with us. It wasn’t much of an issue getting through customs with our luggage sitting in London. Our liquid hoard was delivered to us 24 hours after we got home. The suitcases looked dry and weren’t emitting any wonderful aromas - yes, everything made it through intact! I had no idea if the customs officials had looked through our luggage and I really didn’t care, I was home and I had my whisky.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Scotland, Day 13

The story of distillation turned into a massive post, but there was actually a lot more included in Day 12. I’ve decided to cover the rest of it in this post since there is only a little bit to write about for Day 13.

The afternoon of Day 12 started off with a tour of the Glengyle Distillery, which produces Kilkerran single malt. Owned by J&A Mitchell & Company (the parent company of Springbank), this is one of Scotland’s newest distilleries, having begun production in March 2004. I’ll tell the whole tale of this distillery in the coming months, when I review one of their early releases. As for the tour, it was interesting to see how a modern distillery can be laid out when built from scratch (albeit in an existing building), as opposed to most of the other ones we toured, which have evolved and adapted over hundreds of years.

From here we took a walking tour of Campbeltown. Once known as “the whisky capital of the world”, 34 distilleries were built here through the 19th century. Of course, for every boom there is a bust – most of these operations closed down in the 1890’s, and by 1934 only two distilleries remained in Campbeltown; Springbank and Glen Scotia. The remnants of many former distilleries, which are now protected as historical sites, are visible throughout the town. From engraved arches to partial pagodas to stone walls belonging to long ago decommissioned warehouses, these monuments to the town’s whisky history are all about, but easily overlooked without the insight of a well informed guide.

We eventually made our way across town to the Glen Scotia distillery. Springbank and Glen Scotia have no business connection, but the two companies do maintain a very cordial relationship. Started in 1832, Glen Scotia went through silent periods from 1928-1933 and 1984 -1989. After re-opening and operating for 5 years, new ownership took over in 1994 and mothballed the distillery for another 5 years until production resumed in 1999. This was done with staff and technical assistance borrowed from Springbank, until staff was brought over from Loch Lomond distillery in 2000. Glen Scotia, Loch Lomond and the now defunct Littlemill are all owned by the same company.

A few years ago I tried the standard 14yr Glen Scotia and was underwhelmed. During our tour, we were told that the folks from Springbank did a lot to slow down the process and improve quality (longer fermentation, slower distillation, etc) at Glen Scotia when they helped out in 1999. These practices have continued since that time, so I’d be happy to give the (now standard) 12yr Glen Scotia a shot if I can be relatively sure that the bottle contained distillate produced after the latest re-opening.

Now for the best part of the day – cask sampling. Off with the padlock and into warehouse No. 3 with the most important of tools in hand: bung extractor, valinch and proper nosing glasses.

No. 3 is a long, low warehouse, with casks stored one or two high. This is where many of the oddballs end up, so there were a great variety of casks types (shapes and sizes, not to mentions former contents). I scribbled down the best tasting notes I could, but this was really more about enjoying the tasting.

We started off with a Hazelburn at 59.1% abv, from a first fill Bourbon barrel. It was almost 9 ½ years old, having gone into the cask on December 19th of 2002. I picked up pear and apple on the nose, and the palate was light and warm with vanilla and butterscotch notes.

Next up was a Springbank at 57.2% abv. This was distilled in 1997 and aged in a Bourbon barrel until 2007, when it was transferred to its current Madeira cask. It was fruity up front and had the classic Springbank saltiness, with a spicy a finish which was very long.

After that we moved on to something very special. One of the first 6 casks of Kilkerran, filled in March of 2004 when production started at the new Glengyle distillery. Each of the first six is a different type of cask, and bottles from them are being pre-sold at £175 in advance of their release in 2014 once they have aged 10 years. The malt is lightly peated, at 8-10 ppm. Our samples were drawn from the fresh Port cask, and came in at 58.4% abv. It was dark ruby in color and had a nose of licorice and dark, sweet fruit. On the palate there was a big, rich pop of flavor which had a great balance of dark fruit and perfumed floral notes (I’m not usually a big fan of the perfume / floral flavors, but in this case they were subdued enough to add complexity without becoming offensive). I think this was my favorite of the day.

From here we went to a Springbank distilled in 1995. Having been in an Oloroso Sherry cask for about 17 years, it came in at 56.3% abv. The minimal nose was mildly nutty, and the restrained palate consisted of complex dark fruit and caramelized sweetness.

Then it was on to a Sherry cask of Longrow from 1994 (we were told that this would be vatted together with other casks for a bottling of 18yr Longrow later in the year). This was at 53.8% abv. Interestingly, I detected no peat on the nose, instead picking up notes of honey and mineral water. There was a big blast of flavor on the palate with unexpected (and hard to identify) flavors. A solid hit of peat faded fast and mixed with classic sherry fruit flavors, and the honey that was evident on the nose came back on the finish.

Next we drew samples from a Gaja Barolo (red wine from northern Italy) cask. These casks had previously held Longrow Gaja Barolo 7yr (which spent 5 ½ years in Bourbon barrels followed by 1 ½ years in the wine casks). The current contents was Springbank at 58.9% abv, which was distilled in 2004 and had been aged 4 years in refill Bourbon barrels before being transferred to the Gaja casks in 2008. The nose was limited, and the palate combined classic Springbank fruit flavors with hints of red fruits. There was mild peat late on the finish, which was warm and balanced.

We finished up with a Springbank from 1991, which would become 21 years old in January. It was in a first fill Bourbon barrel and at 53.8% abv. It had a complex fruity, floral nose, and was moderately floral on the palate. Impressive, but not my favorite (of course, I’m sure I was suffering palate fatigue by this point).

On Day 13, we got to sleep in and have a late breakfast before heading to our final exam, which was taken as a group with access to our notes. No one fails, but it was still interesting to see what we had learned and what we missed.

After lunch, we received certificates documenting our successful completion of the course, and we were each awarded a commemorative bottle of Springbank. We were told it was a vatting of whiskies ranging from 10yr to 18yr. It looks fairly dark for its abv of 48.4%, so I’m guessing that it has a heavy dose of Sherry cask whisky in the mix.

After being photographed with Distillery Manager Gavin McLachlin and Director of Production Frank McHardy, they announced that I had been chosen from the six students as the star pupil of Whisky School. My ability to frequently ask nagging, difficult to answer questions must have put me over the top. For this honor a was awarded a 35cl bottle from my choice of the “living casks” at the Caddenhead’s shop (as whisky is sold out of these, more is periodically added from casks at the distillery, so the abv, range of ages in the mix, previous cask types, etc is constantly changing). I went with the Longrow.

And yes, I did have one final dram at the Ardshiel – a cask strength Royal Lochnager from independent bottler Signatory. I think it was a 17yr from 1991. Quite enjoyable, but much lighter in color and softer in flavor than expected from a full strength Sherry cask whisky.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scotland, Day 12

Most of my time today was spent learning the intricacies of distillation. We actually skipped around to different parts of the whisky making process through the week more than I’ve indicated in the last few posts, so I had already learned about mashing and fermentation on previous days and just brushed up on a few details regarding those subjects today. For the sake of keeping the blog from getting too confusing, I’ve held off writing about those two processes and will now cover them along with distilling. I don’t want this to be too technical, so I’m going to try to simplify the procedures a bit and then, at the end, go into depth with details of the process that are unique to Springbank.

On the Day 9 post, I ended with grist – the product of malted barley having been crushed in the mill. The next step is mashing, where the grist is mixed with hot water and allowed to steep for some time before the liquid is drained off. This happens in several stages at increasing temperature ranges. The purpose of this step is twofold – to activate enzymes present in the grist which will convert soluble starches into fermentable sugars, and to dissolve those sugars into the water that will be drained off the mash. The spent grains which are left (known as draff) can be used as cattle feed.

The sugar-rich water, known as wort (essentially unfermented beer), is now ready to move on to the washback. But on the way there it must go through a cooler to bring it down to a temperature that is optimal for the yeast to work in. The cooled liquid moves into the washback, a large fermentation tank, where the yeast is added. Once fermentation starts, and up until distillation begins, the liquid is known as wash.

Most single malts are double distilled. Once fermentation is complete, the wash is transferred from the washback to the Wash Still. The still is heated (by steam in most cases), and the liquid begins to boil. The alcohol boils at a lower temperature then water, so that comes off as vapor first. After reaching the top of the still, the vapors move into the lyne arm (a horizontal or near horizontal tube connected to the top of the still), and from there go through either a condenser or a worm tub, where the vapors are cooled and return to a liquid state. All of the liquid coming off the stills runs through a spirit safe, where the temperature and gravity can be checked to calculate the alcohol content. All of the liquid from the first still (called low wines) is collected in a tank called the Low Wines Receiver, until the alcohol level of the liquid coming out of the still drops to a certain point (the concentration of alcohol in the low wines will gradually decrease through the run), usually in the low single digits abv. At this point, the heat is turned off, and the liquid remaining in the still (known as pot ale) is drained off as waste, or sent out for agricultural use.

The low wines collected from the Wash Still will be mixed with the feints from the previous run on the second still (more on that in a moment), and that liquid will be transferred into the second still (which can be called the Spirit Still or the Low Wines Still, the names are interchangeable), where it is heated and a second distillation begins. This time there is a cut, the first liquid to come off the still (the heads) and the liquid that comes off at the end (the tails) are collected separately from the liquid in between, called the middle. The middle cut is the spirit that will end up in casks, eventually becoming whisky. The heads and the tails (together known as the feints) will be collected and added to the low wines on the next run, to be redistilled. When the Low Wines Still is running, the alcohol level of the liquid coming out is monitored in the spirit safe to determine when to make the cuts that separate the heads and tails from the middle. It will also be monitored to determine when to turn the heat off at the end and stop collecting the tails. The liquid remaining in the Low Wines Still at the end of the process in called spent lees, and is also drained off as waste.

The single malt Scotch whisky industry has changed a lot over the last forty to sixty years. Most distilleries are now owned by large corporations who own anywhere from a few to a few dozen distilleries. Modernization is the norm and efficiency is the name of the game. But Springbank is different, they are one of the few remaining independently owned distilleries (well, their parent company also owns an independent bottler and opened a second distillery in 2004, but you get the idea). They do every step of the process in-house and on-site. They do things the old way, the slow way. The process here is hands-on and labor intensive, but the final product is truly hand crafted, and many a devotee will tell you that the difference can be tasted.

We’ll start with the mash tun, the newest ones are all stainless steel, cold and impersonal. The not-quite-as-new ones are stainless with a copper top. The ancient relic at Springbank is cast iron with an open top. It’s a thing of beauty, with character and soul that you don’t find in contemporary industrial equipment. And here we find an interesting change in the process. Modern barley strains have improved yields dramatically (both in terms of the amount that can be grown per acre, and the amount of starch/sugar that is available per ton of grain. While using modern grains, the powers that be at Springbank have chosen to emulate the effect of using older strains. This is done putting much more water through the mash, creating a diluted wort, which will have a significantly lower original gravity than that of most other operations. Presumably, this slows down the process as well.

The washbacks at Springbank are made of Boatskin Larch. Most washbacks that you see are still wooden, made from the traditional Larch or Oregon Pine (Douglas Fir), but some distilleries are moving to longer lasting, lower maintenance stainless steel washbacks. Those who have gone to stainless will tell you it makes no difference in the flavor of the final product. The distilleries with wooden washbacks are adamant that there are bacteria in the wood that play an important part in developing the flavors of the whisky. And here too the process is slowed down. Most operations ferment for two days, three at the most. At Springbank, the fermentation goes for a minimum of 72 hours, and over 100 hours is preferred for proper flavor development. But because of the diluted wort, the wash ends up between 4.5 and 5.0% abv, in spite of the extended fermentation time. Most other distillers have a wash that is between 8% and 10% abv.

On to the stills, the traditional way to heat them would have been a coal fire directly underneath. Almost everyone has moved to steam heating coils inside the stills (indirect heat). On their Wash Still, Springbank uses a combination of direct heat from an oil fired flame, and indirect heat from a steam coil. The direct heat adds more flavor (I’m guessing it is also less efficient), but the still must have a rumager incorporated into it. The rumager is a series of copper chains that rotate around inside the still, dragging across the bottom and preventing any caramelization / burning. 

The speed of distillation is another aspect that differentiates Springbank – they claim to be the slowest in the industry. Other distillers that are trying to maximize the capacity of the stills will run them faster (at a higher temperature). Slower distillation may not be as cost effective, but it is believed to produce spirit with more flavor. The people operating the stills will set the steam valve to a predetermined starting point. From here the flow rate is checked by measuring the level of the liquid in the receiver tank (the old fashioned way, with a brass dip-stick) every 30 minutes or so, and calculating how fast it is running. The steam valve is then adjusted to maintain the desired speed of distillation.

As I said above, the concentration of alcohol in the low wines coming off the Wash Still will gradually decrease over time. It starts off fairly high, and the abv of the low wines collected will average 20-25%. But at some point, the alcohol content of the liquid coming off the still gets low enough that the heat is turned off, and the process stopped. Most distillers do this around 5% abv, Springbank doesn’t stop until 1% abv. This isn’t really cost effective, as the fuel you burn to get the last few percent is worth more than the alcohol you recover at that point. I don’t know if this difference can be tasted in the final product, but it is one more example of Springbank doing things the old way and adhering to tradition.

The final distinctive feature of the Springbank still house is one that really sets it apart from the competition - 2 ½ times distillation. While they would like to believe that this practice has gone on for the entire 184 year history of the distillery, and there is no evidence to the contrary, no one really knows for sure as the records simply don’t go back that far. There are three stills, the Wash Still, the No. 1 Low Wines Still, and the No. 2 Low Wines Still. It gets complicated if you try to figure out the exact volumes or percentages of what goes where, so I’ll try to explain it as simply as I can. The Wash Still isn’t big enough for the entire 21000 liter contents of a washback, so two runs of 10500 liters go through the Wash Still for each cycle. 60% of this liquid goes out as waste (Pot Ale), and the remaining 8400 liters is collected in a holding tank called the Low Wines Receiver. This liquid is then split up, with 6850 liters going into the No. 1 Low Wines Still, and 1550 liters going to a tank called the Low Wines and Feints Charger. The second still is fired and the low wines are distilled down (stopped at 1% abv, like the first still, I believe), with the distillate collected in the Feints Receiver tank, where it is mixed with the heads and tails that were cut from the third still on the previous run. The contents of the Feints Receiver are pumped into the Low Wines and Feints Charger, mixing with the 1550 liters of Low Wines that were separated of from the output of the first still. All of the liquid in this tank goes into the No. 2 Low Wines Still, for the third and final distillation. The heads and tails are cut out and set aside to be redistilled in the next cycle. The middle cut comes out to an average of 70-72% abv, and will be diluted down to 63.5% abv when it is put in casks. I guess if you wanted to get technical about it, you could say Springbank is distilled 2.8 times, but that’s really nit-picking. As mentioned previously, the single malt under the Longrow label goes through a traditional double distillation, and the Hazelburn brand is triple distilled.

And with all of that information swirling in my head, I was ready for a drink or two at the end of the day – back to the Ardshiel! I was in a Springbank mood, and noticed a Murray McDavid bottling amongst the others. Closer inspection revealed a 9yr old, finished in white wine casks; a risky endeavor, but my curiosity had to be satisfied.

It was interesting, but I didn’t love it. I guess I would call it an exercise in mediocrity. After that I moved on to more of a sure thing, an 11yr Springbank Local Barley bottling. I had nosed the bottle a night or two before, and the intense aromas now drew me back for a dram. It was on the expensive side at £15, but well worth the price of admission.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scotland, Day 11

Springbank is one of a very small number of distilleries with its own bottling facility. Today we got to see the inner workings of that operation. Most of the distilleries that produce single malt Scotch Whisky are under the ownership of a larger parent company that owns anywhere from two or three to a few dozen distilleries (many times they own one or more blended Scotch brands as well). Many of these companies have a large, centrally located, and highly automated bottling facility to serve all of their needs.

At Springbank, the bottling facility is small and labor intensive, but quite versatile. They have the ability to switch bottle formats quickly (they regularly use 5cl, 20cl, 35cl, 70cl, 75cl, 100cl, and 150cl,), and can do short runs for special bottlings (limited edition labels, single cask offerings) without too much difficulty. They are equipped to deal with both t-corks and screw tops. Machines are employed, but the process is still very hands on.

In the few hours that we were there, they did 75cl bottles of the 15yr with a special all-black label to commemorate the partnership with a new U.S. importer. Then they switched over to 70cl bottles and the standard label for more of the same whisky. After that they were back to 75cl bottles and the all-black labels, but now for a short run of 18yr.

This was pretty interesting because we got to see the procedures for dumping whisky from the barrels and how they determine the amount they will need for the number of bottles they want to fill. We also saw how they measure the alcohol level and determine how much water to add to dilute down to the desired bottle strength. I won’t go through all of the details, but it involves the use of dipsticks to check the depth of liquid in various tanks, and checking temperatures and densities (specific gravity) with thermometers and hydrometers.

Once the liquid is ready for bottling it is pumped through a filter (not chill filtered, just enough to get out any undesirable bits that came out of the barrel).

Then the new bottles go on a machine that blows air through them to clear out any dust.

Next they go on the filling station. This must be re-calibrated every time they start a different bottle size. Government regulations allow them a margin of error of plus or minus 0.2ml (as well as plus or minus 0.2% alcohol)

After that the cork is inserted and they move on to the inspection station. Two bottles at a time are held up to a light box for a visual once over, looking for imperfections in the glass or objects in the liquid. They guy who was doing this was incredibly fast, looking at each pair of bottles for less than one second – amazing to watch him go!

From there the capsule is placed over the cork, and that end of the bottle is placed in a machine that secures the capsule.

Down the line it goes to be put through separate machines for the front and rear labels, after which there is one last visual inspection before the bottles are hand boxed, put in cases, stamped and palletized. Quite an operation.

Our post school outing included a bar called Whisky Mack’s. They had less whisky than the name would lead you to believe. I tried the 12yr cask strength Springbank, which has recently replaced the 10yr 100 proof in their lineup. It was very nice, but I think I prefer the latter. We moved down the street for one more at the Ardshiel, where I sampled the 14yr Longrow - wonderful flavor, but incredibly soft and gentle. I may have to hunt down a bottle of this one when I get home.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Scotland, Day 10

Today we mostly dealt with the ins and outs of maturation. As I said, we don’t do everything in chronological order because not every step of the process happens every day.

We started with cask filling. The new make spirit is pumped into a large tank in the cask filling room. Then water is added to the tank to dilute the new make down to 63.5% abv. There are no laws in Scotland dictating the proof of the spirit going into the casks; it’s up to each distillery to decide how they would like to do it.

There are many types of casks. Bourbon barrels are the most common and hold 200 liters. The other two are hogsheads at 250 liters and butts at 500 liters, both of which are most likely to have held sherry before coming to Scotland. You may also see a few other types: shorter, stockier versions of both hogsheads and butts are called puncheons, long thin casks are called pipes (often having held port) and there are smaller barrels in the  50 to 100 liter range known as rundlets and kilderkins.

Casks will be used for scotch 3 times (1st fill, 2nd fill, 3rd fill), after that they may be discarded, or the inside could be scraped and then charred and they can be used again (re-char cask). Some distillers will paint the ends of the casks different colors to indicate which use they are on. At Springbank, they use the code letters A, B and C.

After the new make spirit is pumped into the cask and a new bung is hammered in, numbers are stenciled on to the end to indicate how many liters were put in. Detailed information about each cask is entered into a log book at this time.

It takes some practice to get the hang of rolling 500lb casks around and trying to get them where you want them and with the bung facing up. It’s not terribly difficult, but doing it for a few hours leaves the back muscles a bit sore.

We filled just over 50 casks of various size and previous content, then helped put them in the warehouse (okay, we just watched and took pictures as the pros loaded them into the warehouse. There are many warehouses at the distillery, most are one or two floors with the casks stacked two or three high on each floor. Two of the warehouses are taller but with only one floor, and have metal racks that allow the casks to be stored seven high.

After all the hard work, warehouse exploration was the order of the day. The parent company of Springbank also owns Caddenhead, an independent bottler. The casks that Caddenhead have bought over the years from other distilleries are all stored in the Springbank warehouses. They are not in a separate area, just all spread about. The most interesting one I was shown is a Glen Grant from 1959 – crazy to see a cask that was already sitting there for 22 years when I was born.

Another interesting thing I learned is that Springbank used to sell casks to private individuals, up until four years ago. You pay for the barrel full of spirit when it goes into the warehouse, then you pay a lot more when it is bottled and shipped to you. Many of these privately owned casks still reside in the warehouse, and the owners can request sample bottles at any time. We had to draw a sample from one, test to see how much was left in the cask and what the current alcohol level was, and then fill a sample bottle. Of course we had to taste it in the process – 1996 distilled Springbank, 55% abv, great flavor and balance, very smooth for its proof, lovely. Unfortunately we discovered that the cask had leaked and had lost a lot of whisky. We rotated it to get the leak above the liquid level.

Last week I talked about the different methods employed by Bruichladdich and Ardbeg, one is a proponent of cask finishing (usually with less than a year in the alternate cask), and the other marrying various cask types at bottling time. Springbank is somewhere in between those two, they transfer whisky from one cask type to another, but usually for a much longer period of time. Two examples we saw in the warehouses were:
A Springbank that was distilled in 1997 (presumably it went into bourbon barrels first, but we’d have to look at the log book to know for sure) and transferred into Madeira casks in 2007.
A Longrow which spent 6 years in bourbon barrels, then it was transferred into Cabernet Sauvignon barrels 4 years ago.

Again we ended the night at the Ardshiel. Four of us convinced them to open a Highland Park Thor by each purchasing a dram. I followed that up with a special edition Springbank called Rundlets and Kinderkinds. Both were thoroughly enjoyed. I was feeling restless later, so I went back out to see how the pub across the street from our lodgings was. Decent little place, with at least a dozen single malts. I started with the standard 10yr Springbank, then went on to the Longrow 7yr cask strength Gaja Barolo. Now I could go to bed happy.