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Whisky is a journey and a destination

By Matt MacPherson

When setting up the bar I came across a whisky glass company called Denver & Liely which makes stunning hand-made whisky glasses. We connected over email and have been friends ever since.

Denver was coming over to do some work in Scotland with fellow Australian photographer Ben and they asked if I wanted to join them on their whisky travels, which naturally I was keen to do. It’s still work, right?

Glenrothes Distillery was the location of the shoot. We dragged ourselves from bed at 5.30am to drive to Glenrothes. We stopped for some breakfast in Perth and were congratulating each other on getting up so early and making good time on the road.

A quick Google Maps search to see how far we had to go quickly changed the mood. Turns out, Glenrothes distillery is NOT in Glenrothes. The distillery is located in the town of Rothes which ironically is about an hour east of Inverness!

Rothes, home of Glenrothes Distillery – which is NOT in Glenrothes!
Rothes, home of Glenrothes Distillery – which is NOT in Glenrothes!

After six hours of driving we finally arrived and got to work. Glenrothes isn’t open to the public and is very much a working distillery. They even have an on-site cooperage where highly-skilled coopers build and repair casks.

The team were the salt of the earth and had decades of experience in the whisky industry. We spent two full days with them and shared stories and geeked out about all things whisky.

We dropped into Glenrothes' sister distillery, The Macallan, the following day where things couldn’t be more different. It’s a futuristic, polished visitor experience where cufflinks and ties are preferred to high-vis and safety boots. The sound of classical music gently plays in the background in contrast to the loud crashing of tools at Glenrothes.

Macallan is viewed as perfect by some, but for me it’s the people that make Glenrothes so special.

  • Matt MacPherson is the owner and founder of The Malt Room in Inverness.

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