Glengoyne Distillery: 1984


When you talk about ‘the North’, how do you define it?  How do you know when you have moved from the south into the north? One of the great imponderables of life.  It’s the same with the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland; how do you know when you are in the Highlands? Is there a big road sign? It’s a question that has challenged Glengoyne Distillery and makes it one of it’s unique features.  Glengoyne Distillery is the only distillery to make a Single Highland Malt Whiskey that is matured in the Lowlands.  Because? The ‘Highland Line’ runs under the A81, the division between the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland.  The Glengoyne Distillery site crosses the A81; the whiskey is distilled in the Highlands and then matured in the storage shed which are just across the road, in the Lowlands.

If you look at the tea towel, with the picture of a very traditional whiskey distillery, that is exactly how I remember Glengoyne 33 years ago; a wonderful setting, not too large, with iconic buildings.  I saw it on a beautiful sunny day; John and I were having a day off from a ‘heavy’ programme from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  We were seeing up to seven shows a day so taking a day off was a great idea.  John thought it was good because he liked the taste of the Glengoyne Malt and was going to buy a bottle.  I liked the idea because I had a feeling that there would be a tea towel.  What I like about this tea towel is that the picture, together with the Royal Warrant, is large enough to be clearly seen.

Just north of Glasgow, Glengoyne has been described as “the most beautiful distillery in Scotland”.  Whiskey has produced continuously here since 1833, although there were illicit stills for many years prior to that.  It is unique in that Glengoyne does not use peat to dry the barley but warm air.  That’s what I like about distilleries, they each have their own unique selling points.  I do think that in 1984 Glengoyne was understated and unpretentious; no big Visitors Centre, just a small shop selling what it should – whiskey (and, of course , tea towels).   That’s not to say it isn’t like that now, but I haven’t been back so I can’t  say. I have lovely memories of that visit and those memories come flooding back as I do the wiping up.

Click below to return to the Virtual Tea Towel Museum


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