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Whisky connoisseurs from Germany ended a whistle-stop tasting tour of Scotland with a visit to Oban Distillery last week.
The group of nine, from the Single Malt Whisky Club Sachsen e.V, took in a total of 11 distilleries on their seven-day trip and even managed excursions to the Orkney Islands and Iona within their hectic schedule.
Club founder Jens Burkhardt has been travelling to Scotland to sample the water of life (uisge beatha) for more years than he can remember but is as enthusiastic about the beverage and the country now as he was all those years ago.
‘I stopped counting at my 20th visit and now it must be much more,’ he said.
‘Some say that in my former life I must have been a Scotsman. My wife and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary at the Oban Distillery – not many German couples could say that.’
During the visit the group downed drams from Highland Park, Glen Grant, Glengoyne, Glenlivet, Cragganmore, Glen Garioch, Glendronach, Glen Ord, Tomatin, Talisker and finally Oban, where they were treated to a tour along with a tasting session with resident whisky expert Jim Rae.
On Iona, the group visited St Columba’s Abbey at the request of the majority of the group who feel that it held important meaning for Scotland and the rest of northern Europe.
The abbey is shown and described in seminars attended by the many members of the Single Malt Whisky Club.
‘I showed only a small part of “my Bonnie Scotland” to the group. And this was enough to overwhelm them,’ added Jens, who also founded a Stuttgart branch of the club.
‘The philosophy of our club is to take the people away from heavy drinking of cheap liquids and towards drinking less but high quality single malt whiskies and to show and talk about how beautiful Scotland is.
‘We see ourselves as the first marketing line to bring people round to the idea of spending their holidays in Scotland, which we are extremely successful and effective at.
‘Well, together with the single malts, it is an easy work really.’
Pupils from the Oban High School Traditional School of Music entertained the group during the tasting at Oban Distillery.