Bryan really wanted to visit a Scotch whiskey distillery; I was just going along. But it turned out to be totally fascinating. Leah (she of the aviation cocktail post) hooked us up with a private tour of the BenRiach Distillery, near the town of Elgin. Bryan prefers the cleaner Speyside malts, rather than the salty, smoky, peaty whiskeys of the western islands. Stewart at BenRiach obligingly took us around, dipping buckets into mash tuns to let us taste the warm barley fermenting in sugar water and showing us the copper stills where the alcohol is evaporated and condensed again. (Apparently, the copper leaches out some of the toxins in the fermented barley mixture. That made me think of the copper bracelets that some people wear. Same effect?) He even took us to the warehouse where they’re experimenting with aging the whiskey in a variety of barrels that used to hold other alcohols (madeira, port, Jack Daniels, etc.). He popped open the cork on an old bourbon barrel, drew us a dram of well-aged scotch and offered us a taste in a wee glass. Very smooth. Even I thought it was delicious.