If you’ve ever fancied having great food and excellent whiskies while soaking up beautiful Scottish scenery, then a new venture from two local businesses may be right up your street.
Will and Lucy Holt, owners of Straloch Estate just outside Pitlochy, have teamed up with Ewan McIlwraith and Sandy Fraser of Spirit of Perthshire to offer a whisky tasting weekend with a difference.
Off the back of their successful whisky festival, Ewan and Sandy are bringing their expertise into the wild with the Spirit of Perthshire at Straloch weekends.
Guests can look forward to a wild picnic in the estate’s remote but beautifully located bothy, situated within the hills with views out across to the Cairngorms, to be enjoyed along with a tutored whisky tasting, lead by Ewan.
The remote hut is either an hour’s walk or a thirty-minute off-road drive in the estate Land Rover. Weather permitting, try the walk as there’s an abundance of wildlife, and no better way to work up an appetite.
Dishes on the picnic menu include delicious homemade items such as quiche, Scotch egg, salad and soups as well as cheesecake desserts.
Whiskies can be a preferred brand or region, or you can try some newbies such as Lindores Abbey The Casks of Lindores - Sherry Butts or Lochlea’s latest release, the Ploughing Edition.
All of this is enjoyed in the simple yet cosy bothy which is home to a long wooden table, benches with sheepskin throws, a stove style heater and candelabra complete with tealights.
Views, if the weather permits, are stunning, making this a real, rare treat. Most hillside picnics don’t leave guests feeling this warm and dry, especially in Scotland.
Following on from the picnic, guests have some down time to enjoy the estate’s walled garden, visit the rescue donkeys or explore the area before dinner which takes place in the dining room at Straloch.
Dinner starts with drinks and canapes in the lounge before a three course dinner that’s punctuated with four bottles of whisky (with a total minimum value of £1000) that have been selected from a wide range at Robertsons and can be kept by guests after the tasting.
The next day, guests can then be taken to two distilleries in the area, by Ewan’s colleague Sandy - be this Speyside, Fife or lowlands. This day trip could also include visit to a distillery not usually open to the public.
A packed lunch is provided and transfers will be in a luxury eight seater Mercedes. The day ends with drinks, canapés and a three-course dinner back at Straloch House
Penny, known as Will and Lucy’s ‘right hand woman’ provides the catering and the meals all have a homely touch, while keeping standards you’d expect from a restaurant. Local ingredients such as the estate’s honey are used.
Of the weekends, Will said: “It’s busy times for whisky tourism and we’re excited by our plans to create an educational, personalised and spoiling experience for lovers of Scotland’s national drink.
"We’re mighty lucky to have Ewan, a renowned whisky expert and international judge, right here on our doorstep in Pitlochry.
"Add in the wild rugged beauty of Straloch and our proximity to many of the country’s finest distilleries, and it will be a 48 hours like no other.”
Available for four to eight guests, rooms are in the main house and Will and Lucy have gone to great lengths to make guests feel very welcome in this, their family home.
Dates for the Spirit of Perthshire at Straloch Estate are: 24–26 March, 26–28 May, 29 September–1 October, 24–26 November and are priced at £1900 per person.
For more information on Straloch visit their website and to book email email@example.com