Alloway is the home of Robert Burns and the new 5 ***** museum
The important Alloway 1759 event is being held this year on Sunday 29th Jan in Alloway main street timing 12.15 -15.00. Ayrshire Food network members will be participating in the farmers’ market,which will include some local crafters and textiles.
The whisky experience is a great new attraction Based in what was the old Kirkoswald Primary School, it is owned by Tim Morrison whose family pedigree in the whisky business is impressive to say the least. This is something I’ve always wanted to do as I was responsible for establishing the Visitor’s Centre for Bowmore on Islay and knew the direction I wanted this to take. I also developed the packaging for Bowmore from 1971 and you can see examples of this – and the whisky, of course – in the shop.
The sampling room is only used by Nick White, managing director of AD Rattray Ltd., whose offices are upstairs in the building.
This is the arm of the business which 90 per cent of the time deals only with the huge export market.
Visitors can see into this room through a viewing window where there is row upon row of carefully labelled whiskies.
These are all samples from the 95 distilleries in Scotland from where individual casks of specialist whiskies have been carefully sourced by the company to let AD Rattray’s customer’s taste before they buy if they wish.
There’s also a fabulous tasting room where groups of up to 12 can sample the kind of whiskies they may be curious to try or may not have even thought of trying.
Strong links have already been forged with Turnberry Hotel to provide guests with an unusual whisky experience as well as golf tour operators.
“We feel there’s also a big market for us in Northern Ireland and we are establishing links with the council and also tourism bodies but anyone can give us a call and we’ll tailor make tastings to what may be required”, said Tim.
In the softly lit, whisky cask room and bottling hall – which has an array of different brands of barrels – visitors can enjoy A D Rattray’s ‘Whisky Experience’.
Two casks actually do have whisky in them, one has an 11 year old Bowmore, and the other a 14 year old Cragganmore from which you can fill your own bottle of whisky, have it sealed in wax, and then your own personalised label put onto it.
At the moment this is £45 per bottle but the price may change, up or down, depending on the current whisky in the cask.
Added to all of this a programme of educational courses about whiskies, their fascinating histories, and subtleties is being put together.
These will be held in the spacious upstairs board room adjacent to the administration offices.
Anyone can come along and enjoy these courses but it’s envisaged that professional Sommeliers who work in hotels, and who may know a lot about wines, but not whiskies, will be amongst those who will most benefit.
Shop manager is Raphael Marinoni who is half German and half Italian and who has led an international career in the hospitality industry.
Raphael, who masterminds the tastings, was formerly bar manager at Turnberry Hotel and has been in Scotland since 2003.
Added Tim: “We have whiskies that are deemed collectables.”
“Some of these collectables are for sale but there are those that are so unique that they are only for viewing and Raphael will be delighted to explain their background.”
“One of the most valuable of the collection, and not for sale, is a Glen Grant which was already a 30 year old whisky when it was finally taken from the cask and bottled in 1960.
“It’s worth around £2,500.”
Cosses Country House is the perfect place to stay to savour all these flavours and we have an impressive malt whisky list for you to try.