Part 1 of my royal trip to Edinburgh with Royal Salute whisky saw fine dining, even finer whisky and a luxury itinerary to make a duchess blush. If you thought that was good, however…just wait for what came next….

Picture

 

 
As our convoy rolled away down the endless driveway of Jupiter Artland, we got cosy and watched the views as the driver took us past luminous Lochs and towards Inveraray Castle. The drive took about 3 hours, but with my wonderful company and dramatic scenery adjacent, time passed quickly…..
Picture

 

 
We arrived at THIS castle at nightfall and the temperature outside had considerably dropped. We were well and truly in the highlands now. Somewhat starstruck, we were ushered into the warmth of this huge castle by the Duke of Argyll himself. Torquhil was dressed rather casually, although I had no idea what to expect…this was my first time meeting a Duke! We were shown to each of our rooms and I was lucky to have the Duke and Duchess'  former bedchamber. The room was larger than the average size of a London 1 bed apartment and the dresser had a crystal vessel containing what else but Royal Salute whisky. I poured myself a glass into a Waterford crystal glass, slipped into the bath and let the aches of the journey be remedied before the Michelin starred feast we were about to devour.
Picture

 

 
Once we were dressed into our finery we headed downstairs to one of the most elegant dining rooms I've ever been for dinner at the Duke’s table. We were incredibly privileged as this room is only used for special occasions and is normally behind barriers when visitors look around the house. We took our seats at the same table where Queen Victoria once ate a feast, and enjoyed a 5 course dinner prepared by Martin Wishart, the renowned Scottish chef who has earned 2 Michelin stars across 3 restaurants. We feasted on sous vide pigeon, scallops and a trio of strawberry deserts, all accompanied by Royal Salute. Following dinner, whisky tumblers in hand, we moved onto the gravel outside to have a bespoke astronomy lesson with Astronomer Royal John Brown. Tripod and telescope outstretched, we gazed at the moon and stars above on the crisp winter night. Peeking at constellations literally a million miles away and struck by memories of doing the same as a child with a plastic telescope, I reflected on quite how lucky I was – this trip was proving every bit as royal as the name of its whisky sponsor namesake.
Picture

 

 
Picture

 

 
Morning came and I awoke to the view at the top of this post. Foggy mist danced across the surface of the Loch and the sun beamed on down blindingly – a perfect winter's morning juxtaposition of shiver and shine.
Following breakfast we went on our private tour of the grounds with the Duke in some new Hunter wellies, generously provided by Royal Salute. All glammed up we walked to the river which flows from the granite mountains above the estate down to Queen Victoria’s private tea house where we were to sample of Royal Salute’s finest blend, the 62 Gun Salute. The tea house overlooks a cascading waterfall and was built especially for the Queen, also the Duke’s mother in law. In the small room, a log fire smoking the air, we supped on the 62 Gun Salute. This is the jewel in Royal Salute’s crown; powerful with a burst of strong flavour dappled with fruity tones and intermixed with cinnamon spice and a dark chocolate depth. This was my favourite blend, however at £2,000 a bottle I’m glad the flavour lingered – I probably won’t get to try it again.
Picture

 

 
Picture

 

 
Picture

 

 
For the final stuffing we gorged on the most exquisite of picnics. Cucumber sandwiches and pork pies, oh no no. This was a veritable feast prepared by Mr Wishart and his team. We started with game terrine and sourdough loaves, followed by smoked salmon, sea bass ceviche, ox cheek. The food was outstanding and the view, well, just have a look. The sun radiating down warmed me up nicely and I sipped content on my Royal Salute’s 21 Year Salute.
Picture

 

 
Finished off with berries and cream, sadly it was time for me to hit the road back to Glasgow airport. Reminiscing now on the trip it feels like a dream, a memory close but never to be repeated. The time and effort put into constructing these few days was beyond any of my expectations and I think that is a testament to Royal Salute. They revere time, patience and passion and it is clear that goes into the whisky they produce. An honour to have been part of this wonderful trip, and to feel like royalty, if just for a day.
Written by Erin Goodall, FoodGoblin Northern Correspondent 
Picture