Scotland: The Malt Whisky Trail

for The Macallan

Exiting the airport in Glasgow, Scotland, the atmosphere was what we expected. Though it felt like the country was performing for us, achieving a level of grey I didn’t think possible. Light and dark clouds, layered and folding into one another. The sky was lower, its soft fleece reaching down to calm my messy head. The burden of being a photographer was lessened. There was no need to hastily get up for sunrise or to chase a sunset, for it was likely to be grey. Grey grey grey, green green green. A world much simpler in its adherence to a two-color dress code.

There were soft hills with harsh cliffs, as we drove to unzip the land. Towns like Fogwatt, Lossiemouth, and Snizort, allowed us to embrace our whimsy. We threw an old and flattened quarter into a lake, imagining future hikers transforming it to treasure. There was a forest of old, hugging trees, rubbing one another and creating a chorus of high and low cries. It is old there, heavy with a smell of meals that comfort from a shredding season. The castles loom in shadows, useless or reborn. We watched the fog slumber and the silence grow. Encouraged by the night, and chased away by morning.

We dropped into the land of soft hills and whisky rivers to document the land where the Macallan is made. After driving a ring around Scotland, my friend Matt and I spent a day documenting the daily workings of the distillery. Throughout the week, the clouds eventually parted and the setting sun made the caramel spirit appear even warmer. There is optimism in Scotch, believing the liquid you drop into a barrel will stay safe for twelve, twenty, fifty years. As a millennial that resisted opening a retirement account because I distrust the fate of our planet, this process put me at ease. That was one thing I didn’t expect to find in a distillery: Hope.

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