Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The wily, windy moor...

I was certainly out on it! Last week, I was honoured and privileged to have been one of a group of four journalists (a term that can only be loosely applied to me, let's be honest) on a whirlwind, two-day press trip to the highlands of Scotland. The aim was to introduce me to a single malt whisky with a lot of history, The Glenrothes. This brand is owned by Berry Bros. & Rudd, who also make the King's Ginger, one of my favourite gins, No. 3 and lots more. Now I'll admit, I have never been a fan of whisky. Perhaps more so the bourbons of the world... I've drunk a fair bit of Jack Daniels in my time. But blended stuff, yuck. Turns out The Glenrothes is used to make these blended whiskies, and, having tasted it during this trip, it seems rather a waste!

In the distillery's stylish Inner Sanctum, I tried some vintages that would make a real whisky connoisseur weep - the Select Reserve and Alba Reserve, as well as stuff from 1966, 1978, 1988 and 1998... the first and last were my favourites as they tasted distinctly vanilla-y, with hints of citrus. Not to sound like I know what I am talking about as a whisky critic, because I don't. But I know I liked it! But since this is a vintage fashion blog, you are all dying to know what I wore on the tour of the distillery... aren't you? ;)



Well, as mentioned previously, I wore my warmest, thickest tweedy Heyday trousers! And crikey, was I glad I did! It was beautifully warm in the 'cathedral' where the magic happens (and where this photo was taken by the splendid Marcin Miller, who organised the trip). I paired it with a white, handknit cardi (and a navy, long-sleeve top from Phase 8, nothing particularly vintage, but warm!), my co-respondent shoes and a cream bow on me 'ead! Some scene setting because the gleaming brass machinery was so wonderfully steampunk - even the control computer had a riveted metal surround...







We also had to do taste tests on whisky taken straight from the barrel and guess how old it was. I failed! Here I am making like a customs man from yore and using what was basically a giant metal straw to remove the precious spirit from a barrel... just like bartenders use to test cocktails, although very much bigger!



It was absolutely blooming freezing in the warehouse, and though the weather was unseasonably fabulous for Scotland in early March, with beautiful blue skies and glorious sunshine... it could definitely not be said to be warm. I was glad of my winter coat, I can tell ye! I bought this from eBay, but it's from high street shop Oasis - another V.I. bargain from a few years ago. If only it were a few inches longer it would be perfect.





After a delicious dinner and short sleep in a very comfy bed that I never wanted to leave, we four guests had to prepare breakfast for our hosts. In true Scottish style, it was almost entirely fried. But we needed good sustenance for our trip to the aforementioned moors! Never have I had such a manly morning... shooting targets with a 'sniper rifle', driving a landrover blindfolded around a course and tearing about on something called an ArgoCat. It was unbelievably good fun, and I have to boast that I was brilliant at all of it. ;) But sadly, I did have to wear a very un-stylish green fleece under my coat in order to keep warm...



Photos by Marcin Miller

You'll notice all other elements were the same... turns out skirts and thin stockings don't cut it in the Highlands in very early spring... who knew!

In short, it was an amazing trip, and I definitely acquired a new-found appreciation for single malts... if you're a fan and see The Glenrothes at a bar, do give it a try. I personally recommend the Select Reserve as being very nice to drink... especially when mixed with the other Berry Bros. & Rudd classic, The King's Ginger liqueur... I didn't feel the wind much after a few nips of that concoction, that's for sure.

All the whisky tasting did have one unpredictable side effect though... I have somehow found myself signed up to run the Islay half-marathon this August. Gulp! Islay is a beautiful Scottish island, also known as The Queen of the Hebrides. I have a horrible feeling that it will also be queen of the midgies in August, but maybe I can run through them and not get bitten too badly...

But seriously, I have not done much in the way of running since I was about 15, so this is a serious, serious challenge. 13.1 miles! But, well, I turn 30 this year, and I think it will be a real achievement for me. So please do egg me on over the coming months as I begin training. The marathon is (of course), sponsored by a whisky distillery, but I will be running for charity, so look out for announcements. I will also be running the marathon in as close an approximation of the Women's League of Health and Beauty outfit from the 1930s as I can manage. Probably in reality some stetchy, shiny American Apparel high waisted shorts and a tshirt though...


I should probably expect some chafing as a sacrifice for my art... but one thing I will absolutely *not* be being silly about is my shoes. If anyone has any recommendations for serious marathon-running trainers then please do shout. So far Asics seem to be the highest recommended ones, though they are all absolutely hideous. Oh well! I am going to go to a running shop and be analysed properly. Wish me luck...

Over and out for now!



Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

30 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm a whisky enthusiast and I envy you that trip, it looks like so much fun!!
    And you look beautiful as always, and that gun is an interesting accessory for sure ;)

    Miss M
    http://missmargaritas.blogspot.com

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  2. That looks like am amazing weekend - shooting, drinking and driving, what more could a girl ask for?!
    Good luck on the marathon!

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  3. I love a tot of whisky! Especially on a chilly-but-sunny Spring day.

    I can't help re running shoes, I don't do land-based sport (swimming, I can handle. Possibly because I was traumatised by cross country, along that well known country lane running between Shepherds Bush and Acton (!?!), as a child, possibly because one can almost always find a reasonably attractive swimsuit!).

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  4. You look like you had a ball!

    I would advise go to a running shop, I was assessed once a LONG time ago as I have very flat feet & no arches, so had the appropriate running shoes for my affliction! Good luck!

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  5. Best of luck with the training! There's some great training programs online. I just did my first half marathon in January and now I am hooked. I went to a running shop here in New York to be fit for shoes. They analyze how you run on a treadmill, which while helpful, isn't necessarily the same as how you run outdoors. That said, the shoes I've been using for the last nine months have been made by Mizuno and I really like them. Of course, like most running shoes, they fail at being attractive.

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  6. looks like you had a brilliant time! I've been to Scotland twice, but never visited a whisky distillery (tried the Jameson one in Ireland...). Anyway, I wish you the very best during your marathon prep!

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  7. It sounds like you had a great time! Beautiful outfit as always and good luck on your upcoming marathon!

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  8. I'm more of a gin girl myself, but I can only imagine how fun it would be to go to a distillery and be able to taste all those whiskeys! Love your outfit too--you are always so stylish! :)

    Best of luck with the marathon... I have the utmost respect for gals who can do those. I can't run (slow or fast) to save my life! lol.

    ♥ Casey

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  9. I love this post
    and whiskey and your writing, clothes,
    ...well done again and good luck with the marathon

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  10. Just run fast enough and the midges won't have a chance of catching you ;-)

    Seriously, most of the course goes over fairly open ground and you usually get a breeze, so the midges shouldn't be too bad I should think.

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  11. As far as chafing goes, try to find a product called BodyGlide. It's marketed in runners' stores and nearly completely cuts down on chafing. It's actually rather wonderful.

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  12. From the Bourbon Country of Kentucky - you've inspired me to finally go on a tour of a distillery. The outfit is FAB, you look stunning.Enjoying following your vintage adventures.

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  13. I'm a runner, and i dink, smoke and eat doughnuts like my life depends on it. You'll be fine :) Just make sure you have an upbeat running playlist :)

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  14. Good luck with your training! I'm certain my heyday trousers will be a lifesaver this coming winter, I found out the hard way that stockings don't ward off the chill quite well enough!

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  15. Good luck with the half-marathon! I am a walker, not a runner, but can recommend Run and Become in London (near Victoria station) for knowledgeable staff and good range. (It gets busy on the weekend though). I don't think a brand recommendation will take you very far, as every foot and footstrike is so different (FWIW, I'm always best in Adidas, have a friend who swears by Brooks, and another who won't be parted from his Asics!).

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  16. That looks like fun! And you look so great! :)

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  17. you look fab, as always
    good luck with the run

    em x

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  18. Great post, I wish you a good luck in running a marathon. It is a big thing!!

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  19. This is a brilliant post! You look so happy and like you had a great time!
    Good look with the running- although it's not just your feet you need to worry about- get a good sports bra too!

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  20. Looks like you had a smashing time :-)
    Just saw this dress and though of you as it's longer length and suitable for a leggy lady such as yourself!
    http://www.tastyvintage.com/product.php?id=183

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  21. I Just love Hey day tousers and have a pair of those thickest tweedy Heyday trousers and you are so right they are so lovely and warm.

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  22. I'm excited for your half-marathon!! I just did a 10K (6 miles) last month and am very tempted to try a half now.

    Good luck and happy training!!!!

    Ok, I need to get off my butt and just order some Heyday trousers. They look lovely on you!

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  23. As far as shoes go, you may want to try Mizuno Inspires, if you have them in the UK. I personally find that my toes get a bit pinched, but you may as well try on a pair! I also tried a pair of women's Asics, Gel Kayanos. If you can afford it, definitely go for those. It's like wearing a fluffy (albeit ugly) cloud on your feet!

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  24. What foundation and in what color do you wear? I have the same coloring you do and it's impossible to find a shade light enough for me.

    Thank you!

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  25. Where did you get your gorgeous shoes from? I love them! x

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  26. Hello, just chipping in re: foundation...hope that's ok. I am also very pale (but hopefully interesting) and after using prescriptives for years and being relatively happy, now use Lara Mercier which is an amazing match for my skin in "porcelain ivory"

    Glad you had fun in Scotland, lovely pictures - I'm sure lots of people will want to visit! W x

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  27. That looks like such a fun trip! Best of luck with your half marathon
    Siobhan
    xx

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  28. A splendid tale. I was fearful for a moment you'd be taken to the new town of Glenrothes.

    Islay's marvellous, but Jura that's where the real tastebud action lies.

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