When you ask a local bar owner how long she's been in business and her answer is "Since God was a boy," you know you've hit on one of the very reasons you travel--to get to experience cultures from around the world.
We are currently in Scotland, after a long day of planes, trains. and automobiles that got us to Stirling.
Our habit is to press on the first day to get accustomed to the time change. We dropped our luggage at the Munroe Guest house bed and breakfast (look at that view from our bedroom window) and
walked up the considerable hill to Stirling Castle. (More of the sites of Stirling when I get back. Suffice to say it's our second trip here and we realize how much we missed the first time, swinging through on a professional "highlights tour" of Scotland).
We ended our day at the corner pub--the Curly Coo Bar--which came highly recommended by our B&B host. The establishment specializes in malt whiskey and is owned by a gal named Mandy who was an utter delight.
Our last trip sparked an interest in Scotch whiskey, the taste of which varies from region to region as it picks up tastes of salt, peat, smoke, oak, and more, depending upon the environment and distilling process.
Mandy's quite the expert, with over 250 whiskeys on hand, a lifetime of knowledge, friendly demeanor, and a literal handbook that describes each one, categorized by region.
Don't ask me to say the names of what I tried. I punted the ordering process to my hubster. But despite being tongue-tied, my palate was delighted. (By the way. the Bunnahabhain 12 yr from Islay was smooth and gentle, with a hint of peat).
What was even more enjoyable was sitting in a cozy, well-decorated bar on a Monday night with a half dozen Scottish locals enjoying a friendly banter which we would later join. (Mandy runs a tight ship, with no divisive political talk, so she says). You know you're in a good place when it's favored by locals (almost all of whom were drinking draft beer, ironically).
Mandy told me she got started by buying a dozen bottles of whiskey, all she could afford, and opened her bar in Perthshire. When she had a good weekend, she'd buy another bottle until she had 110 bottles. Her landlord sold the building, and she eventually moved to Stirling, to the delight of both locals and tourists.
Definitely check out her place if you're in town.
Travel tips: Don't try to walk up to the castle after whiskey sampling! In fact, the downhill visit to the bar is an excellent way to rest your weary feet after a long day of touring. 😉