Well it has been a fairly manic summer here in terms of travel but boy has it brought some interesting sights and tastes, particularly from across Scotland.Thankfully the weather here has been grand of late and even saw me taking a dip in Windermere off the back of my dad’s boat.This gave me one of my favourite malt moments, cementing the fact that it is an outdoor drink really. Once back in dock, and still having that new skin feeling you get when you swim in cold water, a dram of Caol Ila tasted like liquid peat and honey, just magnificent. It has to be said that dad and I shared a few drams, including Highland Park, Glenmorangie, Springbank, Macallan and Old Pulteney, on the back of the boat, late into the evenings putting the world to rights.To me this is how whisky should be drunk at least at some point during the months, away from the glare and noise of pubs.Nothing beats a contemplative whisky with good company and, especially off my dad’s boat which looks up the lake to Ambleside, a good view.I also took a bit of a bike tour round a few companies I have not visited for a while, and a couple of distilleries I have not visited. The bar for this trip was set at the launch of Glenfiddich’s 50 Years Old.It was some event and very in keeping with the gravity of the expression. A wonderful dinner and a serving of the 50 Years Old by William Grant chairman Peter Gordon himself.The liquid, while expensive, was pretty impressive for its long years in the cask keeping its zest and vitality.My next stop took me up to Portsoy to see how things are going at Glenglassaugh and have a nose round. The distillery is situated over looking a glorious golden sanded beach.Ok parts of it are in a bit of a state, but with the new owners scooping a couple of awards and their new make spirit being well received, things are looking good for its resurrection to boutique status.Then is was a quick cross country jaunt to Tomatin, a place I have passed often on my trips between Glasgow and Inverness.My word what a huge place it is, even with some of the stills taken out. Distiller manager Douglas Campbell showed me round this vast site, brimming with the knowledge that comes from spending some 40-odd years working at the same place.I also got the time to have a good chat with Fred Laing from independent bottlers Douglas Laing. In the space of a few hours we managed to cover everything from the state of the markets, selling whisky and the future of whisky. They have a great looking new bottling coming out called Big Pete – worth watching for.Roll on autumn’s releases trust me it going to be good.