From the personalized welcome by the castle’s butler to a champagne aperitif in the tartan library, visits to the local distilleries and a night cap of Golden Decanter single cask malts, Turin is the essence of bespoke luxury.
Back in May, I was given the opportunity to fly over to Scotland and spend a night at Turin Castle, an exclusive 5-star luxury private estate nestled in the heart of Scotland. Yvonne Corbett, owner, and ‘hostess with the mostess’ greeted me at the door perfectly dressed in tailored tartan, standing next to a charming man she introduced as the castle’s butler.
Yvonne had just spent 5 days hosting a group from Russia who had hired privatised the whole castle for a stay with their friends and children. She went on to explain how she tailors every guest’s stay to their needs. Nothing is too much trouble and she will even suggest activities that you would never have thought of yourself! She mentioned that for example, she had recently arranged for an actor to tell children stories around the outdoor fire pit whilst roasting marshmallows and that the adults had a prosecco trolley follow them around the golf course as a total surprise! After that comment I knew I was in for a good day by her side!
I think Turin is perfectly located between Edinburgh and Aberdeen and offers the most breath-taking views of the rolling hills of the Scottish countryside. I drove myself up from Edinburgh airport in just over an hour and half which was a perfectly pleasant drive, especially upon arriving at the secluded private entrance. As I drove around the lane, the castle, helipad and grounds revealed themselves and I wondered if anyone else knew this gem was located here.
I obviously enquired about the helipad and was quickly told that Turin is just a short helicopter ride from Scotland’s most famous whisky distilleries in the Highlands, Speyside, Skye and Islay - which Yvonne can easily arrange for you to visit.
As I only had 24 hours at Turin, my wonderful host opted to have us driven to the local distilleries. We had a light lunch in the veranda and headed to our first stop : boutique vodka distillery Ogilvy’s! We were greeted by the owner and their head distiller who showcased the farm-to-bottle concept, and how exactly the only potato-based vodka in Scotland si made. Ogilvy’s newly opened visitor centre was just beautiful, and I loved learning more about the humble potato and its complex flavour profile in spirits (cooked banana for example!).
Turin Castle offers spirit lovers plenty to explore in the local area, so if Vodka is not your tipple of choice, then you are in luck as the famous Gin Bothy Experience is just down the road! Again, I was lucky enough to be welcomed by the owner who took me through a huge selection of locally made gins for me to enjoy, either neat or mixed into various wonderful concoctions. My recommendation is to ask for the gun-shot gin – you won’t be disappointed.
Finally, after a few hours trying all the white spirits it was time to meet with Anne Medlock, founder of Golden Decanters, and visit the Glencadam distillery, home of ‘the rather delicate highland single malt’. This was the third and final stop on our private tour of the area and we ended on a high-note, with an exclusive tasting of some of the rarer, older scotch whiskies. My favourite thing at the distillery was a beautiful tree in full pink blossom whose bark had turned black due to the mould, from the ethanol in the air around the distillery. The contrasting colours against the old stone buildings of the distillery made for a strikingly beautiful backdrop.
I believe that these boutique distilleries offer visitors a unique experience and personal encounter with the makers of Scotland’s finest spirits. I was delighted to have had the chance to meet the people behind the spirit and get to know some of the modern-day entrepreneurs in the Scottish spirits business.
We eventually headed back to the castle for an in-depth tour with Yvonne. I learned that Turin is set within 20 acres of woodlands and lawns, boasts 10 en suite bedrooms (yes, I visited every single one) and can provide a private butler, chef and waiting staff on request. The castle itself is steeped in history - it was built in 1659 but relocated stone by stone from the loch side to its current location in 1907.
Each bedroom is beautifully decorated and comes with numerous thoughtful touches. In my room I found a pair of Hunter wellies (leopard print no less) with the note ‘today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky’, a wee dram of whisky by my bed and some relaxing lavender pillow spray. Honestly, no detail has been spared at Turin Castle and the extraordinary attention to detail is obvious from the moment you drive through the gates!
If you are curious to know what other things you can do at Turin the following array of activities can be arranged on site:
· Whisky tasting by candlelight
· Champagne breakfast
· Luxury dinner for two anywhere you fancy on the grounds
Simply tell Yvonne what you would like, and her incredible team will set to work to cater to your requirements.
My special evening as the Spirit Ambassador for Wine Paths included an aperitif à la Laurent Perrier Rosé in the tartan library with live piano music, followed by a 3-course dinner in the dining room paired with delicious wines from the cellar and ending with a fire-side storytelling and a (very) exclusive tasting of the Golden Decanter single cask malts range. The lot topped off with dollops of great conversation.
Something you need to know about Turin is that privacy is sacrosanct. All kinds of events can be arranged, from a small intimate wedding to a private party, or you can simply ask to enjoy exclusive use of the property. Everything is bespoke, from how they serve your eggs at breakfast to which spirits maker comes to talk to you about their products.
In summary, the grounds are simply stunning, and the castle is full of cosy corners in which to curl up with a good book and a wee dram of whisky. Probably my favourite thing of the whole 24 hours was Yvonne’s home-made chocolate and red berry muffins (more fruit less flour to keep the carbs down) freshly cooked in the AGA. Heaven.
I couldn’t recommend Turin Castle more. It’s one of the most special places in all of Scotland.