THIS being Whisky Month, the mind of many a man - and not a few women - may turn guiltlessly to the miraculous fusion of malted barley, H2O, wooden casks and boundless patience which is our national spirit.

For many, the word "whisky" automatically swivels the mind's eye to Islay or Speyside, or, in the case of the more mature drinker, Campbeltown, once the epicentre of the industry. But the belly of Scotland has its share of distilleries too, founts of whiskies worth savouring on their own or deftly balanced with other single malts.

One such distillery within an hour's drive or so from Glasgow and Edinburgh is Glenturret, which sits snugly between a burn and an unclassified road at the south-eastern end of the glen at whose head stands Ben Chonzie. A short hop from Crieff, it's a small but significant affair, claiming to be Scotland's oldest working distillery and home to parent company the Edrington Group's Famous Grouse Experience.

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It's in this nook that a crack squad of craftsmen make The Glenturret, whose most common expression is the noble 10-year-old but which occasionally emerges as a limited batch such as the newly-released Brock Malloy Edition (cask strength with an RRP of £200). Key to the distillery is the artisan ethic: they rouse the mash by hand, they fill the casks by hand, they use Douglas fir wash backs. Softly, softly, catchee monkey is the prevailing philosophy.

At Glenturret you can tour the distillery and be done with it. Alternatively, you can also visit the bonded warehouse across the road, a place of sepulchral stillness where whisky barrels stretch as far as the eye can see - in truth, not far on account of the gloom - and where you can test your palate in a nosing and tasting session (warm clothing recommended).

If you're properly eager then there's also a blending workshop, where your host first puts your nose through its paces in a blind test then sets out before you a grain whisky, an array of single malts - including Famous Grouse components Highland Park and Macallan - plus an assortment of funnels and pipettes. It's then up to you to concoct a 100ml bottle of your own blend.

Your appetite as well as your thirst is well catered for at Glenturret thanks to the opening of chef-patron Andrew Hamer's Wilde Thyme restaurant. Hamer, former executive chef of Gleneagles, and head chef Jonathan Greer apply their considerable culinary nous to dishes featuring the finest Scottish base materials. In a word: exemplary.