William and Kate enjoy a dram as they open whisky distillery in Scotland

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PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened the new-look Famous Grouse Experience visitor attraction.

William and Kate - known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland - sipped on a dram as they toured Scotland's oldest working whisky distillery.

The visitor attraction brings more than 100,000 people to the Glenturret distillery each year.

They were greeted by a bagpiper and crowds waving flags as they arrived at the distillery, just outside Crieff in Perthshire.

The couple were given a tour by general manager Stuart Cassells, taking in the "mash tun" where hot water is added to grist and the fermentable sugars are extracted, and the whisky still.

They then tried a few sips of Scotland's national drink at the whisky bar.

Master blender Gordon Motion talked them through the different brands, which include Naked Goose and Snow Goose - a variety he described as having a lighter flavour and being more for the ladies.

William chose the Alpha Black first, and commented: "That's pretty good."

Kate sipped from a glass of Snow Goose, which she said was "very nice" and suggested that William try "the girly one".

It came after the couple's recent trip to Australia and New Zealand when she appeared to quash any speculation that she may be expecting a second child by telling wine-makers how she was enjoying being able to drink again after the birth of Prince George.

Mr Cassells presented them with a bottle of whisky, personalised with the label "The Famous Streathearns".

He also gave them a cuddly grouse toy for their son, saying: "We didn't want to leave George out."

There was laughter as Kate shook it and discovered it made a noise.

The couple then became the first people to bottle their own Glenturret whisky.

William pulled the lever and watched as the dark amber liquid poured into the bottle, then put in the stopper and added a label.

He was then offered a glass of cask strength Glenturret single malt. After smelling it he took a sip and pronounced: "Blimey, it's got a bit of a kick to it." Kate took a sip and said it was delicious.

Established as a single malt distillery in 1775, Glenturret is also blended with other grains and malt whiskies to create The Famous Grouse, one of the world's top five whiskies.

During their tour, the couple officially opened the new-look, five-star attraction, which has recently seen £250,000 invested in its key visitor areas and cafe.

Mr Cassells said they seemed to enjoy their visit.

He said: "They have had a great interest in the distillery and it has been a real privilege to have them here. They said they liked whisky, both Prince William and Kate, they both drink whisky. Kate said William drinks more than her and does seem to prefer more peaty whisky.

"We were quite surprised at how many different whiskies they tried. The last whisky they tried was at 57% cask strength.

"Everybody in the team has been incredibly excited to have them here."

After bottling their own whisky, the couple attended a civic reception hosted by Perth and Kinross provost Liz Grant.

The guests were local people from the Perthshire area, invited in recognition of their work in the community.

William spoke to Matthew Gloag, whose great-great-great-grandfather Matthew Gloag founded the Famous Grouse company.

Mr Gloag said: "He was talking about whisky and said he liked it. It is great that they have visited."
Pupil support teacher Mahri Lawie spoke to Kate.

She said: "She was very, very pleasant. We were talking about schools and education."

At the end of the reception the couple were presented with an ancient map of Strathearn.

William was also presented with the Royal Chieftain's blue bonnet, which makes him Royal Chieftain of the Crieff Highland Games.

Before heading off to their next engagement, the couple were treated to a local pie created for their visit.

The Strathearn Pie, produced by Perthshire-based company Wild Thyme, was made with slow-cooked local beef and onion sauteed in Glenturret whisky.

The royal couple later continued the food and drink theme by sampling some of Perthshire's finest local produce at a village fete.

The weather stayed dry for William and Kate's trip to the gathering in Forteviot.

Kate toured stalls around the fete, trying plenty of local produce from gin to oatcakes and tablet.

Mother and daughter team Fiona Wimpenny and 10-year-old Pepper Young said the Duchess tasted their sweet hand-made Perthshire Oatcakes. Ms Wimpenny said Pepper also presented Kate with a home-made friendship bracelet, which she immediately put on.

Another stallholder, Ian Niven, 53, of Gloagburn Farm Shop near Perth, said he spoke to Kate about her mother's chickens.

"(She said) her mother's hens had been pinched by the fox," he said.

David Lang, from Strathearn Distillery, said of the Duchess: "She came over and said 'Oh, I see you have some gins here. I shouldn't really try it because I had some whisky at lunchtime, but I'm going to try it'.

"We gave her some heather rose gin, which is our most popular, and she said it was absolutely delicious. I think she's a fan. What better testament to our gin than her saying that?"

Graham Donaldson had created a picture of the royal couple with their son George made entirely of sweets, which was on display at his confectionery stand.

He said: "It took about 100 hours to make - much longer than we anticipated - but it's a bit of fun and she wasn't offended by it, which is the main thing.

"She noticed it straight away when she came to the stall and she liked it and she got some local tablet to try as well. I hope she has a sweet tooth."

The couple also watched a display of Scottish dancing by local children, and William toured the local chapel, where he was told about the area's royal history and various archaeological finds in the area.

Before departing, they were presented with a traditional handcrafted kilt for Prince George in the ancient Strathearn tartan, by kiltmaker Marion Foster.

Kate and William in Australia

Kate and William in Australia


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