Exceptional moments in life are truly a rarity. Whilst there may be occasions in your week that put a spring in your step, few have the ability to leave such a vivid impression as the instances where we stop to savour something of quality when it is before us. On a recent trip to enjoy the 2014 Ryder Cup, Ape to Gentleman’s Lifestyle Editor had the privilege of experiencing one of these moments in a setting of appropriate distinction.
Arriving by helicopter at Corrour Lodge, a striking modern structure set in the 57,000 acres of wilderness that make up the Corrour Estate, it’s surprisingly hard to fathom that the nearest road, not town, is a 15-mile drive away. Nestled at one end of Loch Ossian, the lodge that stands on the remote site was designed by Boston-based architect Moshe Sadfie and was completed in 2003 as a Highland retreat for a private owner. Inhabited by their family for short spells each year, it is now possible to rent the lodge and its surrounding cottages for personal use when vacant, and along with a group that includes actors Rupert Penry-Jones and Anna Friel, is my home for the evening.
Guests at the lodge have the opportunity to enjoy a wealth of pursuits during their stay including quad biking, horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and deer stalking, should they grow tired of the grand interior and the many comfortable areas where there is nothing better to do than relax. Though we stay for just one evening, a meal and drinks are prepared as entertainment.
Prior to our dinner our group congregates in the large main hall, where a log fire compliments a room tastefully arranged with eclectic artefacts and contemporary furnishings. Here, our host for the evening, Global Brand Ambassador for Johnnie Walker, Tom ‘not the singer’ Jones, presents us each with a glass of the labels finest ‘Blue Label’ blend. Made from only the rarest whiskies available to Johnnie Walker, a glass of this premium bottling deserves to be savoured, and the group enjoy discussion over the unquestionable quality of the whisky contained within as Jones guides our senses.
The following morning we leave the lodge and travel by helicopter to Gleneagles, where the Ryder Cup has returned for the first time in 41 years. Amid the rolling fairways, dappled with patchy sunlight and swept with a blustery wind, the European and American teams strive for perfection in their game, and the challenge of the course is evident throughout the days play.
In this picturesque landscape my thoughts reflect on the night before, on the company, the setting and the whisky we savoured, and on the appreciation for the tournament now being played out before me. I find myself thinking that this can truly be classed as one of those moments that we define as exceptional: one to savour, one to remember, much like a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.