Sam Heughan talks exclusively to Chic about Holidays, Hotels and Whisky!
Sam Heughan is a very busy man at the moment. He’s just launched his own whisky ‘The Sassenach’, directed and produced the TV show ‘Clanlands’, and finished the promotional campaign for Outlander Season 5, amongst many other projects. But he still found time to chat with Chic Scotland about his love and passion for Scotland - its history, traditions and hospitality…
Starz TV series Outlander, and Sam Heughan’s portrayal of Jamie, has had a colossal impact on Scottish tourism. Here at Chic Scotland we wanted to just take a minute to celebrate its far reaching influence and all of the continued work that Sam is doing to bring a bit more of Scotland to the world. In this interview, we get an insight into Sam’s Scotland…
What is your favourite Scottish holiday memory from when you were growing up in Scotland?
Scotland is a land of traditions and many are passed on as a child. Hogmanay, hiking, traditional music, Robert Burns poetry, exploring the countryside and of course whisky (maybe not as a child!). One that stands out though is Beltane, a pagan festival and celebration of the beginning of summer. It falls on the same day as my birthday and I remember as a teenager, watching the fire procession through the streets of Edinburgh - the druids and witches, in exotic dress. I was equally nervous and thrilled. It seemed ancient, traditional and unexplained. We will be featuring it this year in an episode of Clanlands (the TV show I directed and produced), and I hope to share the memory with many others.
Do you have a favourite time of year in Scotland?
Scotland has many great seasons, watching the snow fall and transform the mountains is always very magical. Summer seems to only last a few weeks and it always makes me laugh to see how sunburnt everyone is the day after the first sunny day. However, Autumn is my most favourite. The leaves change colour, the weather is usually quite good, and it’s always a great time for a walk, or beer outside a local pub.
Is there a part of Scotland that has inspired you most in your travels around the country on location with Outlander?
In Outlander and Clanlands, we travel much of the country and the culture and history always intrudes. It’s tangible; you can almost touch the past and hear or see the ghosts of past lives. For me, Glencoe is quintessential “Scotland”. It’s the mountains to climb, the bleak beauty, and dark history that make it an essential destination.
Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish - Clanlands - Cawdor Castle
Did you ever think when you started the show that it would have such a big impact around the world?
The show is seen all around the world and it’s always surprising to me to hear that it’s watched in remote places. We never could have guessed it’d be so successful and I’m very proud of the show. It has given me vast opportunities and opened many doors. I’m thrilled people enjoy the show and after 5 seasons it doesn’t seem to be slowing down!
You’re known for your love of Whisky, it must be exciting to be launching your own. Tell us more about The Sassenach Whisky, when will it be launched, and how can we all get our hands on it?
It’s been a real passion project of mine and I had many opportunities to work with various distilleries, yet I wanted to own and make something unique that I’d be truly proud of. Through my company we financed and worked on every step of the process. Not only is it a beautiful bottle, it’s damn good whisky. The idea was, when or wherever you travel, a glass of Sassenach can transport you home. It’s released in the US on 2nd March and Europe and the UK and Canada will quickly follow. We have some other great ideas too!
I believe you’ll be turning 40 in April. How will you be marking the occasion?
Hah, well actually I’ll be shooting another season of Clanlands, and in pre-production for Outlander. But I’m sure I’ll find time to open a bottle of Sassenach with friends.
Do you happen to have a favourite hotel in Scotland that you have loved staying at?
There are many boutique hotels that I love staying in. Scotland’s hotel scene is raising its game slowly. Apart from a few gems I want to keep to myself, I love Monachyle Mhor for the location and great food. Gleneagles is a classic and has a wonderful spa!
You married Claire in season 1, but if you were getting married for real in Scotland, what kind of wedding would you opt for?
It’d be on a castle top, on a small island in a sea loch. Guests would celebrate with a large Scottish seafood platter, outdoors with a live ceilidh band, and plenty whisky. I think the location of the honeymoon I’ll keep to myself...
Eilean Donan Castle
Chic Scotland interviewed Sam Heughan in February 2020. We wish him all the best with all of his many projects and endeavors. What a seriously lovely person! If you'd like to buy or stock The Sassenach Blended Whisky, visit the website and sign up for information. www.sassenachspirits.com
(Chic Scotland is a stylish online travel guide for Scotland. You can search for places to eat, meet and sleep. Plan a special trip to Scotland using our recommendations, and you really cannot go wrong. Sam’s favourites of course are on there!)
Sam Heughan’s interview of Scotland
Excellent interview! I plan on going to Scotland and will plan on using your recommendations!
Loved getting to know Sam in this article
I loved the questions & Sam's answers appeared to be honest and let us really get to know Sam as a person. From all of his interviews and his MPC charity organization, he truly is a wonderful, kind, & thoughtful human being.
The questions were classy & not harassing or entrapping in any way. Very intelligent! I thoroughly enjoyed this interview!