Best Whiskey Tours of Scotland
Try to find a Scotsman or Scotswomen who does not like whiskey and it may take you a life time ! The famous alcoholic drink is enjoyed by people all around the world, with enthusiasts making a pilgrimage to Scotland to sample regional variations of the nation’s favourite tipple. There are hundreds of distilleries, whiskey museums and tours to be found throughout the country and we look at the best that is on offer.
If you are looking for a long tour, Whiskey experts ‘Scotland and Whiskey’ put on a ‘Whiskey Explorer Escorted Journey’ , taking enthusiasts through some of the main whiskey regions, starting in Edinburgh and ending in Islay before heading back to Edinburgh. You can take a tour ranging from 1 day to 7 days, enjoying a stay at some of Scotland’s best Embassy hotels. For those who want to tour the country independently, here is a rundown of the best distilleries and tours in the main whiskey regions of Scotland.
Glen Moray is perhaps the most famous of distilleries in Speyside, winning an array of awards for its single malt whiskey. The Elgin based company has been making whiskey since 1897 and takes pride in their authentic distilling process that has been handed down by craftsmen over the years. You can take a tour of the distillery and know how whiskey is made and stored in order to get the best flavours and, of course, you can taste a wee dram or two as long as you are not the designated driver.
Speyside is home to the largest number of distilleries in Scotland, so there will be plenty to sample if you are planning a long stay. Aberlour and Cragganmore are both worth a visit if you are looking for smaller craft whiskey makers. Book now for the annual Spirit of Speyside Whiskey Festival, 30th April- 4th May 2015.
With a 125 year old history and holding claim to the most awarded whiskey in the UK, Glenfiddich Dufftown distillery cannot be missed if you are a whiskey fan. With a choice of three tours, Classic, Explorers and Pioneers, there is something for everyone depending on how long you plan to stay. Each tour finishes with a tasting experience, in which you can try out some of the classic whiskeys that have been produced over the years.
Not to be outdone, The Famous Grouse Experience is a fun day for experts and novices alike who fancy a short whiskey trip. The Glenturret distillery is in the beautiful town of Crieff, just an hour’s drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh so it makes a perfect day trip. Look out for the Guinness Book of World Record’s biggest whiskey bottle!
Auchentoshan is a lowlands malt distillery that rests at the foot of the Kilpatrick Hills, overlooking the famous River Clyde. The distillery is full of old world charm, with tours and tasting sessions available all year round plus it has an excellent gift shop. For those who want to stay in the city, Edinburgh is home to the Scotch Whiskey experience, a fun journey through a model distillery that will give a good all round knowledge of the best whiskey makers in Scotland as well as lots of opportunities to taste and purchase a bottle or two. Make a base in the center of Edinburgh, where you will have a wide array of hotels and restaurants at your fingertips as well as the opportunity to visit the city’s major attractions including Edinburgh Castle.
Springbank Whisky Distillers is one of the oldest family-run and owned distilleries in Scotland. It can be found on the southern Kintyre peninsula, a very picturesque region of Scotland that is full of charm. Springbank is the only distillery in Scotland to carry out the entire whisky production process, including the traditional floor malting, maturation and bottling, on its premises. There are a range of tours and whiskey experiences available full of facts and information about how the family started up the business and how it makes great malt whiskey. Campbeltown is a great base to explore Kintyre and Argyll, where you look for other activities such as golf or castle visits or simply search for more whiskey!
The Isle of Islay is small but perfectly formed when it comes to stunning scenery and even more stunning whiskey. Relax, unwind and shake off the pace of the city with a wee dram or two in one, or all, of the islands’ distilleries. Located at the head of Loch Laphroaig, Laphroaig Distillery is famous for the rich, unmistakable taste of its whisky that has been distilled since 1825 by a family of brothers. From one of the most unique distilleries on the island to the oldest, Bowmore Distillery was established in 1779 and is still going strong. Take a tour and witness one of the few remaining distilleries to produce floor malted barley that is hand turned by maltmen every four hours.
Islanders dedicate themselves to honouring skills from their elders to produce whiskey by traditional methods to produce great tastes. As well as celebrating the old, Islay is also keen to shout out about new whiskey producers so has welcomed the Kilchoman Distillery as the first new distillery on the island for 124 years.
How to Reach
Wherever you choose to stay in Scotland, you will be looking at between a 7 and 10 hour drive from London. Virgin Trains offer regular services from Euston and Victoria to all the main whiskey regions, which will shorten your journey by at least a couple of hours. If you are travelling during summer time, you may want to look at local campsite or caravan sites for a rustic stay and in winter a loch side cabin is quaint and comfortable. If hotels are more your style, there are plenty of rooms or B&B’s available throughout Scotland to suit most budgets.
While in Scotland, there are many ways to enjoy a dram but one of the best ways to discover whisky however is with a knowledgeable Scottish guide on an organised whisky tour.