For all those who like whiskey, travel, and a bit o’ tartan, do we have a tour recommendation for you: a distillery tour of Scotland! What’s not to like? Those in the know are aware that, for centuries, Scottish distilleries have produced the finest single malt whiskeys in the world, as well as scotches, double malts, and other delectable malt beverages.
Combine the opportunity to sample whiskies from several regions of Scotland with the chance to explore the history and ambiance of the surrounding countryside at each stop, and you have the perfect blend (pardon the pun!) of vacation activities. Today distillery tours are one of the top tourist attractions in Scotland. Who can resist afternoons of sightseeing in the picturesque landscapes of Scotland, mingled with varied samples of some of the world’s best whiskeys?
So drinking your way through Scotland may not be as decadent as sounds, but it is just as enjoyable as you can imagine. After years of sampling (sorry!) the various distilleries, we’ve found that the following six distilleries are the perfect combination of facilities to visit. They provide the greatest possible variety of spirits, distilling methods, facilities, locations, and histories.
Oban Distillery. Located in Scotland’s West Coast Region, this distillery is nestled right below a steep cliff that overlooks the sea. If you’re looking for some atmosphere with your whiskey sampling, you’ll enjoy this stop. Oban Distillery produces one of the finest whiskeys on the west coast, a 14-year-old single malt whiskey, with just a taste of crystallized ginger.
Glengoyne Distillery. Glengoyne has been described as the country’s most beautiful distillery, and one visit will show you why. Located in the Scottish Lowlands near the famous Loch Lomond, Glengoyne is perched in the green Campsie Hills. The distillery’s whitewashed buildings glow in the sunlight, against a backdrop of perfectly manicured lawns. A 50-foot waterfall provides the water used in the making of its whiskeys, which are known for their delicate flavor. Participants in tours of this distillery have the option to participate in the Master Blender experience, learning professionals’ secrets for blending malts to create the perfect whiskey.
Dalwhinnie Distillery. Located in the Central Highlands, Dalwhinnie rises 1160 feet from its mountainous setting, making it the highest distillery in Scotland. Its unusual architecture features pagoda-like roofs. As one whimsical touch, the distillery also serves as an official Scottish weather station. As for its whiskies, the distillery’s access to clear spring water and nearby peat bogs allows for the production of very smooth and full-bodies whiskies, which are aged in wooden “worm” tubs.
Blair Atholl Distillery. One of the most energy-efficient distilleries in Scotland, Blair Atholl Distillery is ironically one of the country’s oldest (circa 1798) and most venerable facilities. Located in the Scottish Highlands, the distillery draws from the waters of the nearby Allt Dour burn. It is known for smooth whiskies with a fruity flavor.
Glenturret Distillery. Another Central Highlands favorite, Glenturret is said to be the country’s oldest distillery. However, there’s nothing old-fashioned about its distillery tours. It offers multi-sensory activities on its tours, including scent pods, DVDs, challenge games, and even a virtual tour of the countryside. Glenturret is the proud home of Famous Grouse blended whiskey, as well as the award-winning Single Highland Malt Scotch Whiskey.
Glenkinchie Distillery. Located in the Scottish Lowlands just a few miles from Edinburgh, this charming distillery sits in a pastoral farmland area. It produces what is considered the finest whiskey in the lowlands of Scotland. Visitors who tour the distillery will enjoy a walk through its museum of malt whiskey. Its whiskeys are referred to as Edinburgh malts, due to the distillery’s proximity to the capital. One of the three Lowland single malts produced today is made here, and its Distiller’s edition is matured in Amontillado sherry casks for extra richness.
Our own tours include three to five full days of travel throughout Scotland, where you’ll visit each of the distilleries we’ve described, while taking in the breathtaking sights of the Scottish highlands and lowlands. In addition to visiting each of the above distilleries, you will have the opportunity to:
- Enjoy meals prepared by gourmet chefs, and experience kosher food the Scottish way, including a visit to Glasgow’s only kosher restaurant.
- Sample some of Scotland’s most excellent scotches, while enjoying traditional Scottish entertainment.
- Relax in such quality accommodations as the five-star Hilton Hotel in downtown Glasgow.
Depending upon the length of your tour, you may also:
- Play a round of golf on a beautiful green course in Edinburgh.
- Explore Edinburgh’s Old Town, including the imposing Edinburgh Castle.
- Participate in Shabbat services at Glasgow’s Garnet Hill, Scotland’s oldest synagogue.
- Explore Glasgow’s Victorian architectural treasures and its central square, with statues erected in honor of such famous writers as Sir Walter Scott.
Once you’ve experienced a Scottish distillery tour, you’ll appreciate the unique spirit (last pun, we promise!) of each one you visit. Whether you enjoy a round of Lowlands golf or a chance to step back in time in Victorian Glasgow, the side trips will only deepen your appreciation of such a unique and rousing experience.
For further information on how to respectably drink your way through Scotland, contact us today!