Whisky Distillery and Tasting Tours - ‘uisge-beatha'
Like the range of expressions of the spirit itself, our tour options are varied and numerous. Whether you wish to experience whisky’s history and production or would rather try tastings at the source of old friends or maybe new ones, we can create the perfect whisky experience.
With over 100 distilleries in Scotland producing malt whisky a huge variation in taste, aroma and colour across the malts is inevitable. Whilst the actual whisky making process itself is virtually the same throughout Scotland, no two distilleries are quite the same, be it the smallest, biggest, island, lowland or highland, each one creates its own distinct influence over the spirit. Add to this the nuances of those distilleries that triple distill, or have particular shaped stills, or use combinations of casks and the outcomes are endless.
Many factors influence the nose and taste of malt whisky. Initially the ‘terroir’, the malted barley, the water, the distillation process and the location, all temper the spirit prior to maturing, then in the bonded warehouse the type of cask and age to bottling feature highly before the Malt Master adds the final touch.
Whisky tours are crafted to guest's personal choices and timescales, whether searching out new single malts or visiting the facilities of old favourites. Tasting formats and venues vary but are arranged to try and demonstrate the impact of the above influences and identify whisky favourites that suit individual taste.
Visiting some of the lesser known distilleries is recommended, illustrating peculiar or unusual equipment or processes resulting in wonderful whisky expressions. In addiction to scheduled tours it is often possible to arrange a private tour accompanied by a Malt Master or distillery owner. Every tour is bespoke and if preferred, visits can also be arranged to Scottish gin distilleries including tastings.
Malt Whisky Tour Examples
1 Day Tour
- From Edinburgh travel north for a private tour of Lindores Abbey Distillery, where malt whisky was first distilled in 1494 and sample Aqua Vitae. Lunch, then travel north through Perthshire to Edradour Distillery, the smallest commercial distillery in Scotland offering a superb range of expressions. Round off the day with an atmospheric private tasting with a whisky expert at a location up in the Breadlabane hills before returning to Edinburgh.
3 Day Tour
- Day 1 - Distillery visits as above but terminating the day in the Highland village of Braemar on Royal Deeside with a private tasting. Overnight stay in Braemar.
- Day 2 - Travel further north through the Cairngorms to Speyside, the epicentre of whisky production in Scotland, calling en route at the Whisky Castle, Tomintoul, displays the biggest bottle of malt whisky in the world. Speyside offers a choice of over 40 distilleries: Macallan, The Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas and lesser known gems like Balvinie, Craigallachie, Cragganmore to name a few. Special evening event with overnight stay in Speyside.
- Day 3 - The journey south begins with a visit to either Ballindalloch or Cragganmore distillery. Lunch, then continue south to visit Dalwhinnie Distillery, the most elevated distillery in Scotland. Return to Edinburgh.
7 Day Tour
- Day 1 - From Edinburgh a scenic route calling at Auchentoshen Distillery (Lowland malt) continues west to the Mull of Kintyre and Campbeltown. Overnight stay on the Mull of Kintyre.
- Day 2 - Visits to Campbeltown Distilleries (Campbeltown malts) journey north to catch a late afternoon ferry crossing to the Island of Islay. Overnight stay on Islay.
- Day 3 - Visits to a selection of the 10 Islay Distilleries.(Island malts). Afternoon ferry crossing returns to the mainland and north to the Oban area. Overnight stay near Oban.
- Day 4 - Coastal route north visiting Dalwhinnie Distillery (Highland malt) and Speyside Distillery (Highland malt) terminating with an overnight stay in the Speyside area.
- Day 5 - Full day of Speyside Distillery visits (Speyside malts) of your choice. The skill of cooperage can also be observed here. Private tasting at Gordon & McPhail (Special bottlings). Overnight stay in the Speyside area.
- Day 6 - Head south via Royal Deeside taking in two Highland Distillery visits of your choice (Highland malts). Overnight stay in the Braemar or Dunkeld area.
- Day 7 - Head south with private tour and tasting at Lindores Abbey Distillery (Aqua Vitae) the birthplace of Scottish malt whisky terminating in Edinburgh.
Optional evening events / sightseeing visits can be arranged for all days as required.
All start and finish locations are flexible and in the majority of cases regional hotels are more appropriate for whisky tours. All tours take scenic routes and can include sightseeing en route as preferred.