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Whisky Tours of Scotland

By Rachel Nash

Posted: 26th October 2012 09:52

To truly appreciate whisky in its finery there’s no other country to visit but Scotland.  Home to the Famous Grouse, Johnnie Walker and Bell’s, Scotland is the king of whisky and the king of getting you merry.  We’ve picked the best of the best for you whisky lovers out there.  Enjoy!

Whisky and Scotland

Distillation of whisky has always been popular in Scotland.  The country always had few grapes to make wine due to the weather so when barley beer was used instead, whisky was made. 

Whisky can be made from malted barley or grains depending on the type of whiskey.  For example, blended malt whisky is made from malted barley, single malt is made from grains and blended whisky is made from both.  Whisky doesn’t mature in the bottle, only in the cask so the ‘age’ is determined on the time between distilling and bottling.  Aged whisky doesn’t necessarily mean a better taste and makeup.

After an English Malt Tax was introduced most of Scotland’s distillation of whisky was shut down but there are still distilleries operating today. 

Whisky Tours

Glen Garioch

Recently declared as the oldest distillery in the whole of Scotland, Glen Garioch sits on the very edge of the small town of Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire.  The distillery produces a different variety of single malt whiskies particularly their popular 1797 founder’s reserve- a sweet whiskey with hints of butter cream and vanilla.  If you fancy visiting the distillery it’s open for morning and afternoon tours Monday- Saturday and on Sunday at 1 or 5pm.  The tours run between July and August only but VIP tours and group visits can be booked, these being especially popular around Christmas and New Year. 

To find out more about Glen Garicoh visit their website here

Oban

The Oban distillery takes its name from the town it sits in, in the Highlands, Glasgow.  Oban is home to a 14-year old whisky which is sweet and creamy.  If you pick to visit Oban for a tour, the distillery treats you to a tasting, watching the distillers at work crafting the rich sweet Oban taste and discount on a bottle to take home yourself.  You’ll also receive a complementary free whisky glass as a gift from the distillery.  Cheers!

The Oban distillery is more flexible with its visiting times so visit their websitefor range of times and dates to suit you. 

The Famous Grouse

You can’t visit Scotland and not see how Famous grouse is made.  Located in the city of Perth, the Grouse whisky tours run 9-6pm with limited times in January.  There is a tour for everyone with the most popular being the ‘experience’ that shows you how Famous Grouse is distilled, includes two tastes and takes you to the skies in the distilleries BAFTA award winning interactive show.  The ‘celebration’ tour has been set up to celebrate the Grouse’s 30th birthday.  The ‘celebration’ features the ‘experience’ then allows you to head to the bar sample some of the Grouse malt range which included 5 tastes over all.  This one is limited edition so hurry! Finally for the avid whisky fan the ‘warehouse’ let you tour the distillery, visit a sample room and try all the Famous Grouse range whilst watching the favourite tipple mature in a cask.  Each tour ranges in price and experience.  The Famous Grouse whisky tour is more than worth a visit but if a tour doesn’t interest you why not get married at the distillery? Famous Grouse provides an unforgettable day for the groom and bride-to-be. 

To find out more about the whisky and to book yourself on one of the tours visit the Famous Grouse website here.

Something Special

If one whisky tour isn’t enough why not join the only malt whisky trail in the world?  With 9 distilleries to visit, the trail is famous for sending many a happy (and slightly merry) customer away.  Each distillery features its own unique, traditional tour and recipe, of course. 

Benromach, Dallas Dhu, Cardhu, Glen Moray, Strathisla, Chivas Regal, Gle Grant, Speyside Cooperage and Glenfiddich are the nine distilleries that feature on the trail, each one more special than the last.  The trail is situated in the Highlands and each distillery tour offers something different, from Benromach’s modern approach showing DVD’s about the history of the distillery to a ‘bistro night’ at the Glenfiddich tour where the distillery offers bistro style meals every Friday evening in August with complementary glasses of (what else) Glenfiddich whisky.  The trail really lends itself the phrase ‘something special’. 

To find out more about the trial and to book visit the malt whisky trail website here

Whisky Festivals

Don’t underestimate the Scottish! Not content with holding whisky tours, Scotland also hold a number of well-loved and popular whisky festivals.  The festivals offer an array of whisky related activities from master-classes to exclusive tastings, and chances to visit distilleries that aren’t normally open to the public.   

Visit the ‘Spirit of Speyside’ five-day festival that takes place in May which includes free whisky food tasting and dancing.  If you can’t make the summer then Speyside runs an autumn event which is held at the end of September.  Or if you prefer a more musical take on whisky the ‘Islay Malt and Music’ offers local musical talent along with open days at plenty of distilleries over the course of a week. 

Find out more about Scotland’s whisky festivals by visiting the Scotland whisky website here 

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