We have toured the Dalwhinnie and the Strathislay distilleries. The Dalwhinnie is the highest (elevatiton) distillery in Scotland. It is also an excellent single malt. In the late summer/early fall, the heather blooms on the nearby moors and the pollen actually gets into the fermenting mash. It adds a lovely floral note to the Scotch.
The Strathislay distillery is beautiful. Most of its production is used in making blended Scotch such as Chavis Regal.
Both gave excellent tours. That cost little or nothing. Both gave a 'wee dram' to taste at the end of the tour.
@PFresh- Glenfiddich is also an excellent single malt Scotch. A friend gave hubby a bottle of their 18 year old whisky. Talk about a real treat.
I also like the Belvinnie 12 year double wood. It is 'finished' in sherry casks. Gives it a smooth, almost sweet finish. But they charge a rather high (50 GBP at the time we were there) entry fee. There are quite a few distilleries located in/around Campbelltown and Belvinnie is just one of them.
When we stayed with friends who lived in Drumnadrochit , they took us to their local pub. The bar man arranged a tasting for us. He picked 3 whiskies from different parts of Scotland. We tasted them 'blind' (didn't know which was which). He had us describe what we tasted and told us where each was from and added his own descriptors. It turns out I (and hubby) like the Speyside single malts best. They all have a floral note, are not too heavily peated and only slightly smoky. The Islay malts are mostly heavy on the peat and the smoke and have 'fishy'/salty/iodine notes due to the mist coming off the ocean- it gets onto the barley, into the peat, and even into the mash and the casks. Orkney malts are sort of between these two.
If you can get a tasting arranged where you can compare/contrast several whiskies, I highly recommend it. If the person leading is knowledgeable , it will help you figure out what you like most and least about whiskies and help you narrow them down when you have difficult choices.