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Did you know that this is Whisky Month in Scotland?

Who knew? Not me, but I can count on Visit Scotland to keep me informed. I have always been fascinated by all the different distilleries that there are in Scotland and each with their own special malt, but I've not visited them. In fact, while I tend to imbibe when I am there--looking for new ones to try--I've only been to Blair Athol in Pitlochry. But now I hear that there is one in Ardhnamurchan and it's a green distillery! Ardnamurchan is pretty remote and I've not made it out to the far tip. Now I think I have an excuse to go back and take the Manager's Tour. I'll need a B&B near by!

What are your favorite distilleries in Scotland and why do you like them? Why did you choose to visit? The whisky? The location? Reviews of the tour?

I'll start. I went to Blair Athol because I could walk to it from my hotel and I realized that I had been to Scotland nearly ten times, but never been to a distillery and it was time! It turned out to be a lovely tour and a good whisky.

Pam

Posted by
244 posts

That was a wonderful piece on 60 minutes! Bob Simon's "last call". (Thanks Dave 😊). Now I wish I could add the Isle of Islay to my itinerary. l was just looking at our travel plans today. I wanted to visit one or both of my Dad's favorite whisky distilleries, Glenfiddich and Glenlivet. I'm wondering if anyone has toured their distilleries? They have great websites, looks like great tours. We are also planning on visiting Blair Athol when in Pitlochry.

Posted by
3418 posts

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.

Posted by
2515 posts

well I live in Scotland and didn't know it was whisky month but there again every month is whisky month for me
I have been lucky enough to visit quite a few distilleries over the years, from Highland park in Orkney to Glenkinchie just south of Edinburgh. I have visited all the Islay distilleries apart from the newest one Kilchoman and done tours of Speyside and Highland distilleries. Not all have been open for visits but I have had my photos taken outside them and on some occasions have been allowed to have a wander round the grounds and buildings by staff. I have been to a whisky festival at Auchentoshan just outside Glasgow and that has got to be the drunkest I have been since my student days.
favourite one to visit has to be Edradour just outside Pitlochry.one of the most picturesque places ever though Highland park is pretty damn good and all the Islay distilleries are lovey. I in fact my brother and I each own a sq. foot of Laphroiag distillery on Islay we visited there to collect our rent and see our names in the book of owners, a great experience.I was invited to a private tour of Lagavulin on Islay by a former production manager whom I met at a bowling club function on the island, that was a bit special.
Pam I did the Blair Atholl tour a few years ago and really enjoyed it, most of that whisky is used to make Bells blended whisky a very well known and widely available brand.

Posted by
2515 posts

Pfresh3 , I have visited both these distilleries. Glenfiddich is the most visited distillery in Scotland and though very well organised it so Tourist orientated than it really is more of a tourist attraction than a real distillery visit.In saying that it is a good experience and it is one of the few distilleries that bottles whisky on site.
Glenlivet is a good tour but again very tourist orientated but good but both these places are very different from places on Islay or tours like Edradour.
I wrote an introduction to whisky many years ago for Trip Advisor .it is well out of date but may be of interest to some of you.
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g186485-c13996/Scotland:United-Kingdom:A.Taste.Of.Whisky.html
BTW this article has been heavily edited by TA and by others who have no idea about whisky and is just a fraction of what I originally wrote.

Posted by
11 posts

We visited The Famous Grouse Experience (Glenturret) and Aberfeldy (Dewar's) distilleries. I liked The Famous Grouse because it was small and seemed more intimate - annual production at this location is less than 200,000 liters, if I remember correctly. The tour was small and personal - six of us on our tour, ending with a tasting. The tour of Aberfeldy begins with a self-guided tour of a museum setting - very interesting displays that you can pay as much or as little attention to as you wish. There is also an interactive display where you try to make your own blend which was fun and insightful. Exiting the museum puts you in the tasting area while you wait for someone to give you a tour of the production area and the warehouse. For a fee, you can do an additional cask tasting on this tour. We did.

Posted by
1248 posts

I don't like whisky but did a bit of a "whisky trail" with my friends in 2013. We hit their four faves - Highland Park, Dalwhinnie, Cardhu, and Talisker.

As a non-lover, my favourite tour was Highland Park because we booked the big one with pick up and drop off, and seven samples. Since it is way up in Orkney, and we did the expensive tour, we had a really interesting group of people on the tour. All ages of Europeans had made the pilgrimage, plus us four Canadians and one American couple.

As far as taste, I liked the Talisker they paired with a chocolate truffle.

Posted by
270 posts

We toured the Oban distillery last summer, I wanted to tour at least one distillery and that was very convenient, right in the middle of town. The tour was enjoyable and informative, but if I were going for the whisky alone I might have gone to one I like a little more like Knockando or Glenfiddich (overabundance of tourists notwithstanding). They had a pretty useful "flavour map" of various single malts in the Oban tasting room, I'd seen it before and have used it to make a reasonablly informed choice of something new.

Posted by
5562 posts

I should perhaps say that my favorite whisky is one that is peaty--Lagavulin, Talishker, etc. But, for sharing with friends I find it very hard to beat Highland Park. Our whole family likes it. We missed the tour by half an hour. :(

Pam

Posted by
2515 posts

I do like Lagavulin and that is my number one islay whisky, I am a big fan of Edradour, Balvenie (almost next door to Glenfiddich)and Macallan but if I could only ever drink one whisky in my life again then it would have to be Mortlach 16 y.o. Not a widely available malt outside of Scotland ( and even in Scotland) but worth getting your hands on if you can

Posted by
801 posts

Thanks for posting this, Pam - lots of interesting responses! Last October we were visiting friends a bit north of Dundee, and with them visited the Glencadam distillery for a tour and tasting. We six were the only ones on the tour, and I found it fascinating. I brought back a number of little bottles of the 15-year for friends ... and not all were distributed. Sounds as if I need to pour a glass tonight in honor of Whisky Month!

Posted by
5562 posts

I am moving into a room mate situation for awhile and so am putting most of my stuff in storage. The whisky is coming with me. :)

Pam

Posted by
662 posts

I loved this post! I'm surprised that Monte from Idaho hasn't chimed in. He has been to Islay several times and has provided me with lots of info for our trip to Islay in early September. I've got a U.S. flag ready to plant on our Laphroaig plot and we'll be looking for our name on the Ardbeg Committee. Another week later, we'll be sampling more of the Highland single malts and I've made notes from this posting. Can't wait! Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.
Scottish Drinking Toast (which must have been written after a few wee drams):
May the best you’ve ever seen
Be the worst you’ll ever see;
May a moose ne’er leave yer girnal
Wi’ a teardrop in his e’e.
May ye aye keep hale and hearty
Till ye’re auld enough tae dee,
May ye aye be just as happy
As I wish ye aye tae be.

Posted by
2246 posts

You'll all be pleased to learn that I've decided to return to the Whisky Month discussion. After much debate, I went out and bought a bottle of the Laphroaig Quarter Cask. No, I can't really describe it effectively-you can find all that peaty-notes-finish-oaken kind of talk elsewhere-I'll just say that this is soooo good, and truly of the earth, that I now want to go to Scotland to tour Islay, and other locales if I must :-). I have long enjoyed an occasional Glenlivet, which I like very much, but this is another world. Just really dang good.

Thanks to Pam for posting!

Posted by
2515 posts

Dave , don't know if they still do this but you may find a little leaflet or card in your bottle of Laphroaig, that will allow you to apply for a Sq.foot of the distillery on line and print a nice certificate.

Posted by
2246 posts

Hey Unclegus, I've heard of the square foot program, and I'd sure rather own that than a share of the Green Bay Packers! The Quarter Cask is a delight, I would certainly like to make it over there, and I will look in to the square foot of Laphroaig. Dad always said he was Scotch-Irish; a suspicious combination if ever there was one!

Cheers!
Dave

Posted by
3418 posts

@ Dave- Scot-Irish actually refers to a group of Scots who were first sent to Ireland during the Clearances, then emigrated to the USA. My family has some of them in its background. (I used to tell my middle school students that I wasn't worried about disciplining them {I was a teacher, then assistant principal} as I was part Scottish and part Cherokee Indian and could out-stubborn any of them by at least 5 min.- LOL) With that background, you can appreciate both Scottish and Irish whisky (and probably enjoy the Welsh whisky- hubby want to try it, but we haven't found it in our area yet). Be sure to try the Glenfidditch, Dalwhinnie and Belvinnie brands.... my favorites.

Posted by
5562 posts

Glad to see the post revived. My whisky made the trip from Mid-Town East to Inwood, which is at the northern tip of Manhattan. I do love the peaty ones. Look for Lagavulin, Dave.

Posted by
1829 posts

Yes, I know it is whisky month in Scotland and I am helping celebrate it in Idaho with a fresh bottle of Laphroaig.

Enjoy your visit, and don't forget Islay beckons.

Posted by
6524 posts

Isn't every month Whisky Month in Scotland?? har dee har har

Posted by
4998 posts

It would seem only a month without an "e" could be Whisky Month in Scotland. The rest of the year is made up of Whiskey Months :-)

Posted by
5562 posts

I think if the it was e dependent, then Scots would spell June: Jun, September: Sptmbr, October: Octobr, November: Novmbr, December: Dcmbr, February: Fbruary. :)