Edited to add some more detail: I'm in the very preliminary stages of planning a trip to Scotland, and we're looking to do a little tasting at some of the Speyside distilleries. We'll have a car, but I want both my wife and I to be able to enjoy - so a private or small tour seems to be the answer. Still not sure where we'll be basing ourselves while we're in that part of Scotland, but my guess it'll be somewhere in or around Inverness. Does anyone have any recs of small tour operators that do this sort of thing in Speyside? Or, another idea, perhaps basing ourselves in a small town walking distance to a distillery or two, and maybe take taxis to others. Is that possible in that region?
I don't have any ideas on tour guides, but we did a self- guided tour in June 2017, based in Aberlour. We rented a little house on a hill with fabulous views and made day trips. We were pretty close to the cooperage, which you can't miss. It was wonderful, lots of late nights sitting out in the midnight twilight with friends. There's a little church nearby that has Pictish stones on display, apparently they found them built into their basement during a renovation.
Some of the distilleries we went to, Glenfarclas, Macallen, Aberlour, Cardhu, Glenfidditch. I am sure there were more, but I was not one of the Scotch connoisseurs of our group so my memory is failing me!
Here's the link to the house, although it sleeps like 8 people so probably not what you're looking for.
As far as route, we started in Edinburgh, spent a night in Pitlochry at The Mill Inn, it was lovely. My husband and his friend spent a ton of money on a fishing trip the next morning, didn't see a fish but had a great time. We then went to Ballater and spent a night at a B&B, I can't remember why we were there but I'm sure there was a distillery somewhere. Then to see and tour Balmoral, although I may have the order messed up.
After Aberlour our group split, most to Inverness to see the Loch and more Whisky, but we went to St Andrews. It was a Sunday and we were able to walk the course. It was a rare 70 degree day, the beach to the North was packed with locals swimming. I was able to dip my feet in and I can attest the North Sea was warmer than the Oregon Coast! My husband golfed Kingsbarns and I walked through the Abbey ruins and took a nap. That night we gorged on really good Indian food and the next morning walked around the University. I believe it was the weekend before graduation, we were in the chapel on campus and the students in the choir showed up and started practicing! I loved St Andrews, and if you can fit it in I would recommend it.
We then drove to Glasgow and flew home the next day. We were too tired to do anything but have a meal and crash. I won't say anything about Glasgow because we weren't in the right mind to see it properly. The reason we flew out of there instead of Edinburgh was due to cost I believe.
I don't know of any tour guides, but I do know about some websites you should check out. I found them because they were listed on Visit Scotland. There is an accreditation process in Scotland. I am not sure if every guide gets accredited, but it is a starting point. Tourism is pretty important to Scotland so it makes sense that they do everything that they can to make sure tourists are very happy! Here's the Scottish Tour Guides Association. Here is another one based in the Highlands. They give you a lot of variable to search on!