The Best Whisky Tours in Scotland
The Best Whisky Tours in Scotland
Visit a World-Famous Distillery on Your Scottish Golfing Holiday
Scottish distillery whisky tours are the perfect addition to any golfing holiday. Visit fine distilleries such as Glenfiddich, Glen Moray and Glenturret.
A traditional and sociable whisky distillery tour goes hand in hand with a golf trip to Scotland. There are many whisky distilleries located all over the country celebrating the production and history of this fine drink which dates back to the 15th century. Naturally, whisky tastings are an essential part of any distillery experience.
There are two types of whisky on the market in Scotland. The ‘single malt whisky’ makes up approximately 10% of the market, whilst the more common form is known as a ‘blended whisky’ which is a mix of grain and malt whisky. The single malt is produced in a number of different Scottish regions including Speyside, Lowland, Islay and Highland, each of which contributes a distinctive flavour. The most well-known area for single malts is Speyside which is famed for its whisky trail and is the perfect accompaniment to any golfing holiday in the area.
Here are some of the best regional tours on offer.
Malt Whisky Tours in the Northern Highlands
This distillery is located in Brora, which is about 1 hour north of Inverness. There are beautiful sights over the North Sea and the northern hills in the surrounding area. The fruity, waxy and somewhat smoky flavour of the Clynelish single malt can be attributed to the water that originates from these hills.
There are 3 tours on offer at the distillery:
- Clynelish Distillery Tour – a guided tour with a sample of Clynelish 14 year old single malt.
- Taste of Clynelish Tour – a guided tour with tastings of the Clynelish 14 year old, Distillers Edition and the Distillery Only Cask Strength Bottling.
- Taste of the Highlands Tour – a private extended guided tour of the Distillery with tastings of the Clynelish 14 year old, Clynelish Distillers Edition, Clynelish Distillery Only Cask Strength Bottling. Sampling is also available direct from the casks of Clynelish 1988 and Teaninich 1985. The tour is for 2-8 people and must be booked in advance.
Glen Ord Distillery
This Highlands distillery near Inverness was founded in 1838 and is one of the eldest in Scotland. It is a pleasure to see the distillers working and crafting a unique whisky that is sweet and malty but dry on the palate. The distillery malts its own barley and uses a system of long fermentation along with a slow distillation method that has been practised for generations.
- Exhibition Only – enjoy an informative video and exhibition, then receive a complimentary Singleton of Glen Ord 12 year old single malt tasting.
- Glen Ord Tour – exhibition as above, followed by a tour of distillery and a complimentary Singleton of Glen Ord 12 year old single malt to taste.
- Glen Ord Tasting Experience – take the Glen Ord Tour and join a tutored tasting with an additional 2 measures giving a flavour of Scotland. This experience must be booked in advance.
Selected Distilleries in Speyside
The Glenfiddich distillery was founded by William Grant and his family who produced their first single malt Scotch whisky on Christmas Day 1887. The pure water, the barley, the clean air and the small size of the stills created a single malt whisky which proved to be truly exceptional. After five generations it is one of the few whisky companies remaining in the founding family. Glenfiddich is now one of the world’s favourite single malt Scotch whiskies.
- Classic Tour – this complimentary tour lasts about an hour and includes a short film, guided tour and tutored tasting of Glenfiddich 12, 15 and 18 Year Old whiskies.
- Explorers’ Tour – a more detailed tour with a 90 minute duration. It includes a visit to the matchless Solera Warehouse and a tutored tasting of four award-winning whiskies. Over 18s only.
- Pioneers’ Tour – an excellent half-day tour which allows you to bottle your own Glenfiddich direct from a cask in Warehouse No. 8. The Pioneer’s Tour is a master-class in the nosing and sampling of Glenfiddich whiskies which are aged up to 30 years old. Over 18s only.
Glen Moray has been distilled in Elgin since 1897. Since this time much has changed. However, the materials, the processes and the skills of the craftsmen producing this fine quality single malt whisky endure. The city of Elgin is the historic capital of Speyside. The area has a mild climate and claims to have a longer summer than any other part of Scotland.
- Regular Tour – a short but informative tour around the distillery.
- Fifth Chapter Tour – this is a more in-depth tour with the distillery manager which includes a more comprehensive tasting.
Edinburgh Area Distillery
The typical lowland distillery is just 30 minutes from the City of Edinburgh. The Lammermuir Hills supply the water for the distillery, resulting in a light, fruity, dry Edinburgh Malt. A typical visit starts on the malting floors, home to the famous model distillery. Here you meet your guide and see the distillery production area, learning how the whisky is made. Finally, you are greeted at the bar for a tasting of Glenkinchie Single Malt Whisky.
- Exhibition Only – a visit to the model distillery. Enjoy a complimentary measure of Glenkinchie 12 year old single malt.
- Glenkinchie Tour – a visit to the model distillery and a full tour of the distillery will take around 75 minutes including a complimentary tasting of Glenkinchie single malt.
- Flavour of Scotland Tour – this 90 minute tour is similar to the Glenkinchie Tour but includes comprehensive taste comparisons of Glenkinchie with other single malts from around Scotland.
Arran Area Distillery
Isle of Arran Distillers
This island distillery is located at Lochranza and is one of the few private distilleries in Scotland. Arran is a lovely island off the West Coast of Ayrshire and is known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’. The locality offers perfect water for whisky production, cleaned by granite and made softer by peat as it descends from the mountain above. The sea breeze, pure mountain air and the warmth of the Gulf Stream mature the Malt to perfection in earth-floored warehouses.
Following each tour of the distillery, guests can enjoy a relaxing measure of the award-winning Single Island Malt in the tasting bar.
The Visitor Centre provides fully guided tours, an audio visual presentation, an exhibition, shop and restaurant. The whisky making process is fully explained by professionally trained guides. View the spectacular historic exhibition set around a thirty foot indoor waterfall.
- Oak Tour – this tour has a duration of 45 minutes and includes a welcome measure of 10 year-old along with a taste of the Arran Gold Cream Liqueur.
- Copper Tour – this 75 minute version of the tour includes the same measure as the Oak Tour with the addition of a tutored tasting of the 14 year-old malt of the month.
- Gold Tour – the specialist experience begins with a welcome measure and a distillery tour followed by a walk to where the beautiful, pure water is drawn.
In the bonded warehouses you will be able to see examples of dunnage, racking and palletisation systems. After your tour you move on to the tasting room where you will enjoy a tutored tasting of 6 Arran Malt Whiskies which can be tailored to your requirements.
To complete your VIP experience, you will then have an opportunity to fill and take home your own 200ml bottle of Cask Strength Arran Malt from the Living Cask and will also be presented with a Spey Dram Glass which is a lovely reminder of your Gold Tour of the Isle of Arran Distillery.
As this is a specialist tour lasting around 2 and a half hours, it must be booked in advance and has a minimum of 4 persons.
This is the tiniest and arguably the most attractive distillery in Scotland. It is a must for people on the whisky trail. The Edradour distillery is in a delightful and untouched niche of Scotland where the people are genuinely warm and friendly, the landscape is splendid and the lifestyle is unaffected by the hazards of the twentieth century. The distillery is situated in the centre of Tayside by the beautiful town of Pitlochry and encircled by the wilds of the Grampian Mountains.
Edradour produces only twelve casks of whisky a week. This is laid down to be aged for at least 10 years until reaching its highest quality.
With such a small output, stockists of Edradour whisky can be incredibly hard to find. Therefore the distillery is the only place you can truly rely on to find this hidden gem of a spirit.
- Tours of Edradour – guests are welcomed with two measures of Edradour in the Malt Barn where a short video is played followed by a talk about the history of Edradour. Following this introduction, guests view the distillery to see the long-established processes of whisky-making and maturation. Edradour is still hand-crafted nowadays as it was in Victorian times. The tour will take about 60 minutes and those with more than 8 in a party will need to book in advance.
Glenturret Whisky Distillery
Glenturret claims to be the most visited distillery in Scotland. Guests can anticipate the best in hospitality, amazing facilities and a warm Scottish welcome for their visit.
There is something for everyone at The Famous Grouse Experience. Take one of four tours to learn about how malt whiskies are made and the secrets of why the Famous Grouse has been Scotland’s favourite whisky for over 25 years.
- The Experience Tour – watch a first-hand demonstration of how Glenturret single malt is made, followed by information about the process which makes Scotland’s favoured blended whisky, The Famous Grouse. This 60 minute tour includes an award winning interactive show and 2 complimentary tasting measures.
- The Malt Tasting Tour – a perfect post-tour sampling of 5 drams. Why not test your taste buds by sampling and comparing some of the finest malts? This extra tasting takes 10 minutes on top of the Experience Tour.
- The Distillery Tour – watch and learn how Glenturret single malt is made at Scotland’s oldest operational distillery. This tour includes 1 measure and takes approximately 30 minutes.
- Warehouse No. 9 – after the Distillery Tour, visit the exclusive tasting room in warehouse No. 9. Here you will learn about the malt range of 10 years to 30 years old whisky. This post-tour add-on takes around 90 minutes.
If you’re interested in combining a visit to one or two of these world-famous distilleries as part of your golf holiday, then please get in touch and we’d be happy to provide more information on opening hours and directions to each of the locations.
Photo credit: Colin Smith, CC Licence.