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Whisky Galore : The Ultimate Scotch Whisky Tour
The ultimate Malt Whisky Tour, a must for every malt whisky enthusiast. This multi-day tour explores the history, geography and flavours of Scotland’s Five Malt Whisky Regions; Lowland, Highland, Speyside, Campbeltown and Islay, and will visit some of our most famous distilleries. From Laphroaig on Islay to Glenlivet in Speyside; from Glenmorangie in the Northern Highlands to Springbank in Campletown; and from Auchentoshan in the Lowlands to Talker on the Isle of Skye to name but a few, this is truly the opportunity to immerse yourself in the very best whisky Scotland has to offer.
Scotland is synonymous with the very best Malt Whisky in the world and with over 120 distilleries Scotland it truly is the home of Malt Whisky. Our tour is designed to showcase our different whisky regions, our most famous distilleries, the subtle variations in taste and flavour and the different ways used to make malt whisky ‘Uisge Beatha - The Water of Life’.
There are thousands of distilleries in the world, but for a whisky to be called Scotch it must conform to the following simple rules:
- Be produced in Scotland;
- Be aged for at least three years and one day; and,
- Be matured using oak casks.
Nearly all of the taste of whisky comes from its contact with oak casks and the general rule is that younger whiskies reflect the distillery process and older whiskies reflect the type of cask. During this tour, we will travel the length and breadth of Scotland, providing us with the additional benefit of experiencing Scotland’s magnificent landscapes, stunning Islands, breathtaking scenery and fantastic cuisine.
At Select Scotland Tours, our qualified guides and whisky experts, are able to create a very flexible tour and this tour can be readily modified to incorporate your favourite whiskies, to take in your other areas of interest, or even combined with a tour of your ancestral heritage.
The starting point can also be changed between Aberdeen, Glasgow or Edinburgh.
DURATION: 10 Days (depending on final choice of distilleries).
HIGHLIGHTS & KEY LOCATIONS: Glasgow, Arran, Islay, Skye, Inverness, Speyside, Campletown, Perth, Edinburgh
Day 1 Edinburgh and Lowland Region: Glenkinchie, Deanston and Auchentoshan; overnight by Loch Lomond.
The Lowland malts offer a slightly gentler and more delicate flavour than some of the other regions; perhaps reminiscent of newly cut grass, summer flowers and with a hint of spices. Glenkinchie, our first distillery and the closest distillery to Edinburgh earns the title “The Edinburgh Malt”. After a visit to Deanston distillery nestling beside Doune Castle and the River Teith we will travel west to Glasgow to visit Auchentoshan, famous for producing a triple distilled whisky; a legacy of its Irish roots.
Day 2 West to Campbeltown: Glengoyne and Springbank distilleries; overnight near Kennacraig.
Our day begins at Glengoyne. Nestling below Dumgoyne and straddling the boundary between Lowland and Highland Malts Glengoyne claims to have the slowest distilling process of all distilleries. We then drive along the ‘Bonnie banks of Loch Lomond towards Campbeltown. Campletown was once home to more than 30 distilleries but now only 3 distilleries are still producing. Perhaps the most famous being Springbank, with a range of whiskies tasting of sea air, peat, vanilla and sugar. Campletown takes great pride in using local tradesmen and producers to ensure the local community continue to be involved in the great tradition of making these great whiskies.
Day 3 Islay: Laphroaig & Lagavulin; overnight on Islay.
We take the ferry from Kennacraig to Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides. An island of windswept rugged beauty. Islay is renowned for producing BIG whiskies, redolent of peat, smoke and salinity. We arrive in time for lunch and our first visits will be to Laphroaig & Lagavulin which along with Kilchoman, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Bowmore and Ardbeg make up Islay’s 8 distilleries. This mecca for Malt Whisky lovers evokes flavours ranging from linseed to moss, from spice to purity, from carbolic to floral palates
Day 4 Islay: A Full day to continue our exploration of Islay Malts; overnight on Islay
Day 5 On the West Coast: Oban Distillery; overnight near Fort William
We depart Islay taking the morning ferry as it cruises from Port Askaig to Oban via the beautiful Isle of Colonsay, arriving in Oban in time for a late seafood lunch. For two centuries Oban’s bustling harbour has been a stopping off point between the West Highlands and the Islands, a meeting place of land and sea. One of Scotland’s oldest licensed distilleries, Oban’s sheltered harbour is perfect for two things – seafaring and whisky making. We will visit Oban distillery before heading north to Fort William.
Day 6 From Skye to The Black Isle: Talisker Distillery; overnight Cromarty.
We depart Fort William and travel to Skye to visit the Talisker Distillery, before continuing East across Scotland to Cromarty. Talisker is a big peaty, smoky malt made by the sea on the Isle of Skye, surely one of the most remote, rugged, yet beautiful landscapes in Scotland. Few whiskies tell the story of their origin better than Talisker, its smell and taste instantly connect the drinker with the rugged environment; like sitting by a warming fire on a stormy night.
Day 7 Highland Malts: Glenmorangie, Glen Ord, Glen Wyvis, Ben Dronach; overnight near Elgin.
We depart Cromarty and head along the coast to Tain, home of Glenmorangie. The copper stills at Glenmorangie are the tallest in Scotland, measuring 8 metres high. The long copper necks are almost the same height as a fully grown adult giraffe! These long elegant stills ensure that only the very lightest and purest vapours are used thus producing a smoother, more elegant whisky. Our tour of highland distilleries continues to Glen Ord, then Glen Wyvis (a new crowd-funded distillery) and finally, to Ben Dronach before turning south towards Elgin.
Day 8 Speyside: The Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenfiddich, The Balvenie; overnight near Elgin.
Speyside is home to over half of Scotland’s distilleries producing whiskies renowned for their flavours of apple, pear, honey, vanilla and spice. Speyside itself is traditionally split into eight defined towns and areas: Rothes, Strathisla, Lossie, Livet, Findhorn, Dufftown, Deveron and Central. Here we will visit some of Scotland’s most famous distilleries taking time to appreciate the subtle differences between the whiskies of this wonderful region; from the light grassy tones of The Glenlivet to the richer, sweeter, taste of The Macallan.
Day 9 More Highland Malts: Dalwhinnie, Edradour, Blair Athol; overnight near Pitlochry
Leaving Elgin we head south through the beautiful scenery of the Central Highlands; stopping to visit Dalwhinnie, Edradour and Blair Athol distilleries. Dalwhinnie is the highest and coldest working distillery in Scotland, using water from a loch at 2000 feet, located on an old drove road, Dalwhinnie continues to thrive in extreme conditions. Blair Athol distillery, in Pitlochry stands at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands using water of the Allt Dour burn to produce a whisky with a mellow tones and exceptionally smooth finish, used in Bell's, one of the most popular blended whiskies in the UK. The picturesque distillery at Edradour claims to be one of Scotlands smallest distilleries producing only 50,000 litres of malt whisky per year. It may be small, but this perfectly little gem is well worth visiting.
Day 10 Grains and Blends: The Famous grouse, White Label and Johnnie Walker
Our final day sees us travel from Pitlochry to Edinburgh and today we focus on Perthshire, home to Scotlands most famous blended Whiskies. Our day commences at Dewars, near Aberfeldy, home to the famous White Label Brand before heading to Crieff and Glenturret Distillery home to the Famous Grouse. The final leg of our whisky journey will take us through Markinch in Fife, home to Johnnie Walker and Diageo the largest producer of Malt whisky in Scotland before arriving in Edinburgh, the end of the Ultimate Whisky Trail.
OVERNIGHT STOPS & ACCOMMODATION: 4* accommodation is available at all overnight locations on this tour, but we are happy to advise on a range of alternatives from family run B&Bs to restaurants with rooms.
For those with additional time to spend wishing to sample even more distilleries we can extend the tour to include visits to Old Pulteney near Wick before crossing to Orkney, home to Highland Park and Scapa distilleries.