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Scotland - Whisky Distillery Tour

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Nov 23rd, 2005, 09:12 AM
  #1
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Scotland - Whisky Distillery Tour

While in Scotland next May, I'd like to tour one or two Whisky Distilleries. I don't have a favorite Whisky, so I'm completely open to which one(s) to visit. We'll probably spend most of our time in the Highlands, but since we're still very much in the planning stages, location is flexible.

Which distillery would you recommend, and why?
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 09:56 AM
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We had a very good time at the Famous Grouse distillery in Perthshire. Very amusing and informative plus they had free comouter access for sending emails home.
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Edradour, near Pitlochry. Scotland's smallest distillery. Outstanding single malt whisky, handmade by only three men. www.edradour.co.uk
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 10:29 AM
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Mmmmm. The Famous Grouse "Experience" is based in Glen Turret distillery; probably more famous for its cat thn its dram. But the centre is getting a good name, except from my family.

Puhsonally, I think you ought to visit a distillery with a malting floor. And that's hard because so few of them have them any more. Probably the easiest is Balvenie, which only does tours by appointment. They are, think, very accommodating.

Alternatively you could take a trip to Islay where you can see floor maltings at Bowmore or Laphraoig. Now, IMHO you ought to spend your whole trip on Islay, which is, of course, the "Queen of the Hebrides". But, on the assumption that you don't think that's a great idea, your second distillery should be one where you particularly like the taste. No point in doing something with no fun at the end
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:31 AM
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I'd also recommend a distillery w/ a malting floor. But as sheila says - not that many remain. Grouse is a blend and I think you'd much prefer going to one of the singles malt distilleries.

Balvenie if you book, or Glenfiddich or some of the places on Speyside if you just drop in, would be fine. But since there are so many - just plan your itinerary and we can then tell you which distillery(s) fits in best.

There are good distilleries w/ tours all over including on Skye, Mull and Islay.
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Janis, although you're right about Grouse, they bought Glenturret, built this whizz visitor centre, which is doon sooth so easily got to by the masses, and they are marketing a series of malts, which are, in fact, blended malts- like Chivas, or Johnny Walker Black.
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 01:42 PM
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I had heard about the visitors' center - but haven't seen it yet. Do they do a good job of explaining single malts and the distilling process?

I do like Grouse and a few of the other blends -- when I drink a blend. But a single malt distillery I think might be a better choice. There are so many to choose from. But if Grouse does a good single malt tour/demonstration it might make a good compromise.
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 01:49 PM
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http://www.laphroaig.com/distillery/...our_distillery

My favourite whisky
 
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Nov 25th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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Thanks for all your replies so far.

I checked on the Balvenie -- for about $35 a person it should be a really good tour. That seems pretty steep.
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Nov 25th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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Well Balvenie is a special whisky and it is a special tour. But there are many distlleries that don't charge anything -- Glenfiddich, for one - but MANY others as well.
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Nov 25th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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I'm sorry about that. I honestly didn't know they charged. This is a new departure. They used to only accept bookings and they didn't. The fixed tour times is new.

Glenfiddich is owned by Balvenie, and although much more mass market, it has a good tour. the difference is NOT worth £20.

Lots of other Speyside distilleries do free tours too, and whilst it's a shame to miss a malting floor, it's just not worth that/

Any chance you could get to Islay?
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Nov 25th, 2005, 01:45 PM
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This is perhaps not completely pertinent to the questions, just an aside, really, but I was in Edinburgh a for a week a few years back. I was staying with a local couple and one night at a pub she asked if I’d like to try the local “whisky”. I told her that I had no taste for Scotch but she insisted that I have a taste of what the local’s drank. She came back to the table with glasses of Famous Grouse. She explained that it was a “blend” so the purists turned their noses up, but she said that just about everyone they knew on a social level drank “Da Groose…”

A day or two later at a different pub I had another round and found that I was inexplicably developing a taste for the stuff. The barman said the he reckoned about half of his clientele, all locals, drank Grouse…which is saying a lot considering how many options are available.
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Nov 26th, 2005, 01:17 AM
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Well, they do have good marekting; and it's a good blend. But in the end of the day it's just a blend, and really can't compete. It would be my choice of cooking whisky too.
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Nov 26th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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Are there any distilleries in Edinbourgh or north east near the coast or not far from Fife??? Thank you,
Cinzia
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Nov 26th, 2005, 07:07 PM
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I was introduced to Famous Grouse by a fine Scottish Gentleman a few years ago. We use it for mixed whisky drinks like a Scotch Old Fashioned or a Scotch Sour. As blends go, it is very good. Otherwise, I much prefer my Macallan (18 year) or Glenmorangie Port Wood.
But all that aside, you need to decide what experience you are looking for. I take it that the kind of whisky isn't that important. Perhaps it is the process that intrigues you or maybe some historical architecture. You indicate that you will be in the Highlands. If you will be near Inverness or Elgin, you are a good candidate to come down the Whisky Trail. The trail is a well paved road that goes through beautiful rolling wooded hills all the way to Perth. There are a number of distilleries along the trail (eight or nine) and plenty of places to pull off for a picnic or a rest.
We thought Cardhu and Dallas Dhu were the prettiest and Glenlivet gave the best tour. It should be noted that Dallas Dhu is no longer operational, but tours and aged whiskey are still available. Also, Cardhu is, I believe, the only woman owned distillery.
The tour guides are very knowledgeable and the bartenders are great fun.
Do yourself a favor. If you come through Elgin to the top of the trail, visit Pluscardin Abbey. The place and the setting are beautiful beyond words. Have a great trip.
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Nov 26th, 2005, 10:02 PM
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Regardless of the distillery you visit, be prepared for a major shock when you get your wee dram of the local afterwards and view the gift shop offerings. Scotch started at 50 dollars for the bottle (this was six years ago). The taxes on the whiskey were the problem. We picked up a lovely shot glass of etched crystal which lasted four years until a frisky cat pushed it off the shelf-damn cat.
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Nov 27th, 2005, 01:24 AM
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Cinzia, I think your only option is Glenkinchie. Whisky is pretty much a Highland thing and Lowland distilleries are few and far between. Glenkinchie is open to the public, and, whlst I stand to be corrected, having never been, I suspect it's a wee bit industrial.

Joegri, I can't think where your notion of Cardhu being owned by a woman came from; It's a Johnny Walker production for United Distillers, who are owned by Diageo, a $23bn company. I suppose few shareholders might be women

As you may know, it got itself in teh most god awful mess a couple of years ago over the "vatted malt" issue
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Nov 27th, 2005, 11:32 PM
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As usual Sheila, you are right. I had to back to my journal to check my information. The distillery was pioneered by a woman. It is not now woman owned. Don't care for the Johnny Walker line, but as I recall Cardhu was one of the prettiest.
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Nov 28th, 2005, 08:49 AM
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Thanks again for the additional information.

I don't have a favority whisky yet because I've just started drinking it. For a long time I didn't like scotch, then someone told me that I really needed to try the single-malts. He was right. But, I haven't yet had a lot of exposure to different ones, so far just Glenmorangie and Glenlivit.

I don't know that we'll be able to get to Islay. There's never enough time (or money). So far, our emphasis is more on the Highlands and the Outer Hebrides, probably passing through Skye to get to Uist.

As far as what I'm more interested in, process, architecture, history, taste: that's hard to say. I like seeing how things are made. If the product is something I like (or will like), even better.
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Nov 28th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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In that case, have look at Talisker on Skye, and, as I said, any of the Speysides. Glenlivet itself is a bit...industrial. But it has a lovely shop
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