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Whisky Trips

whisky
spirits

#1

Earlier this year I went on my first trip to Scotland that revolved around whisky. It was a truly amazing time visiting some distilleries I’d never tried the whisky from before, getting up close to see what goes on and seeing in practice the processes I’d only known of in theory. I was shadowing our whisky buyer Sarah and as such was fantastic and very informative but at a break-neck pace arriving Monday morning and back Tuesday night.

I’m hoping to go to Islay next year with a couple of friends, it offers probably my favourite style (although it is tight between the smoke-beasts and Speyside’s sherry-bombs) and has been something I’ve wanted to do since getting into whisky about 5 years back. I was wondering if anyone else had done a similar trip at all and had any particular tips or recommendations?


#2

I do love the sound of those aged single malts in ‘Society’ barrels. I’m not much of a whisky drinker, but that sounds like it is something unique I have to try

Maybe should buy a bottle to give to a relative (can say who, since most of them are members and also in this community!) so I can try some.

:wink:


#3

I’ve done a few whisky tours encorporated into family holidays, almost exclusively in speyside.

My main tip would be have a look at the websites of the distilleries, as they often do a range of tour/tasting options.

You may initially want to do a few of the basic tours to get a feel of the process that goes on, but more than 2 of these may become a little repetitive. If you have a good look there should be some premium visits you can do. I’m sure there is one distillery that allows you to go and harvest the peat, then engage in the rest of the process and eventually take home a special bottling from a cask.

At glenfarclas in speyside I did a ‘decades tssting’, where we tasted 6 vintages from the 50’s through, some of the bottles running at £3000 a pop.

The key, as always, research and planning (and a bit of a kitty).

Danny


#4

Also if you get a Diageo friends of malt card you get a bunch of money off or freebies at their distilleries.


#5

Thanks for the advice, am a Friend of Laphroaig so that gives you a free dram when visiting and am a member of Balvenies’ Warehouse 24 or 42 or whatever which allows you to fill a bottle from a special cask which changes with regularity (and is menat to be amazing).

Would be cool to see the peat harvesting actually, think you can see that at Laphroaig and maybe Ardbeg.

I love Glenfarclas and when in Speyside would love to go there and Balvenie.

Thanks Danny


#6

Hi,

I am a big Islay whisky fan and did a trip last year, my main tips are:

If you want to do tours phone up and book before hand, they fill up quickly in the summer

If you’re using public transport to get around (don’t drink and drive on the island, it’s a small community and they will know and act accordingly) make the most efficient use of the bus timetable. The busses are infrequent (once every 2 hours) but are reliable and if you ask nicely will drop you off at a no-no bus-stop (useful for Coal Ila). If you are going to drive ask at the tasting if they can put the whisky in a sample pot and you can take it home to drink at your leisure.

Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg are all close to eachother along a 3 mile paved walkway. Ardbeg has an excellent cafe/restaurant

There are no busses on Sundays

The standard tours (£5-£10) will include a tasting from the core range, e.g. what you can buy worldwide. If you want to sample rare and unusual expressions you need to pay for warehouse tours and tastings. I’d highly recommend Lagavuli
n and Bruichladdich’s warehouse tour for an intimate tasting of rare expressions.

The water source to whisky tour at Laphroaig was excellent.

Take your credit card!

Any more questions let me know.


#7

If you would like to taste a broad range of different and small cask whiskys without the travel involved, I would recommend the Scottish malt whisky society . They have the vaults in Leith and 28 Queen st, both in Edinburgh and a base on Grenville st in London. I lived in Leith for nearly 4 years and was a member ! They have literally hundreds of whisky to try and also hold regular member events. The venues themselve are wonderful with great food and atmosphere, especially at this time of year . :+1:


#8

For those lovers of Islay whisky, the wine soc offering has £20 off. £45 for a whisky listed on Masters of Malt for £74, and going for £70 on some auction sites. Cask strength, no age statement, but at this price must have a bit of age within.


#9

As has been said before, all opf the distilleries on Islay offer a good tour. Ardbeg can be pretty wonderful especially if you get the weather. Ardnahoe is building at the moment and, if your visit isn’t until late in the year, you could experience one of Scotland’s newest distilleries. If spending a few days, don’t forget to visit Jura and its distillery and, when you return to the mainland, take a wee detour south from Kennacraig and visit Springbank. The contrast between the Islay distilleries (and their money) and the hand-knitted experience at Springbank is very informative.
Even if you don’t make it to Islay, there is a wealth of distilleries all over Scotland, each offering a slightly different take on the process. Dalwhinnie is offering FREE tours until Easter because they won visitor experience of the yeart 2017.
Enjoy.


#10

You could add the Isle of Arran distillery at Lochranza on to an Islay/Jura/Kintyre too. Regular ferry from Kintyre…and then hop back to the mainland at Ardrossan.

If you wanted the chance to taste a few different whiskies under one roof, as Leah suggested, another alternative, which is less than an hour from Ardrossan is here:

http://www.adrattray.com/whisky-experience

They do a very good tutored tasting at three different price levels (dearest is £40 I think), offering 5 whiskies in each, but they will very often add another one or two in…need to book it though, particularly in high season as it’s quite small, and maximum of 4 per session. There are usually three or four bottles open for tasting too. They have a large range of different whiskies for sale from £20 to £2000+ a bottle, including private bottlings. Also a good range of gins and non Scottish whisky.