May 26, 2023 6 min read
I was brought up in the Speyside area of Scotland for 22 years, which has made whisky something of a constant in my life. My parents owned a hotel in the area for 30 plus years and have been involved in whisky tastings, competitions and festivals for much of this time. My mum has written a great little book called “Distinguished Distilleries” and my brother works in the industry, so it would almost be wrong if I didn’t like whisky too.
It’s not just drinking the whisky, I absolutely love going to see the different places where it's made. There are so many incredible distilleries around Scotland for you to visit, each with its own unique story to tell and whisky to drink. With so many to choose from, it may be tough finding where to start, however here is an insight into a few of the distilleries I would recommend visiting.
Not far north of Inverness, lies a distillery steeped in history. While at Glenmorangie Whisky Distillery and Glenmorangie House, the whisky tastings and experiences on offer are designed to provide an immersive and educational journey through the world of whisky. Begin your exploration with a guided tasting led by knowledgeable experts who walk you through the distinct flavours, aromas, and nuances of Glenmorangie's signature expressions. You can sample a range of whiskies, from the smooth and creamy Original to the complex and rich Nectar d'Or, allowing your palate to unravel the depth of each dram. For those seeking a more personalised experience, consider booking a private tasting, where you can delve deeper into the history and production techniques behind Glenmorangie's exceptional whiskies.
As for Glenmorangie House, it provides a picturesque backdrop for leisurely whisky appreciation. Settle into the cosy drawing rooms with crackling fireplaces, sample drams of whisky chosen from the extensive collection. Whether you opt for the guided tastings, workshops, or simply revel in the quiet charm of Glenmorangie House, these whisky experiences will elevate your weekend getaway to an extraordinary level of whisky immersion and enjoyment.
Nestled in Speyside, the Macallan distillery is renowned for producing some of the world's most exquisite single malt whiskies. Immerse yourself in the rich history and traditional craftsmanship that permeate every aspect of the Macallan experience. Take a guided tour of the recently updated distillery, where you'll witness the meticulous process of whisky production, from the copper stills and oak casks to the spacious maturation warehouses filled with the alluring aroma of ageing whisky.
At Macallan, the whisky tastings and experiences on offer are designed to enchant and educate enthusiasts of all levels. Engage in curated tastings led by knowledgeable whisky ambassadors who will guide you through a range of Macallan expressions, showcasing their distinctive flavours and characteristics. From the signature Macallan 12 Year Old with its notes of dried fruits and honey to the rare and prized Macallan M, each dram presents an opportunity to explore the artistry and craftsmanship that make Macallan whiskies truly exceptional.
The estate offers exclusive whisky experiences where you can further your understanding of Macallan's whiskies through private tastings, masterclasses, and even the opportunity to create your own personalised whisky expression under the guidance of expert whisky makers. The tranquil surroundings of the estate provide a serene backdrop for savouring the finest Macallan whiskies and immersing yourself in the essence of Speyside. There are plenty of hotels within a 10/20 minute drive from the site.
Beyond tastings, Macallan offers unique experiences like whisky and chocolate pairings, sensory workshops, and interactive blending sessions. Engage all your senses as you discover the harmonious interplay between Macallan's exceptional whiskies and carefully selected flavours and aromas. Whether you're a whisky connoisseur or a curious enthusiast, a weekend getaway at Macallan distillery promises an extraordinary immersion into the world of whisky.
For an unforgettable weekend getaway dedicated to whisky tasting, the renowned Glenfiddich distillery and its captivating offerings provide an exceptional experience. Located in the breathtaking Speyside region of Scotland, Glenfiddich stands as a pioneer in the world of single malt Scotch whisky.
Begin your adventure with a distillery tour led by knowledgeable guides who will take you through the various stages of whisky production. Witness the traditional copper pot stills in action and gain insight into the intricate processes of malting, mashing, fermentation, and maturation. Delve into Glenfiddich's extensive warehouses, where rows upon rows of oak casks hold whisky ageing gracefully, absorbing the rich flavours and character that make Glenfiddich whiskies so distinctive.
From the iconic Glenfiddich 12 Year Old with its fruity and floral notes to the more complex and mature Glenfiddich 18 Year Old, each dram invites you to explore the depth and intricacy of their whiskies. Engage in intimate tastings where you'll uncover the unique flavour profiles, ageing techniques, and cask influences that contribute to Glenfiddich's exceptional range. For an even more immersive experience, consider participating in the Glenfiddich Solera Reserve Experience. Here, you'll have the opportunity to delve deeper into the art of whisky blending, as you create your own personalised bottle by combining whiskies from various casks under the guidance of a master blender. It's a truly unique and hands-on experience that allows you to explore the intricacies of flavour balance and craftsmanship.
Between Glenmorangie (North of Inverness) and the two Speyside distilleries (Glenfiddich and Macallan) is a lovely hotel called Boath House, situated just outside of Nairn. There are many things to do around the area from taking in the history of the Battle of Culloden, to beach walks along the Moray coastline. If golf is what you are looking for then there is plenty to choose from. Castle Stuart recently held the Scottish Open in 2016 and Moray Golf Club offers up its old course designed by Tom Morris who famously designed (among others) the famous Old Course at St Andrews.
If you're seeking a weekend getaway filled with peaty and smoky delights, look no further than the renowned Ardbeg distillery on the shores of Islay, Scotland. Ardbeg has carved a legendary reputation for its exceptional and heavily peated single malt Scotch whiskies, capturing the essence of Islay's rugged coastal beauty. Prepare for a truly immersive whisky experience as you delve into the captivating world of Ardbeg.
Guided tours of the distillery are offered where you can witness the traditional methods employed in crafting Ardbeg's distinctive whiskies. Marvel at the imposing copper pot stills that work tirelessly to produce the spirit, and explore the on-site malting floors where malted barley is dried using peat smoke, infusing the whisky with its signature smoky character. Gain insight into the maturation process as you wander through the dimly lit warehouses, where rows of casks age gracefully, capturing the essence of Islay's maritime climate.
Ardbeg offers a range of tastings designed to showcase the diverse flavours and intensity of their whiskies. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tastings allow you to explore the spectrum of Ardbeg expressions, from the iconic Ardbeg 10 Year Old with its bold peatiness and layers of smoky complexity, to limited-edition releases that push the boundaries of flavour experimentation.
For whisky enthusiasts seeking a hands-on experience, Ardbeg provides the opportunity to become an "Ardbeg Committee" member. Joining this esteemed community grants access to exclusive bottlings, events, and the chance to participate in tastings and whisky trials, contributing to the distillery's ongoing quest for excellence.
To further enhance your Ardbeg getaway, explore the untamed beauty of Islay. Take in the dramatic coastal vistas, visit neighbouring distilleries, and immerse yourself in the island's rich whisky heritage. Ardbeg's visitor centre also offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, where you can relax, enjoy a meal paired with Ardbeg whiskies.
A weekend getaway at Ardbeg distillery promises an unforgettable journey into the world of peaty and smoky Scotch whisky. From the immersive distillery tours and tastings to the captivating landscapes of Islay, each moment spent at Ardbeg is a celebration of the distillery's commitment to producing exceptional and unforgettable whiskies.
A great place to stay on the island would have to be The Machrie. The food is fantastic and the views across the Scottish landscape are unbeatable. For those looking to take in some Scottish golf, the links course is definitely worth making time for.
We have named just a few of the incredible experiences Scotland has to offer in the world of whisky though hopefully this will help in the search for your next whisky getaway. Each offers its own individual experience tailored to all experience levels. Whisky is to be enjoyed and accessible to all (over 18!!!). Those who really want to like whisky but are finding it more difficult to adjust to the taste, perhaps try a whisky based cocktail or even a whisky and ginger ale. We hope you have enjoyed reading and tell us how you get on!!
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