Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Tour guests at Macallan Distillery, Speyside

This morning we departed our lodgings in Dufftown, Speyside and drove for about 20 mins to our first destination of Macallan Distillery where guest joined the 10.00 tour which lasted about 1 hour 45 mins and included tastings.

Macallan has output capacity of 9.8m litres p.a.and ranks as the third biggest selling single malt in the world.Products include Macallan Gold, Macallan Amber and Macallan 12 year old. A new distillery is under construction to provide increased capacity to cater for rising demand.

Macallan Distillery, Speyside, Scotland

Macallan 12 year old, single malt

Next, we drove to the picturesque distillery of Strathisla, part of the Pernod Ricard Group. Here we joined a standard tour which took about 1 hour and included four tastings. The tour included the malting, milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation processes. Interestingly, Strathisla has a malt targeted at the Japanese market and uses Japanese oak for some of the maturations. The distillery has capacity of 2.4m litres p.a.Flagship product is the 12 year old single malt.

Whisky stills at Strathisla Distillery, Speyside

Strathisla malts and Chivas blends for tasting

Maturing whisky casks at Strathisla Distillery

Strathisla Bonded Warehouse, Speyside

Next, we drove for about 1 hour to Forres where we visited the small distillery of Benromach. Here, the distillery was undergoing repairs and maintenance and hence guests availed of a tasting of a selection of single malts.Benromach is owned by Gordon and MacPhail and has capacity of 500,000 litres p.a. Flagship product is the 10 year old single malt.

Benromach Single Malt, Speyside

Next, we drove to the Craigellachie Hotel where we visited the famous whisky bar which is home to some 730 single malts. Here guests availed of selected tastings before we returned to our lodgings at Dufftown.

Tour guest at Craigellachie Whisky Bar, Speyside

Craigellachie Whisky Bar, Speyside

In the evening we returned to Craigellachie Hotel for a meal.

Tomorrow, we drive south to visit Edradour and Aberfeldy distilleries.

Tour group at Aberlour Distillery, Speyside, Scotland

This morning we departed our lodgings in Inverness and drove S.W. for 75 minutes to our first destination of Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown. The route took us along highways and narrow country lanes with latter close to the River Spey. Many pheasants were in evidence in the Speyside region.

Dufftown, Scotland

Dufftown is a regional whisky ‘capital’ being home to six working distilleries which comprise Kinlinvie, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Glendullan, Mortlach and Dufftown.

Dufftown Clock Tower, Scotland

On arrival at Balvenie guests joined the 10.00 am tour which lasted three hours and included the maltings floor, cooperage, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation culminating in sampling of six malts.

Balvenie Single Malts

Balvenie is  a sister distillery of Glenfiddich and produces about 6.8m litres p.a.Key product is the Balvenie Doublewood 12 year old single malt.

Photo session at Balvenie Distillery

Balvenie Distillery, Speyside

Next, we drove to nearby Charlestown of Aberlour where we joined the 2.00pm tour. This tour lasted two hours and covered the same processes as Balvenie with exception of maltings floor (no on site malting) and cooperage (no facility on site). The tour culminated in tastings of new make spirit and five single malts including the popular a’bunadh which is bottled at cask strength.

Spirit and Mash stills at Aberlour Distillery, Speyside

Aberlour Distillery, Speyside, Scotland

Tasting at Aberlour Distillery, Speyside

a’bunadh Single Malt

At conclusion of today’s distillery tours we checked into our lodgings in Dufftown.

Tomorrow, we visit Macallan and Strathisla distilleries.

Whisky Bar at Auchentoshan Distillery, Glasgow

This morning, we departed our lodgings near Luss and drove to Glasgow to join the 10.00 am tour at Auchentoshan Distillery. Auchentoshan is unusual (in Scotland) in that the spirit is triple distilled.Production is close to capacity at nearly 2.0m litres p.a. Our guide was very knowledgeable and escorted us through the entire process from malting and mashing through fermentation, distillation and maturation culminating in a tasting at the well stocked bar.

Sinlge Malts at Auchentoshan Distillery, Glasgow

Triple distillaton at Auchentoshan Distillery, Glasgow

Washbacks at Auchentoshan Distillery, Glasgow

Mash Tun at Auchentoshan Distillery, Glasgow

Auchentoshan Distillery, Glasgow

Tour at Auchentoshan Distillery, Glasgow

Next, we drove back to Loch Lomond and then embarked on a tour north, across Rannoch Moor to our first stop (other than photo stops) at Glencoe Visitor Centre where we availed of lunch

Loch Tulla, Scottish Highlands

Glencoe, Scottish highlands

Glencoe, Scottish Highlands

Next, we continued north, through Fort William and then up the Great Glen passing lochs Lochy and Oich to Fort Augustus where we stopped for photos on the southern tip of Loch Ness.

Loch Ness from Fort Augustus, Scotland

Following a brief stop at Fort Augustus, we continued north along the bank of Loch Ness to Castle Urquhart which has a long history stretching back to the 12th century. We climbed the Grant Tower to avail of excellent views of Loch Ness in good visibility.

Loch Ness from Grant Tower, Castle Urquhart

Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness, Scotland

Next, we drove through Inverness to our penultimate destination of Clava Cairns, a prehistoric, high status burial site dating back about 4000 years.

Clava Cairns, Culloden, Scotland

Clava Cairns, Culloden, Scotland

Finally, we returned to Inverness and checked into our lodgings for the night.

Tomorrow our destination is Dufftown on Speyside.