Just outside of Aberdeen, Scotland you can find several whiskey tours in the area of Speyside.
Please welcome my husband, EJ as he shares about his recent trip to Aberdeen, Scotland and the fabulous whiskey tours he went on.
While on a recent business trip I found myself in Aberdeen, Scotland over a weekend and decided to take a Sunday drive to tour some whiskey distilleries. Over the years I have become of fan of Speyside single malt whiskeys and have enjoyed whiskeys from distilleries including Glenlivet, Glenfarclas, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and Macallan to name a few. I decided to head to the town of Dufftown in the Speyside region as my starting point to visit the area.
Dufftown is just over an hour drive from Aberdeen and the time went quickly as I enjoyed the beautiful drive across Scotland’s Highlands. Unfortunately most of the distilleries were closed on Sunday but Glenfiddich Distillery was open so I made it my first stop.
It was lunchtime and wanted to grab something to eat before I started my tour. Dufftown had a few attractive lunch options but decided to try out the Malt Barn restaurant at the Glenfiddich distillery for lunch. The menu was perfect with sandwiches and soups made from locally sourced ingredients. I had a roast beef sandwich with broccoli and blue cheese soup. It hit the spot on a cool rain summer day.
There are several tour options available ranging including the 90-minute Explorer Tour, the 2-1/2 hour Glenfiddich Solera: Deconstructed Tour (where you get to blend cask samples) and the 4 hour Pioneer Tour where you get an in-depth whiskey making experience. Since it was early afternoon and wanted the opportunity to visit another distillery I decided to take the Explorer Tour. The tour started with a short film covering the history of the distillery started by William Grant in 1887. The tour was very informative and engaging as we walked through the process from receiving the malted barley to the finished product. The tour ended with a tasting of 4 of their whiskeys. Unfortunately I was driving so I had to rely on the smell and a small sip to get the essence of the different whiskeys. I came away intrigued with the Glenfiddich 15 year old Solera so I purchased a small bottle at the distillery shop to enjoy later.
Since it was Sunday most of the distilleries were closed. While on the tour a good friend of mine recommend I visit Strathisla Distillery, the oldest operating distillery in the Highlands producing whiskies since 1786. I had never heard of Strathisla Distillery but discovered that the vast majority of its whiskey is used to make Chivas Regal blended whiskey with a small percentage held back for their single malt whiskeys. I decided to take the tour to get another perspective of the whiskey making process.
There is just one tour option and it took 30 minutes to walk through the distillery. I found that the Glenfiddich tour was more informative and provided more in-depth information on the whiskey making process. With that said I am glad I took the Strathisla Distillery tour since you were able to see more of the distillery and its beautiful old buildings and gardens.
The tour ended with a tasting of their Strathisla 12 year old single malt, 12 year old Grain whiskey (not sold but used for blending), 12 year old Chivas Regal and an 18 year old Chivas Regal. Again, I was only able to enjoy the wonderful aromas and just a sip of each. Interestingly, I liked to 12 year old Grain whiskey as was the case with some of the other members of the tour.
If you find yourself in Scotland with an afternoon free, definitely take the time to enjoy the beautiful countryside and tour some local whiskey distilleries. You will enjoy and unique and wonderful experience. Better yet, bring along a designated driver so you can enjoy the whiskeys where they are made.
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