With more and more people looking to visit a whisky distillery these days I thought I would just have a quick look into what you can expect and why it is worth your time and money to go.
Now my experience is limited to distilleries in Scotland but this will apply to any distillery that you want to visit. Most distilleries these days either offer a visitor centre and shop / coffee shop and a basic tour. The days of ” behind closed doors ” is more or less a forgotten thing in the industry, with most distilleries now welcoming visitors with open arms, a friendly smile, cups of coffee and of course a complementary dram or two !! So why should you decide to go ? Well, what better way is there to see your favourite tipple being made ! A lot of distilleries offer a basic tour which will explain all the whisky making process,and these are quite detailed, a small charge is generally put forward, maybe £5-£12 per person and this includes the tour and at least one dram at the end, and of course friendly staff that will try to answer most your questions.. Then of course there are those distilleries that offer you a little more! Some places offer a wide range of tours that are tailored to the whisky fans needs, they range from slightly more information and longer tours to specific areas like warehouse tours and even blending your own whisky, this of course will cost you more but they can be extremely rewarding! And of course there is usually a few more drams and even the chance to sample straight from the cask, these type of tours can range from £15-100 and more so it’s worth ringing through to check, don’t just turn up and expect to walk onto the more detailed tours.. Some distilleries don’t actually have advertised tours but might accommodate you if you get in touch prior to your visit, so it’s always worth the phone call.
Once you have finished the tour and sampled the whisky, this is not the end of things.. O no ! You can of course generally buy some whisky, most of the whisky produced at the distillery is available as long as there is a shop, some distilleries even offer you the chance to bottle your own, directly from the cask, this is a great experience and there are different ways this is done, from the very simple to using a Valinch or dog to extract the liquid ( this is the most fun ) . Once you have your bottle or bottles and you leave this still is not the end.. You will of course have your memories of the day that will come flooding back every time you have a dram from there. You will also hopefully have a few photos, you will tell your friends, you will chat about it and the smells and noises will stay with you for years !!
So is it worth visiting a distillery ? You bet it is ! Just think you could be watching your favourite tipple getting made, or they could be about to fill a barrel that might contain liquid you will one day drink.. And one last thing, most distilleries have very beautiful surroundings and especially in Scotland the surrounding areas have some stunning scenery and great places to visit to soothe the other half !! There is one thing to remember though.. When you do visit the distillery, please have a dedicated driver.. The friendly staff at some places don’t have steady hands and you should not drink and drive !!
Some photos from the distilleries I have visited.. Great memories and new friends.. And of course lots of whisky.