There are few things more enjoyable when visiting Scotland than taking one of its many whisky tours, here are some of the best.

If you’re planning a trip to Scotland and want to learn more about the country’s national drink then our selection of great whisky tours might help.

Campbeltown

The tour: The Premier Tour at Springbank 

(Price: £75 per person)

Picture: Geograph.org

Picture: Geograph.org

A trip to Campbeltown should be high on any whisky geek’s list as the former ‘whisky capital of the world’ is filled to the brim with the history of Scotland’s national drink.

Springbank, the region’s most prominent (and only until recently last surviving, there’s now two more) distillery offers some truly astounding tours, giving people a glimpse at a production site that’s stood unchanged for generations, making whisky the way it always has.

The Premier Tour gives you a guided walk through the area before discovering the whisky making process from start to finish at their Springbank and Glengyle (makers of the Kilkerran single malt) distilleries.

Best of all you’ll get to enjoy some whiskies which will be hand drawn from the cask for you by a member of their senior production team in the tasting room (with lunch) and you’ll receive a complimentary Springbank Glencairn glass and visitors miniature from each distillery to enjoy when you get home.

For the price it really is spectacular value.

It’s pretty popular so make sure you book in advance (sadly it’s only available for a minimum party of 4, so be sure to bring some friends).

Points of interest: Apart from the two distilleries featured in the tour, it’s also well worth checking out the nearby Glen Scotia Distillery (12 High St, PA28 6DS) for their distillery tour  followed by a long walk to Davaar Island and the incredible cave painting of the Crucifixion there.

Where to stay: The Ardshiel Hotel (Kilkerran Road, PA28 6JL) is the only way to compliment a trip to this hallowed whisky country, listed as one of our favourite whisky hotels The hotel’s Usquebaugh Bar and Lounge, which offers a superb choice of over 200 malt whiskies including a fine selection of Springbank, Cadenhead, and Islay malts, is the place to go for whisky lovers. Prices from: £35 per person per night

Speyside

The tour: The Malt Whisky Trail

Picture: Wikimedia

Picture: Wikimedia

Widely considered to be the most important whisky region due to the fact that over half of all of Scotland’s whisky distilleries are based there, the Malt Whisky Trail allows you to take in no less than 7 of them and the famous Speyside cooperage.

Though you can tailor it to suit your needs, Visit Scotland recommend at least three days to do the full tour and in our mind it’s well worth it.

You’ll visit The Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glen Moray, Glen Grant, Cardhu, Benromach, Strathisla and the Dallas Dhu historic distilleries.

Points of interest: It’s Speyside so there’s so much to do, visit the famous whisky shop in Dufftown (1 Fife St, Dufftown, Keith AB55 4AL), take in the stunning views, visit the River Spey and check out any number of the other distilleries not on the tour (we recommend Ballindalloch distillery and the nearby family castle).

Where to stay: For whisky fans there’s one place to stay that’s a must and that’s the famous Craigellachie Hotel (Victoria St, Speyside AB38 9SR), home of the Copper Dog, The newly refurbished Quaich Bar and an amazing collection of malts (there are over 700).

It’s definitely not the only great whisky hotel in the area and those looking for something different would be well advised to check out the Station Hotel in Rothes and the Highlander Inn (also in Craigellachie).

The Highlands

The tour: The Stillman Experience at Glenturret Distillery

Picture: Glenturret

Picture: Glenturret

At the pricier end of the scale, the Stillman Tour is worth the £250 admission if only for the fact that you actually get to have a glimpse behind the curtain and see what really happens when whisky is made.

You spend the morning shadowing the distillery’s head stillman, witnessing all aspects of the production process from milling the grains to laying the casks down to sleep.

Following a quick lunch you will learn the art of blending including the creation of your very own blend to take home.

You will also receive a personalised bottle of Glenturret single malt.

Price: £250 per person (book in advance)

Points of interest: Get yourself across to one of the country’s smallest distilleries (Strathearn at Bachilton Farm Steading, Methven PH1 3QX) and learn about their newly laid down whisky or try their excellent range of gins. If you’re hungry there can be few better places to eat than the nearby Wilde Thyme restaurant.

Where to stay: The Crieff Hydro (Strathearn House, Ferntower Rd, Crieff PH7 3LQ) is one of Scotland’s leading leisure resorts and the perfect place to unwind after a hard day’s work at the distillery.

Islay

The tour: Lagavulin’s Warehouse Demo 

Picture: Wikimedia

Picture: Wikimedia

The warehouse experience at Lagavulin is now somewhat legendary and the perfect place to learn about how maturation affects whisky and also to try some truly unique drams.

Starting off with a younger Lagavulin and working through samples drawn, in front of you, from their duty paid casks, Lagavulin Legend, Iain MacArthur, is your host and his knowledge truly is boundless.

The tour includes a complimentary glass and a voucher for £5 off a bottle purchase in the shop.

Price: £23 per person

Points of interest: It’s Islay, which means you have seven other distilleries to visit. We recommend the tour at Kilchoman Distillery (Islay’s newest) for the chance to see how a farm distillery works – and to enjoy more great whiskies.

Where to stay: The Ballygrant Inn, (Ballygrant, PA45 7QR) is one of the best places to stay on the island for any whisky fan, this family run inn has comfy, stylish rooms but it’s the whisky bar with over 400 whiskies from Islay, Scotland and around the world and the staff that run it, that are the true stars.

The Lowlands

The tour: Auchentoshan’s Ultimate tour 

Picture: Lady of the Glen

Picture: Lady of the Glen

Auchentoshan distillery is one of the most popular lowland distilleries, lying close to Glasgow, the ease of access and variety of tours make it a great place to visit.

We recommend the Ultimate Tour which includes a regular tour of the distillery, a master class in the creation of three of their core range malts. and one dram straight from the cask.

You also get to sample two of Auchentoshan’s archive whiskies in our Blender’s Room.

If that’s not enough for an extra £80, you’ll be able tom create your own bottle, filling it straight from one of the distillery’s casks in the warehouse.

Price: £55 per person

Points of interest: The Potstill bar (154 Hope Street Glasgow), lies close to both Central and Queen Street Station and gives you access to over 600 whiskies and dedicated staff to help you choose from the gantry. If that’s not enough the Bon Accord (on the city’s North Street) has a further 400 or so malt whiskies on their gantry and some great Scottish real ales to compliment them.

Where to stay: Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel (99 Gordon St, Glasgow G1 3SF) is situated close to the city’s two major train links and is one of the most stylish hotels in the city.

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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