Few things are guaranteed to get a whisky fan more  giddy than a trip to a distillery. In Scotland we are spoiled for options when it comes to these wonderful locations- there are more than 50 in the Speyside region alone – and most are readily accessible from our major cities.

Here are our pick of seven of the best distillery tours in Scotland:

Auchentoshan, lowlands

(Dalmuir, Clydebank, G81 4SJ, 01389 878561)

 Distillery tours

Auchentoshan Distillery. Picture: TSPL

The closest distillery to Glasgow and readily accessible by train from the city’s Central station, Auchentoshan is a great little distillery to visit and produces some of the country’s lightest whiskies.

On the tour, you’ll get to take in the whole process of making their whisky, including a look at that fascinating triple distillation process. You’ll also be given the chance to sample three of Auchentoshan’s own range as well as one from one of their stablemates – Bowmore or Glen Garioch.

Tours

Classic tour – 60 min tour with one whisky sample – price: £10 per person.

Auchentoshan experience* – 90 min tour with 4 Auchentoshan whiskies – price:£35 per person

Plus, when you’ve decided on a favourite you can purchase a 70cl bottle and they’ll personalise it with a name, an occasion or in any other way you desire.

Ultimate Auchentoshan experience – 135 min tour with a master class in 3 of the core range whiskies, as well as a sample of 2 of the archive whiskies and a chance to sample whisky straight from the cask – price: £55 per person

*For an additional £80, you can fill your own bottle direct from the cask.

Edradour, Highlands

(Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5JP, 01796 472095)

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Edradour distillery. Picture: Wikimedia

Renowned as the smallest and most picturesque distillery in Scotland, Edradour is also one of the most visited, and for good reason.

Situated roughly two hours away from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, you’ll be given the chance to tour this beautiful little distillery seeing the processes that haven’t changed since Victorian times before being given a few drams in the distillery’s old Malt Barn.

Also make sure and take advantage of the distillery shop to get access some of the limited amounts of  excellent bottlings.

Tours

Classic tour – 60 mins plus two drams of Edradour in the old Malt Barn. Price: Adults – £7.50, Children – (12-17 years): £2.50.

READ MORE: 6 of Scotland’s best gin distillery tours

Springbank, Campbeltown

(85 Longrow, Campbeltown, PA28 6EX, 01586 552085)

Picture: audrey_sel\Flickr

Not the easiest distillery to get to but as they always say the best things are worth working hard for. One of the most traditional distilleries in Scotland, a trip to Springbank will give you the chance to take in not one but two distilleries.

On the tour you’ll bear witness to 100 per cent of the whisky making process (including floor maltings) – one of the only distilleries to offer this – as well as a dram of the distillery’s excellent (and unique malt). If you haven’t heard of – or tasted – Springbank before, you’re in for a treat.

Tours

Springbank & Glengyle Tour – Tour of both distilleries with a dram of both Springbank 10 year old and Kilkerran whisky as well as a complimentary miniature to take home. Price: £10 per person.

Cadenhead Warehouse Tasting – A sample a selection of the finest Cadenhead whiskies hand drawn from the cask. Price: £25 per person

Premier Tour – A walking tour of Campbeltown, a visit to three distilleries, a sample of whisky drawn from the cask and lunch. Price: £75 per person

Frank McHardy Tour – Four hours with whisky industry legend Frank McHardy, tour of both Glengyle and Springbank, and a selection of Frank’s favourite whiskies from each distillery. Price: £100 per person

Arran distillery, Isle of Arran

(Lochranza. Isle of Arran KA27 8HJ, 01770 830 264)

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From the classic to the modern; Arran distillery’s visitor centre is brand new and was opened in 1997.

Situated on the beautiful Isle of Arran – lovingly referred to as ‘Scotland in miniature’ – Arran distillery has one of the most picturesque surroundings of our selections. If you are lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the pair of golden eagles who nest in the near by hills.

Easily accessible by train and ferry from Glasgow, the distillery offers an excellent day trip and is well worth a visit.

Tours

Distillery Tour – 45 min includes the tour, a welcome dram of 14 year-old and a taste of the Arran Gold Cream Liqueur. Price: £8 per person (children go free)

Drop Inn Tour – The mini tour takes 20 mins and includes the tour with a wee dram. Price: £4

Tutored Tasting – Those who are only interested in the whisky can enjoy a tutored tasting of four Arran whiskies. Price: £15.50 per person

• READ MORE: 15 of the funniest whisky memes that are sure to raise a smile

Benromach, Speyside

(Invererne Rd, Forres, Morayshire, IV36 3EB, 01309 675968)

Picture: Billy Abbott\Flickr

Benromach is a distillery that everyone should have heard of and if they haven’t already then they probably soon will. Recently taken over by Gordon and MacPhail, Benromach continues to win awards for its excellent core range of malts. 

Situated in Forres and drawing its water from the foot of the Romach hills, the distillery is the smallest in Speyside and isn’t too far from Elgin.

Tours

The Classic Tour – A 30 min guided tour followed by a tasting of our award-winning Benromach 10 Years Old. Price: £6 per person

The Contrast Tour – An in-depth tour followed by a tutored tasting of four drams from Benromach’s whisky collection. Price: £15 per person

Personal Distillery Manager’s Experience & Bottle – A guided tour with Anecdotes and insights from Distillery manager Keith Cruickshank, followed by an attempt to recreate the 10 Year Old using hand-drawn cask samples. Finally, you’ll be given and Exclusive Distillery bottling to take home. Price: £125.00 per person

Ardbeg, Islay

(Port Ellen, Isle of Islay PA42 7EA, 01496 302244)

Picture: Youtube

Ask anyone to name you an Islay whisky and the chances are Ardbeg will be within the top three mentioned, in fact ask anyone to name you a peaty whisky and you’ll more than likely find Ardbeg there too.

Islay is a wonderful place to visit and more of a pilgrimage than a trip, the unofficial spiritual home of whisky, Islay truly is beautiful.

Ardbeg, along with fellow Islay distilleries Laphroig and Lagavulin, is one of Scotland’s peatiest malts, with a ppm (Phenol parts per million) of around 55. However, it’s lighter spirit and distillation style means that Ardbeg has subtler, fruitier tones when compared to its bigger, smokier Kidalton cousins.

Tours

Ardbeg tour and tasting – 1 hour tour of the distillery and a taste of the distillery’s wonderful whisky. Price: £6 per person

Ardbeg Full range tour – A comprehensive tour of the Distillery followed by a tasting of all three expressions from their main range plus two of their limited editions. Price: £20 per person

The Ardbig Tour – An exceptional distillery tour including a tasting of some unusual samples and old favourites in Warehouse Three. Price:  £40 per person

The Ardbog Bog Off Walk – Take a hike up and over the hills with story teller. Includes a picnic lunch, some great wee drams and a short tour of the Distillery. Price: £50 (adequate foot wear required).

Laphroaig, Islay

(Port Ellen, Isle of Islay, PA42 7DU, 01496 302418)

Picture: Ayack\Wikimedia

Take a trip to one of the most famous distilleries around, Laphroaig, on the beautiful island of Islay.

Celebrating its 200th birthday, the distillery produces one of the best known spirits in the world. Laphroaig is peaty to the extreme (coming in at around 55 ppm).

Situated close to both Ardbeg and Lagavulin, there’s a great opportunity to visit all three.

Tours

Experience tour –  1 hour tour with a taste of 3 favourite Laphroaig expressions. Price: £10 per person

Distiller’s wares – Enjoy a tour of the distillery from the malting through to maturation stages. Also included is a sample straight from a selection of casks a chance to use a valinch to bottle your favourite to take home and enjoy. Price: £70 per person (Includes a glass and a 250ml bottle of selected cask).

Water to whisky experience – This experience includes a distillery tour, a picnic lunch, peat cutting, a visit to the Laphroaig water source and a taste from a selection of casks before using a valinch to bottle your favourite. Price: £85 per person

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-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 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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