Feel free to drop a PM or post any advice you might have. I'd love to do a whisky making class but don't know if there'll be an opportunity. Hopefully I've started planning far enough in advance... and yes Laggy is definitely on my "must go to list"
(*When I say invade in force, there will be four of us)
Thanks in advance,
I always enjoy a visit to Deanston, Balblair, Clynelish and the Islay distilleries. Bladnoch as well is pretty unique and Glen Grant a great visit.
the list of 25 is now up to 40 Need to cut it down, dammit!
Port Ellen maltings
Glen Albyn parking lot
Now this is my dream list, I'm already winnowing it down to places that will be open for tours and that have something more than just a stop and shop. Granted there are a number which you can't visit, but I can at least blow by, take a snap and say I was there.
(I also dreamt about being on a canal boat drinking Balblair last night! Weird!)
Aberlour ( cask from the past)
GlenMoray (5th Chapter tour)
Glenfarclas (5 decades tour)
Glenfiddich (Pioneers tour)
Blair Atholl (I hear it's just great to tour, a friend just got back and loved it)
Edradour (You just gotta tour Edradour)
Dalwhinnie ( Am a friend of Classic Malts - might be of use here Dalwhinnie & chocolate- mmm)
Glen Goyne ( Maybe the 5 hour tour....)
Glenmorangie (Another must tour)
Glen Rothes (Only open during Speyside festival-may be ad rive past)
Royal Lochnagar (Royal Tour)
Oban (I like the sound of the Exclusive Distillery tour)
Old Pulteney (Managers Tour sounds very enjoyable)
Tullibardine Connoisseur Tour for Musky)
Highland Park (Magnus Eunson tour looks great)
Jura ( Anyone know anything about the Private Managers Tour? I like the fast ferry ride from Islay)
Talisker ( Probably the Talisker Tasting tour)
Ardbeg ( Bog walk appeals to Musky)
Bowmore (Master Distillers Tour looks worth the price)
Bunnahbhain ( Managers Tour )
Caol Ila (Chocolate and Malts)
Laphroaig (Visit square foot; Water to Whisky tour)
Lagavulin (Is the Malting to Maturation worth the tour? Any idea what the fee is?)
Springbank ( Frank McHardy tour looks worth the price)
So, 29 on the list now, subject to negotiation wit the other attendees. If you have any constructive comments or opinions, they would be welcome.
Port Ellen maltings are only open during Feis Isle as far as I can determine.
St Maggie, is gone and would only be a photo stop, like Glen Albyn of bare ground/pavement.
Bladnoch is under a liquidator and unless I won a lottery and bought it, there are no tours.
Bed and Breakfasts appear to run in the £45-60 range per night for 4 and 5 star locales. Up to $110.00 per night which is roughly $2000.00 for lodging for 21 days.
Tours of distilleries run anywhere from £6-35 depending on how fancy a tour and tasting you desire. So say about £400 for tours of 20 distilleries would be $750.00
Car rental from Edinburgh airport would run from £ 553.69 GBP / week for a Large 4x4 to £ 573.58 GBP / week for a full sized MPV van. £ 1,475.40 GBP Total $2737.00 plus gasoline. ($7-800.00 each)
So the basic trip is about $3500.00 each not including roundtrip airfare (which at present is $2400.00 + taxes) I found that we spent about $50-100 between Mrs Musky and I per day of travelling so another $700.00 – 1000.00 for expenses (meals, gratuities, beverages)
$6000.00-7000.00 Canadian is what I roughly estimate for a three week trip, subject to increase of a few more percent, which is to be expected. That's generally what it costs for any decent vacation in Europe from Canada, so it's not out of line.
Of course if I stayed home it would be a pretty good sum to use to procure some fine whiskies and never leave the Lake.
Naw, Scotland it is.
But I digress.
Once I have the information distilled down to a palatable form, we're going to gather and discuss dates and timings between the 4 of us. One of my concepts is to select the main distilleries we want to all see and then discuss the others, with the pertinent dram in hand. I'm pretty sure that the Whisky Lair can provide whatever is required.
It's looking like a May - June visit for about three weeks with the hopes of hitting Feis Isle which I suspect will run from May 22-30, 2015 if past festivals are any indication. The Spirit of Speyside may be a bit early, falling on the May long weekend being May 1-4, 2015. Early June I really want to get to Laphroaig to celebrate a significant birthday with a dram on a wee bit of land, so early May might not be in the cards.
Of course, the longer we hang around, the more distilleries that can be invaded. Interesting thought.
To fill out my information, I had to resort to a substantially internet based research to glean information that was missing in the WM articles. In any case, I have my basic information to present today to the group for our planning meeting.
Will there be whisky involved? In due time.
Ganga wrote:Why would anyone want to visit the distilleries.....
Will keep you apprised of my plans for 2015.
Why wouldn't one wish to visit a distillery or 30. We've spoken with our travel agent who is pursuing some possible tours to consider. We'll most likely self-drive and so have started to look at B&Bs and cottages to book once the 2015 booking season starts.
We're frankly too early to do anything really, as flight schedules are always subject to change this far in advance, but we do know when we can travel and where we want to go. Of course as soon as we pass close to a distillery that's not on the primary list... well you how it is with shiny new things dangling in front of us - all the plans go out the window and in we'll go!
It looks like we'll be over around the end of Feis Isle, but will be in Speyside while everyone else is distracted. The Orkneys then figure high on the scheduled list followed by Islay and some other Islands finally ending with Campbeltown.
Sorry to be so vague but until we know travel specifics we can only make tentative plans at best.
As I can't get the tables to print, here's the short form:
Day 1 Edinburgh Bus tour and maybe wander the Royal Mile then to bed.
Day 2 Edinburgh Rosslyn Chapel, Glenkinchie, walkabout and some drinks in a local.
Day 3 Speyside tour Edradour; Balir Atholl; Tullibardine stopping to visit Pitlochry then north to our B&B.
Day 4 Speyside ;Aberlour; Glenfarclas; two more of the group take the train up to Inverness and are brought to the B&B.
Day 5 Speyside; Royal Lochnagar; The Macallan; Balvenie; Speyside Cooperage
Day 6 Speyside Tours of Spey valley with possible stops at Clan Fraser Castle, Brodie Castle and maybe a distillery or two more; Pityvaich; Ardmore; Craigellachie
Day 7 Islands; Enroute to Kirkwall with a stop at Culloden; Tain and Glenmorangie, on to Wick and Old Pulteney and then to Stromness to catch theferry at 1645 hrs.
Day 8 Islands; Kirkwall tour Highland Park
Day 9 Islands; tour Orkney and visit Maes Howe; Ring of Brodegar; Standiung stones of Stennes; Skara Brae and maybe a glimpse of the Old Man of Hoy.
Sure won't try climbing him!
Day 10 Highlands; Back across by Ferry to Stromness, hang a right and drive the NW coast to Ullapool, just enjoying the ocean views and rugged scenery. It would be great on a Triumph motorcycle - but not this trip.
Day 11 Islands: Over to Skye with a tour of Talisker the Blackhouse museum and the northern tip of the island then back to the B&B in Portree.
Day 12 Drive down to Oban via Ft William, ferry to Mull to visit Ledaig then back to Oban for Oban distillery. Dinner on the harbour and a stroll to enjoy the view.
Day 13 To Islay; Down A83 to Kennecraig to catch the Ferry to Port Ellen. drop our gear at the Cottage and tour Bowmore and Bruichladdich and a peak at Kilchoman.
Day 14 Islay; Lagavulin; Bunnahahain; Caol Ila and a short ferry hop to Jura then back after the tour.
Day 15 Islay; Planned to celebrate my birthday at Laphroaig on my square foot in wellies. Then on to Ardbeg and a drive past Port Ellen maltings to pay our respects.
Day 16 On to Campbeltown, catching the ferry to Kennecraig, then a drive down Kintyre to the hotel and on to tour Springbank Distillery; hopefully the Frank McHardy tour.
Day 17 Lowlands; we leave for Glasgow and hopefully stay at the Pipers Tryst Hotel. Auchentoshan and Glengoyne are on the list and the Auchentoshan "Behind closed doors" tour quite appeals to me.
Day 18 Lowlands and our last day in Scotland, hopefully flying out either Day 18 or 19 to Canada.
At some point I also plan to go to Uddingston, near Glasgow, either before the tour starts or after to visit with some chums for a spectacular tasting that's been promised. Also... it's a self drive tour.
And that's the tour I've planned , we'll have to see what the travel agent can provide.
I've PM'd you, but if Inverness is a good jumping off point for SPeyside, I'd be interested in hearing from you.
Put a guard on your whisky stocks, Musky is invading in 9 months!
A couple points which you might find useful:
- The smaller distilleries have much better "Free" or "standard" tours than the big names. Kilchomann let us look inside the stills since they were being drained, taste the wash, and take photos of everything. We even talked to the stillman for 10 minutes and asked more in-depth questions. As you noted, the tour at Edradour is a classic. It's designed for big groups, but they do a good job. Bruickladdish is also an excellent standard tour, and their distilling setup is a bit nonstandard which is interesting to see. (using really classic machinery to make some really modern spirits... octomore, etc...)
- The premium tours are certainly "worth it". (I wish we figured that out earlier in our trip.)
1) We did the "Exculsive tour" at oban which was about 25£ with our discovering-distilleries passport. The group is small, they took more time for questions and the tastings were nice.
2) Laphroaig offers a "premium tasting" for 25£ where we got to taste some excellent hard to find expressions. I didn't do a tour, which was fine since after awhile the distilling process gets memorized, and you get to the point where you can give a better tour than the college student working a summer job giving whisky tours.
3) Lagavulin offers a £15 "pre dinner tasting" which also included great expressions, but they are paired with food.
For more info on our trip and my takeaways about the overall scotch whiskymaking process, take a look at this article on my blog that I just wrote... It has lots of photos from many of the distilleries you are hoping to visit.
enjoy your trip, and I hope this helps!
Thank you very much for the info. When I have a bigger screen to look at I'll admire your pictures. Glad to hear you had a great trip. We had decided to book the higher end tours as well simply because it's a once in a lifetime trip for some of the group and it makes sense to do the better tours. Smaller more intimate groups and nicer selection of drams etc.
I am considering extending my stay another couple of days!
It will be a very interesting time, I suspect!
Now comes my issue with attending - I will be in Aberlour that day and wondered if anyone knows a simple way to get to Edinburgh from Aberlour?
Muskrat Portage wrote:60 days to go and I'm planning on going to the Stramash in Edinburgh on Sunday May 24 at 1:00 pm. If you are going I will see you there, hopefully. I'll be the big guy in the Canada shirt.
Now comes my issue with attending - I will be in Aberlour that day and wondered if anyone knows a simple way to get to Edinburgh from Aberlour?
sorry I forgot to add:
"...that doesn't require one of us driving there or back."
Already have prepped a Whisky costing indices comparing LCBO prices to Jeffrey St Edinburgh; Whisky Shop Glasgow/Pitlochry; Good Spirits Glasgow; Royal Mile Edinburgh; Green Wellie Tyndrum; Scotch Whisky Experience and Robertsons Pitlochry.
Based on general stocks, not including specials, Royal Mile seems to consistently have the best prices.
21 sleeps to go fellow whisky lovers. Boots on the ground May 19, Edinburgh Stramash 1 pm Sunday May 24 , so lots of time to play in Edinburgh and environs.
Royal Lochnagar and Edradour May 25;
Aberlour and Macallan May 26;
Glenmorangie; Clynelish May 27 enroute to Northlink Ferry to Orkney;
Orkney May 27-29 to see some spectacular iron age and stone age habitations and hopefully with Highland Park Magnus Euson tour in the mix; (still waiting for confirmation of tour date).
On to Ullapool via Northwest coast A838/A835 May 30; Portree Skye May 31, maybe a sniff at Talisker on Monday morning but have a ferry to catch in Kennecraig;
Islay June 1-4 with Laphroaig Water to Whisky tour on June 3 and anything else goes in between; Bowmore; Bunnahabhain; Lagavulin; Caol Ila; Kilchoman; Jura are all fair or fare game.
Campbeltown June 5 with a tour of Springbank/Glengyle if the Frank McHardy tour is available - (again still waiting to hear) with June 6 in Glasgow and flight home on the 7th.
Including flights in and back it'll be 21 days of Scotland, with a Bank Holi thrown into the middle on May 25.
Accordingly, per Sun Tzu in the Art of War, you have been made aware... And I'm really looking forward to any opportunity to be left alone in a dunnage warehouse with a whisky thief for five minutes.
21 sleeps but I really doubt that the last sleep will really be much or a rest.
Royal Lochnager, Edradour, Aberlour, Macallan, Scapa, Highland Park, Laphroaig, Springbank and waiting to hear from Kilchoman before booking with Bowmore.
Glenfarclas , Glenmorangie and Clynelish are on the drive up and stop in list so far. I don't want to be racing for tours as this is a vacation with some Distllery visits added in.
If anyone thinks there's an important and not to be missed tour that I've overlooked, feel free to recommend.
Looking very much forward to seeing a large operation.
Wednesday we did a bus tour of Edinburgh and boat tour of Firth of Forth. Back to the Royal Mile to visit the Whisky Experience, and check the tours available. Down to The jolly Judge pub for a pint of Mcewans. Followed by a chewy Orkney pint - the Sneaky wee Orkney Stout. Also sampled the latest Kilchoman -wonderful dram.
Thursday we went to the Whisky Experience for the Gold tour , which I really enjoyed. Finished off at the bar with the four included 4 drams and then bought a 40 year old Glenfarclas only £22.50 - absolutely exquisite dram. Then down to the showroom where I purchased a signed copy of David Wisharts' Whisky Classified latest edition. Really pleased with that! Then a tour of the castle and another bus tour, getting off by the hotel.
Tomorrow I may go tour a nearby distillery and Roslyn chapel. More on that tomorrow.
The invasion was a success. War brides brought home and duty paid in full to Her Majesty.
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