Top 5 Whisky related experiences in Scotland

We’re back with another top 5 list (following up our top 5 campsites in Scotland post), this time collating our top 5 (scotch) whisky related experiences in the bonnie country of Scotland. Again, we have a narrow exposure to the broad spectrum of Scottish distilleries so this is a very personal list. We hope this is useful to our readers.

We are of the strong opinion that once you have done a basic distillery tour (at your favourite distillery), you’ve done them all as they’re really similar in the knowledge they impart & the processes they show. The only thing different is the dram to taste. So try to limit yourself to 1-2 tours and focus on speciality tours or tastings to experience the best of Scotland’s distilleries.

  1. Ardbeg full range tour & tasting (£20)
  2. Edradour basic tour + tasting room (£7.50)
  3. Glenlivet free distillery tour (Free)
  4. Tasting the world’s most peated whisky at Briuchladdich (Free)
  5. Isle of Arran tour + whisky icecream (£8)
  6. Bonus: Staying in an erstwhile excise house on Lagavulin

1. Ardbeg Full Range Tour & Tasting (Islay)

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Hands down the best tour we’ve experienced in the whole of Scotland. It starts off with the basic tour but at Ardbeg, they do things a bit uniquely. This is the only distillery where they let you taste the barley wine stage of the whisky and my group gobbled it up (it is like a strong sour beer in case you’re wondering). There are also funny pictures of the distillery dog Shortie across the tour. 😀

ardbeg beer

Only tour to give out barley wine filled in this pail

ardbeg barrel

Painting 2016 on a freshly-filled barrel, so cool!

The real deal is however the tasting itself. You get to drink 3 drams from the core range and 2 from past ranges that aren’t in production anymore. Their whisky is stunning and the tasting leaves you spellbound. Plus you get a 5 GBP voucher to spend on the shop which you inevitably will on a whisky from their core range (Corryvrecken is our pick).

ardbeg range

The Ardbeg range 

Price : £20 (it is a steal)

2. Edradour basic tour + tasting room (Pitlochry)

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The focal point of any visit to Edradour must be its tasting room. However, as access is granted only if you take a tour, it is worth it to do the basic tour and then spend the next hour or two at the tasting room. We have written a full blog post about how awesome their collection is at a very affordable price point. Plus their basic tour is very charming as they’re one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland by still size.

rare Ayrshire at Edradour

1975 Rare Ayrshire – An example vintage

edradour tasting room

The full Edradour selection

edradour warehouse

Warehouse visit on the basic tour

Price : £7.50

3. Glenlivet Free distillery tour (Speyside)

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Yep, its Glenlivet (one of the world’s most famous distilleries) and its FREE. As the distillery and the warehouse are among the largest in Scotland, the tour is eye-opening in terms of the scale. Plus you can end the tour with a taste of a couple of other expressions in their lounge (try the Nadurra for something unexpected). Highly recommended, plus its beautiful location is a big bonus, do not miss the charming packhorse bridge near the village.

glenlivet distillery

Glenlivet is massive compared to many distilleries

glenlivet special bottles

Some of the special bottles not easily found elsewhere

Price : £0

4. Tasting the worlds most peated whisky @ Bruichladdich (Islay)

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Briuchladdich is kind of like what BrewDog is for beer, irreverent (one look at their bottling confirms that). Their whiskies start from 5 years aged instead of the normal 10 and believe me, it is good. But the main reason to visit their distillery is to taste some of the world’s most peated whisky called Octomore. There are 4 version of this whisky and they all taste different and much different from what you’d expect due to the peat content (not at all medicinal tasting like Laphroig). After the taste, you’ll surely be tempted to part with £125 of your money to get a bottle 🙂

briuchladdich octomore versions

4 versions of Octomore – the world’s most peated whisky (4x peat vs Laphroig)

briuchladdich distillery

The distillery – a disruptive institution

briuchladdich port charlotte

Port Charlotte Valinch – Another great expression

Price : Free to taste

5. Isle of Arran tour + whisky ice cream (Arran)

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One of the most scenic distilleries in Scotland is located near Lochranza on the Isle of Arran. It is a small distillery too and has a cozy feel to its tour, especially if the distillery is in a production cycle. But our favourite part of the distillery is the shop where we can buy delicious whisky ice cream made in partnership with the excellent Arran Dairies ice cream. It is so yummy!!!

isle of arran distillery

Whisky icecream enjoyed in Arran’s beautiful scenery

wort

The wort is building 🙂

arran distillery

The distillery in its great Lochranza setting

Price : £8

Bonus : Staying at an erstwhile Excise House (Lagavulin, Islay)

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If you are a lover of whisky like Dalek, you are probably getting nerd chills knowing that you can stay in an erstwhile Excise House, that too in the village of Lagavulin. It is actually a very affordable B&B at £65 per night with modern & comfortable rules. The breakfast is out of this world and includes my favourite food product from Islay, Laphroaig & Orange Marmalade If you’re visiting Islay, a stay here is highly recommended, right opposite Lagavulin distillery and in between Ardbeg & Laphroig 🙂

lagavulin excise house

Whisky nerd chills staying at an erstwhile Excise House

breakfast

The excellent full Scottish breakfast – checkout the Laphroig marmalade on the right

lagavulin distillery

The attraction next door 😀

What is your favourite whisky related experience in Scotland? Leave a comment below, we’d love to know!! (P.S. we love Islay as is evident ❤️️)

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6 thoughts on “Top 5 Whisky related experiences in Scotland

  1. Claire says:

    Thanks so much for mention of our Excise House B&B, I must clarify that the Laphroaig marmalade is not made here. It is made locally by a company called MA McKinnons. Delighted you enjoyed your stay with us!

    Liked by 1 person

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