It’s been a while since I last visited Scotland and with the added of Covid-19 pandemic, the return to the motherland was delayed even further but eventually I got there!
In addition to visiting some old favorite distilleries, I used the opportunity to visit a new distillery that didn’t exist last time I visit Scotland – Holyrood Distillery in Edinburgh.
On the third day of the trip, we started our descent south from Thurso toward Inverness and the next logical stop was Old Pulteney Distillery as we took the coastal road. The distillery resides inside Wick so it’s one of the rare cases where a distillery resides inside an urban zone and it wasn’t easy to spot the entrance, especially when you’re in a hurry to get to the tour.
We hurried inside to start the tour and to play detective. I had an important mission to find out who’s the handsome guy who is a good virtual friend and also posing as a fellow blogger that I never met before 😉
Luckily I didn’t have to exert my few grey cells as it’s been only us in the tour, making it a cozy, warm and full of laughs tour. It must be noted that the our lovely and charming guide Kathie helped too toward this goal. In fact, the tour guide is the most important component from the distillery side. A good guide will make the tour unforgettable while a bad guide can ruin a tour even at your favorite distillery.
And so we toured, cheerful and energetic, stopping at all the obligatory stations. the only negative: it was a quiet day dedicated to maintenance, so there was a low-key energy around, like a big bear sleeping. Continue reading
You probably know the phrase “Timing is everything”. We all encounter situations and cases where the phrase is fitting like a glove to a hand. Although it’s not always a positive match, in my case and my wish to visit Scapa distillery, it was a perfect and positive match.
Back when I planned my Scotland trip and planned my Orkney day, I hoped that despite lacking a visitors center and a website that declared that the staff is too busy to take care of visitors, I’ll manage to arrange myself a wee tour at Scapa distillery. After all, being a whisky blogger should count toward something, right?
But just when I was about to finalize my plans for the trip, Scapa distillery announced a new visitors center and tours around the distillery, ha! Indeed, timing was perfect and it was an easy matter of contacting the distillery and booking a tour 🙂
So on a rainy and grey afternoon we strolled into the new Scapa visitors center. First thing you notice: It’s small. And cozy.
Pretty much the entire visitors center 🙂
The second day in this Scotland excursion wasn’t like the first day at all. We weren’t late and it had a very Scottish weather, gray and rainy just like what I wanted, although all the natives were longing for another day like yesterday full of sunshine. But we were going to Orkney and visit the northernmost distilleries in Scotland so IMHO it was the fitting weather 🙂
After the sea cross, a bus to Kirkwall, visiting the Orkney museum (A must!), our ride arrived:
Yes, if you booked a high-end tour, they will happily pick you up from different places around Kirkwall and bring you to the distillery just in time for the tour.
Wolfburn is a distillery which as a whisky geek and a blogger I’m following closely for it’s always exciting to track and see how a new distillery shapes itself, both on whisky and business fronts, so I knew I want to pay them a visit when I get back to Scotland and visit the northern highlands region.
The staff at the distillery are very friendly. They happily booked the visit and even endured us being late for a hour. After all, it was that ‘late-late-late’ day and I had troubles locating the distillery as it’s not your average looking distillery. They are located in a set of hangers in an industrial park and not somewhere pretty off the road with a pagoda and lots of fields and cattle around them.
Wolfburn is a new and small distillery, producing around 115,000 liters of alcohol a year. Just wow small is it? Everything fits in a single hangar!
Panorana picture of Wolfburn distillery. Click it to see in full size!
After a long break due to a new house purchase and move coupled with a very long (and a very deserving!) summer vacation it’s time to resume normal activity here.
I was lucky enough to have a summer vacation in London with a wee getaway to Scotland and in those four days I managed to cross off a few more distilleries from my to-visit list.
The first distillery on this trip was Balblair, a distillery I like a lot for producing good, bodily and well done whisky but the day didn’t pan out as planned.
At first, the sleeper train to Inverness was late, but we had a marvelous view from the train.
The view from the train was breathtaking!
And then extra bureaucracy at the car rental agency and so we were way behind schedule and very late to the booked tour at Balblair. Luckily, with some aid from Waze and few more new white strands on my head, we got to Balblair.
Still late but just in time for the initial gathering with John Mcdonald the distillery manager. (Of course I went for The Manager’s Tour. Ain’t doing it half heartedly 🙂 ) But as soon as we started, we went outside as it was a beautiful, sunny and crisp day outside (all the locals marveled at it all week long as it wasn’t a too common occurrence this summer).
Last week, after over 3 months en route, I finally got my final package of whiskies I got myself in Scotland, and it reminded me I didn’t write yet a post on last distillery tour. The last day of trip arrived and we had time for one last distillery visit before going back home – Glengoyne Distillery.
This time we’ve killed 2 birds in one stone – we recruited a designated driver, a blogger who lives not far away but never visited there, so we ‘forced’ him to visit the place for the first time, out own #whiskyfabric cog member, Tom. So we checked out from the hotel, we got picked up by Tom and off we went to the place which is half lowlands, half highlands where Glengoyne distillery resides.
This post was in the writing for a long time and I hesitated completing it as Bruichladdich was our last stop on Islay and writing it brings a bucketful of sadness. But life go on so I finally sat down and completed it, doing it was kind of a relief and it’s way better then going to a shrink 🙂
Bruichladdich, well, as I said above – it was our last stop on the island. We were in a hurry as we had to return our rented car and make it on time for our flight back to Glasgow, but we were passing near Bruichladdich, a mere 500 meters away. How could we NOT stop there, even if not for a tour then just see it and have a dram in the visitors center.
Kilchoman, the youngest distillery on Islay and one distillery I was very curious to visit – a small, boutique-like and independent distillery on Islay with growing good reputation and fan base.
2nd day on Islay and the most eagerly tour is ensuing – Laphroaig Distillery. If you’re following me and/or my blog, you’re probably aware of my affection to Laphroaig, so this tour was booked with very high expectations.
(Just a quick note before we actually starts – this post has more pictures then the usual so you’ve been warned!)
We woke up to an sunny and bright Islay day, ate quick breakfast and drove early to the distillery to soak some Laphroaig atmosphere at the FoL (Friends of Laphroaig) lounge before going on the high-end Distillers Wares tour. We even saw John Campbell the distillery manager but he was too busy so didn’t managed to get a picture this time.
On the shore at Port Ellen on the way to the distillery