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best whisky tours in scotland, best distilleries to visit

The Best Scottish Distillery Tours

Whisky Tours of Scotland

With so many whisky distilleries to choose from, 130 and counting, it is hard to know where to start. That's where I can help, by recommending a tour that will encompass a wide variety of different whisky styles, regions (there are six; Highland, Lowland, Island, Islay, Speyside and Campbeltown), logistics (some are easier to get to than others) and ages (some distilleries have literally just opened and some are centuries old). Book a whisky tour of Scotland with me and you can relax while I take care of the logistics, recommend you whisky hotels and pubs and, most importantly, drive you from distillery to distillery, allowing you to enjoy a dram or three! A Scotch Whisky Tour allows you to explore some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery whilst visiting the distilleries that produce your favourite malts. With me as your personal driver and guide, you can relax, take in the scenery, learn a little a bit about Scotch, where it's made and the people who make and enjoy a few 'goldies' as you go!  Depending on how much time you have, you could incorporate more than one area into a tour itinerary or you may choose to concentrate on one. A tour of the island distilleries for example, could take several days but you could cover a visit to one or two Highland and/or Lowland distilleries on a day trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow. The itinerary permutations are endless so the best thing to do is to contact me to discuss your options and I can then draw up a tailor made schedule based on your preferences and my local knowledge. I can also recommend and book hotels and restaurants, as well as suggest appropriate pubs along the route for multi-day whisky tours.

Campbeltown Distillery Tour

Having been dubbed the whisky capital of the world with 34 distilleries at its height of production, the town of Campbeltown is now the smallest of the six whisky producing areas with just three working distilleries, the minimum number to qualify as a 'region'. Springbank and Glengyle have the same owners and as such you can tour both on the same ticket. It is possible to visit on day tours from Glasgow but would be a bit of a stretch from Edinburgh where two days would be ideal. For a longer itinerary, combine Campbeltown with a visit to Islay, Scotland's whisky island, with no fewer than nine distilleries, and not forgetting the distillery on the adjacent, remote island of Jura, famous for its hills, red deer and as the place where Goerge Orwell wrote the novel 1984. Oban is another distillery that could be tagged on to this schedule.

Highland Distillery Tour

highland whisky tour, scotch tour

Highland distilleries cover the largest area of Scotland, North West of the Highland fault line, providing great opportunities for a circular Scotch Whisky Tour. Contained in this vast area of wilderness are some of the most remote distilleries and also the highest (Tomatin) and the smallest traditional distillery(Edradour), as far south as Oban and as far north as Caithness. A visit to a Speyside distillery (see below) can easily be incorporated into a Highland distillery tour from Edinburgh or Glasgow with a minimum of two days needed.

Islands Distillery Tour

A Scotch Whisky Tour of the islands is the most logistically complicated to undertake owing to the geographical spread of the Hebrides Islands and Northern Isles. Jura is best combined with a trip to the distilleries of Islay and Arran can be combined with Campbeltown or Bladnoch distillery in Galloway. Tobermory and Talisker can be paired together on a three day tour and the Orkney distilleries would be best combined with a visit to the Highlands on a multi-day tour. As part of the wave of new distilleries opening in Scotland, you can now include the Isles of Raasay and Harris to the roster of eponymous island distilleries. In addition, Skye and Arran have second distilleries up and running with the opening of Torabhaig and Lagg, respectively.

Islay Whisky Tour

The unique island of Islay is home to some of the most iconic and distinguished whiskies on the planet such as Laphroaig and Bowmore and there are now, at the time of writing, nine working distilleries on the island, with another two in the pipeline. It is worth spending at least two or three days sampling the laid back charm of this whisky lovers paradise. There are some great places to stay on the island and some fine whiskies to taste!

Speyside Whisky Tour

speyside whisky tours & distillery tastings

Speyside has the highest concentration of malt whisky distilleries on the planet - over 50 of them at the last count! This, and the fact that some of the most iconic whisky brands produce their golden elixir in this region, are good enough reason to hit the Speyside Whisky Trail. Take the MacAllan tour at their new state of the art facility or book a connoisseurs tour at Balvenie-but don't leave it til the last minute because they only take 16 people per day and are usually fully booked months in advance! or you could just pop in to Glenlivet for their free tour or perhaps you just want a quick tasting at Glenfiddich, Cardhu or Aberlour. You can also visit the Speyside Cooperage to see first hand how the casks are made. 

If you are touring from Glasgow or Edinburgh you will need to stay at least one night in Speyside and there are plenty of whisky themed places to stay, such as the Mash Tun in Aberlour and the Craigellachie Hotel in the village of the same name.​ Feel free to ask me for more information.

Glasgow Distillery Tour 

A day trip from Glasgow or Edinburgh to the two distilleries of Auchentoshan, a triple distilled Lowland single malt made just outside the city in Clydebank, and Glengoyne, a Highland single malt produced at the foot of the volcanic Campsie Hills, or you could visit the new kid on the block, the Clydeside Distillery near the city centre.

Gin Tours of Scotland

Scotland is in the midst of a gin boom at the moment and it is this boom that is behind the plethora of new distilleries springing up all over the country, some dedicated purely to gin making but the majority are combining it with whisky distilling to provide an alternative revenue whilst the whisky matures - Scotch whisky must be matured no less than three years and one day before it can be sold as such. So, there is no better time to explore Scotland's gin scene at places like Edinburgh Gin, Kingsbarns or the more traditional distilleries such as Bruichladdich on Islay.

I can create a bespoke gin tour or a mix it up, if you'll pardon the pun, and combine visits to gin and whisky distilleries - perfect for when some of your tour group are whisky drinkers and some are gin drinkers!

Brewery Tours of Scotland​​

For all you beer drinkers, I can recommend several brewery tours around the country, which can be bolted on to a distillery tour, or almost any type of tour for that matter. From the Valhalla Brewery on Unst, Scotland's most northerly inhabited island, to the tiny Portpatrick Brewery 500 miles south west on the Rhins of Galloway, there are micro-breweries, craft breweries and some of the big guys too, all brewing up some of the best lagers, ales and porters on the planet.

Bespoke Distillery Tours

Multi-day tours of Scotland can incorporate all of the whisky regions with an itinerary that would be similar to the Grand Tour of Scotland.



I would be more than happy to create tailor made whisky tour itineraries, just let me know your favourite single malts or gins, and I can draw up a bespoke distillery road trip for you.



To discuss your options for a whisky tour of Scotland please email me at

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