Single Malt Safari
Written by Black Swan Journeys
June 13, 2015
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” ― Mark Twain
what to expect
Ask people what they associate most with Scotland, the answer would most likely be whisky. As Scotland’s national drink, it has been produced here for centuries. There’s so many ways to discover more about it, whether it be going behind the scenes on a distillery visit, trying single malts at special whisky festivals, sampling a fine dram at an expert-led whisky tasting session or enjoy one by the fire at renowned whisky bars. All offer visitors a sample of the finished product and some include an informative nosing and tasting while others give an insight into the complex art of blending whisky and malt.
Whisky distilleries were founded in an environment rich in the highest quality ingredients: pure, clear spring water and abundant supplies of fragrant golden barley. On the whisky trail, you’ll find more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries, each with its own warm welcome and an invitation to see, smell, taste and absorb the magic of whisky. Each whisky distillery on the distillery tour follows its own traditions, lore and recipes for everything from malting the barley to the height and size of its stills.
Leaving Edinburgh at 08.30 you will head west through Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, along Loch Lomond then west through the mountains to the beautiful little village of Inve- raray on the banks of Loch Fyne. Here you can perhaps sample some of the local seafood for lunch or just explore the historic town itself. After lunch you will then travel through Argyll and into the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada. There are more than 350 prehistoric monuments within a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin. You will stop here to see the mysterious stone circles and standing stones and visit the community museum. From here it is a short drive to Kennacraig where you catch the early evening ferry to Islay. The sail is just over 2 hours and you should look out for wildlife such as dolphins, whales and seabirds. On arrival on Islay it is a short drive to Bowmore for your 3-night stay.
A full day exploring Islay. The itinerary today is quite flexible with a mixture of beautiful scenery, white sand beaches, short walks and of course the famous Islay whiskies – re- nowned for their strong peaty flavours and nurtured by the salty sea air. In the morning you will take the short drive to the west of the island via Saligo Bay for a visit to Kilcho- man Distillery (the newest and smallest on the island) with the option of a coastal walk to Machair Bay for any non-whisky lovers. After lunch you will explore the tiny harbour village of Portnahaven (look out for seals) before taking the back roads along the west coast with its lovely sandy bays, on the way back to Bowmore. You will have the chance to visit Bowmore distillery or just relax and explore the village.
Another day in paradise! Today you will explore the southern side of the island, home to the smokiest and peatiest of all whiskies – Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. You will visit Ardbeg for a tour, tasting and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy local produce as well as some unique whisky. You then follow that up with a visit to Laphroaig or a visit to the ruins of Kildalton church with its famous 8th Century Celtic cross. Alternatively we may stop in Bridgend where you could visit the commu- nity craft producers at Islay House Square or take a walk through the woods along the nearby River Sorn.
This morning you take the ferry back to the mainland then travel up the coast to Oban – a busy harbour town and the main ferry port for the islands. Here we will drop off any- one who is continuing on the Mull, Iona and Isle of Skye extension. The others will have some free time to explore the town, have a late lunch or even pop into Oban Distillery before departing for the return trip to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Return time approx. 20.00 and overnight in Edinburgh. Clients will have to make their own way to the hotel.
Is a free day to explore Edinburgh, the historic capital of Scotland. There are so many options available here – why not take a local open top city bus tour to familiarise your- self with the ‘old’ and ‘new’ towns of the city. No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without a visit to her medieval castle. Sitting on a volcanic plug there is no other city in Europe to offer a setting quite as unique as that of the castle rising high above the majestic Princes Street gardens, to the hustle and bustle of the city’s first new town, and the main thoroughfare awash with designer shops.
Lunch is booked for you at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a private members club of whisky enthusiasts from all over the world. A 2 course lunch will be served in the excel- lent restaurant, following by a tasting of 2 special cask whiskies in the members rooms.
Overnight again in Edinburgh.
This morning make your way back to the departure point at 09.00 for the next leg of your tour – a three-day Speyside Whisky adventure, starting with the journey north into the Highlands. The first stop will be the historic village of Dunkeld for a short walk through the forest to some atmospheric waterfalls. After lunch in Pitlochry you will make your first distillery visit at Dalwhinnie – the highest distillery in the country and the closest to the source of the River Spey. From here you follow the river north through the Cairn- gorm National Park to the small town of Grantown on Spey – you base for the next two nights.
A whole day exploring Scotland’s most famous whisky region. After a scenic drive to- ward the coast your first stop of the day will be at the family owned Benromach Distillery for a personalised tour. From here it is a short distance to Elgin – home to Gordon and Macphail – one of the world’s leading specialist whisky bottlers and suppliers. Their shop has one of the widest selection of malts you will find anywhere. After lunch in Elgin you will travel back up the Spey to Aberlour for a visit to the distillery there and time permitting make a stop at the Speyside Cooperage in nearby Craigellachie. From here is back to Grantown on Spey.
Takes you through the beautiful Cairngorm Mountains on route back to Edinburgh. In the morning you will explore Glenlivet – not just a distillery but also a beautiful glen with great walks and wonderful wildlife. Later you will pass by the famous Balmoral Castle and stop in the village of Braemar in the heart of the National Park. From here the route south passes over Scotland’s highest mountain pass then through the Perthshire before arriving back in Edinburgh around 18.30.
Please note – itinerary and distillery visits are subject to variation throughout the season and may not be the same described above, however there will always be a minimum of 8 distillery visits during the holiday.
To reserve your seat, write to [email protected] or call us on +91 8975632092.