Despite global warming Scotland is not yet known as a wine producer! But of course its famous for ‘the water of life’, whisky. Copious supplies of barley, crystal clear water, plentiful peat and a tradition of master distillers produce the world’s best and most varied whisky. Combine that with warm hospitality, fresh local produce and a long heritage, Scotland is the perfect place to explore the world’s finest spirit.
The Lowlands extend from the border with England up to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Speyside, which has the biggest concentration of distilleries is in the Eastern Highlands based on the town of Inverness. The Northern Highlands extend up to the northernmost tip of the mainland. Islay, off the west coast, has several distilleries and is distinctive enough to be considered a region in its own right. And then there are other islands including Mull, Orkney and Skye.
Single malt whisky is the most diverse spirit of any and comes in a thousand and one incarnations. It’s called single malt as it’s the product of a single distillery and made from malted barley. The lightest style tends to be from the Lowlands, the richest from the Highlands, and the peatiest from Islay. But within these broad categories there is a huge range, even between the different bottlings from the same distillery.
cotland’s climate is relatively cool, with mild summers and cold winters, and the islands are influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. However climate and terroir don’t have an influence on the final product in the same way that they effect styles of wine. Styles of whisky vary according to the type of barley used, quality of water, shape of the stills, number of distillations, type of barrels (mainly ex sherry or bourbon are used), location of ageing warehouses, length of ageing……all have an influence on the final product.
Past Tours To Scotland
We’re all about wine tours and this one was all about…whisky. Islay Single Malt Whiskies are the strongest flavoured of all malt whiskies: made of stern stuff indeed. A spectacular drive & ferry crossing led us to the iconic island of Islay, nestled off the west coast of Scotland. This was quintessential Scotland. We spent three days visiting all 8 distilleries on the island. The most peaty being Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroig, on the South Coast; Bowmore, Bruichladdich and Kilchoman in the centre; and Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila in the North. Our evenings were all about roaring fires and long chats in homely cottages on the grounds of Bowmore. Also there were cask samples, barrel tastings & finally a whisky and chocolate tasting at Glengoyne en route back to Glasgow: it was every whisky lover’s dream come true.
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Speyside Whisky TOUR
6-9 November 2021
Think of single malt whisky then think of Speyside! Centred around the River Spey half of all Scottish distilleries are based in this beautiful region of Scotland. Famous names like Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan sit alongside smaller, artisanal producers and all have their own individual style. We will be staying in a beautiful private mansion near Forres, where we will have a very special, professionally catered dinner with matching whiskies the first evening – think of it as a private houseparty. We will explore several distilleries, learn about the fascinating process of making single malts and taste more than a few drams! We will even visit a cooper who make the all-important barrels used for ageing the spirit. If you’re a malt whisky lover you won’t want to miss this tour!