Welcome to Scotland and its famous national drink!
Catswhiskerstours has considerable experience of providing dedicated tours into the principal whisky producing areas of Scotland. Groups of all sizes are catered for.
Scotland’s Whisky Industry
There are approximately ninety five working distilleries in Scotland all of which produce a product known as a ‘single malt’, a term which means the product of a single distillery. Some of the output goes into blends such as Johnnie Walker or Dewars whilst the rest is sold as a single malt under such labels as Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Dalwhinnie and Auchentoshan. Single malt whisky is made from barley. There are a small number of distilleries which produce whisky from grain such as wheat or maize. Grain whisky tends to be produced on an industrial scale and is mainly used as a major constituent of blended whisky.
The industry is split into four whisky regions:
→Speyside: About forty five distilleries in the central Highlands centred around Grantown-on-Spey and Dufftown. The names here include Aberlour, Aultmore, Balmenach, Balvenie, Cardhu, Dufftown, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glen Grant, Knockando, Macallan, Mortlach, Strathisla and Tamdhu.
→Highlands: About twenty seven distilleries which include: Edradour, Glemorangie, Old Pultney, Balblair, Clynelish, Dalmore, Glen Garioch, Glen Ord, Royal Lochnagar, Fettercairn, Glendronach, Glenglassaugh, Glengoyne, Oban, Tullibardine and Ben Nevis.
→Islands: About fourteen distilleries which include: Abhainn Dearg, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Arran, Highland Park, Jura, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Springbank, Talisker and Tobermory.
→Lowlands: Four distilleries which include Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie.
The single malt manufacturing process is identical across the industry entailing malting, mashing. fermentation, distillation and maturation. Each distillery has established a unique product identity as a function of subtle variations influenced by shape of stills, water supply, constituent of the malted barley and the maturation process. Distilleries on Islay (such as Ardbeg and Lagavulin) are renowned for producing a smokey or peated whisky whereas most other malts have low or zero peat content. The vast majority of Scotch whisky is produced using a double distillation process. Auchentoshan, in common with Irish distilleries, uses triple distillation.
About half of the producing distilleries provide tours and tastings for visitors. Standard tours last about one hour whilst more extensive and detailed nosing and tasting tours can last for about three hours. Visits to Speyside Cooperage, which is dedicated to the manufucture of whisky casks, can also be arranged.
We can provide customised tours of any of the regions and distilleries to match the preferences of groups of any size. Normal procedure is to design a tour entailing:
Transport with driver.
Overnight lodgings with breakfast.
Visits to distilleries of guests’ choice.
Another option is to weave in distillery visits to a sightseeing tour.
We look forward to hearing from you!