Frequently Asked Questions about Whisky Tours
Some frequently asked questions about whisky and distillery tours are included here.
It is not always necessary to book distillery tours in advance however it’s highly recommended you do. Even distilleries which have regular tour times can book up well in advance. They all tend to have tour size limits so yes, it’s best to book in advance.
There are over 70 distilleries offering distillery tours. You can use our map of Scottish Distilleries offering tours to pinpoint distilleries to visit.
You don’t need to like whisky to enjoy a whisky distillery tour. It might be a greater appreciation of the whisky production process combined with a tutored tasting will show you whisky in a new light. Indeed some people’s view of whisky may be based on a peated whisky, whereas there is a wide range of styles including subtle whisky flavour profiles. Many people visit distilleries to enjoy the history of the distillery and admire the often attractive buildings.
We are not aware of any distillery tours that don’t end with a whisky tasting. The whisky tasting at the end is often tutored or guided.
You don’t need to be an expert at all to do a whisky tasting. Whisky tastings tend to be in small groups and likely to be led be skilled guide who can adjust. They are more conversational than tours and can be detailed.
It’s often not cheaper to buy whisky at the distillery especially the core range. In Scotland, you will often find the entry level malts, or top selling expressions on special offer in retail outlets. You might also find these in your own country. However, distillery shops sell whisky expressions that are not easily available elsewhere and even distillery exclusives which are only available at the distillery. Look out also for 20 cl bottles and miniatures which are often an accessible way to buy a more expensive malt. Some distilleries offer money off a purchase if you have completed a tour or tasting.
Distillery Tours aren't the same! Essentially the whisky making process is similar and uses three ingredients. Water, barley and yeast. Each distillery explains the process in their own way with various degrees of emphasis. Perhaps an aroma session to start or there might be a floor malting, an old illicit still, worm tubs or even bottling plant. A key component is the unique distillery history, often spanning decades and your guide will often draw out key people and dates. Expect an anecdote or three from distillery cats to ghosts.
Then there is your tour guide who lives and works in the local area and puts their own personality on the tour. They will have a deep knowledge of their own distillery but also many are happy to give advice as to what to do in the local area.
Distillery tours are the same in that they end in a tasting but the whiskies will be different and have their own characteristics and flavours. This mighty even include distillery exclusives.