The Speyside region in the Scottish highlands holds over half the country’s whisky distilleries and makes for an excellent driving trail – as long as you have a designated driver!
An Overview of the Whisky Trail Through the Scottish Highlands
The trail visits 9 sites in total: 7 working distilleries, a former distillery that shows you how 19th century whisky was made, and the Speyside cooperage, where you can watch coopers make and repair barrels.
Prices vary depending on the type of tour you select and your age, with some offering discounted or free entry to those who aren’t lucky enough to be able to try their hand at a drab of whisky.
The trail covers more than 78 miles of mountain ranges and countryside in the Scottish highlands and is easy to navigate by car. Speyside is four hours from Edinburgh via the A93. The trail itself is well signposted and can be completed in the best part of a day. Obviously, as the trail involves some lovely nosing sessions where you can try some of the older, finer whiskies, make sure you have a dedicated, non-drinking driver.
The best time to visit is between May and September, when Scotland hosts several whisky festivals.
The trail has no set route, so you can pick and choose which distillery to visit, depending on your preferences. However, if you want to drive the whole trail, then this is the most efficient route:
Scottish Highlands Malt Whisky Tour – Details
A: Dallas Dhu (Historic Distillery)
Postcode: IV36 2RR
Begin the trail at the historic distillery of Dallas Dhu in the town of Forres. Start your journey with a half hour tour that demonstrates how whisky used to be made between 1899 and 1983. Prices remain the same throughout the year: adults £5.20 & children £2.60
Postcode: IV36 3EB
Travel 2 miles northwest and you’ll find Benromach, the first serviceable distillery on the trail. Here the tour lasts around an hour and cost £3.50 per person, which includes a £2.50 voucher that can be redeemed on purchases over £25 in their shop.
Benromach also offers a more in-depth tour for £17.50 per person and you can also bottle your own personalised Benromach. For £50 you can measure the alcohol strength, add the cork, seal the bottle and sign the label.
C: Glen Moray
Postcode: IV30 1YE
Travel 12 miles east of Benromach to reach the next distillery on the trail – Glen Moray. This lovely distillery is just on the outskirts of the cultured city of Elgin, and the tour takes around an hour and a half to complete, costing £3 per person.
Postcode: AB55 5BS
The distillery of Strathisla has been producing fine whiskies since 1786, only 18 miles from Glen Moray in the remarkable town of Keith. The standard tour gives under-18s free entry, while adults pay £5 per person. Strathisla also operates two unique tours over the weekend: “The Ultimate Chivas Experience” on Saturdays and “Straight From the Cask” on Sundays, at £25 per person, over-18s only.
E: Glen Grant
Postcode: AB38 7BS
The next distillery lives alongside the river Spey, where Glen Grant has produced whisky for over 170 years. Standard entry prices are £3.50 for adults, while under-18s get in for free. Unfortunately under-8s aren’t permitted in the production areas but they can still enjoy the gardens and visitor centre.
F: Speyside Cooperage
Postcode: AB38 9RS
Your next stop takes you 4 miles from Glen Grant to the only operational cooperage in the UK, where you can watch how oak casks are produced using age-old tools and techniques. Family tickets £8.50, adults £3.30 and children £2.50 each.
Postcode: AB55 4DH
Visit the home of the most well-known single malt whisky in the world. Best of all, it’s free! For a more in-depth experience, follow the Connoisseurs’ Tour for £20 per person.
H: The Glenlivet
Postcode: AB37 9DB
The Glenlivet tells tales of whisky smuggling and illicit stills. Around 14 miles from Glenfiddich, entry is also free, however you can opt for a more detailed tour for £25 per person.
Postcode: AB38 7RY
The last stop is the Cardhu distillery, where you can join an “Aroma and Flavours” tour, which is the cheapest of the specialist tours at £8 per person. It gives you the chance to indulge your taste buds with tasting sessions of both single malt and blended whisky.
Prices valid as of 23/04/2010
Written by the travelsupermarket.com UK car hire comparison team as a guest post. They are not linked to the distilleries in any way. Photo Credit – sarniebill1