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. 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!
Day 1: Saturday 6th November: Meet at Inverness airport at 11.10 (to coincide with the British Airways flight from London Heathrow). Group transfer by coach to Lossiemouth overlooking the ocean (1 hour) where we will have free time for lunch. The first steps in making whisky involve creating a strong beer and so to better understand this process, our first visit will at the Windswept Brewery where we will have a tour and tasting of several beers. Continuing to Forres we visit Dallas Dhu distillery. The distillery is no longer operational but has been turned into a museum where we can step back in time to see and hear how whisky was made in the 1900s. Late afternoon we check into the private mansion, our base for the next 3 nights
On our first evening together, we will enjoy a very special whisky and food matching multi-course dinner. A whisky expert will present a tutored tasting of 5 Speyside whiskies from distilleries which are not open for tours. This will be accompanied by a 5-course dinner prepared by a professional chef
Day 2: Sunday 7th November: we head to south Speyside to visit Glenlivet in the town of the same name. We will have a tour and tasting followed by lunch in their café. In the afternoon visit Cragganmore distillery, whose 14-year old whisky is part of the Classic Malts collection, for a tour and tasting. Late afternoon return to Dalvey House. Free evening to visit one of the restaurants in Forres or perhaps order a take-away and relax ‘at home’
Day 3: Monday 8th November: This morning head back to Speyside and visit the Speyside Cooperage to experience first-hand the art of barrel-making. We continue to Macallan for a tour and tasting in their remarkable contemporary distillery, followed by lunch in their brasserie. In the afternoon tour and tasting at Aberlour distillery. Late afternoon return to Dalvey House. Free evening to visit one of the restaurants in Forres or perhaps order a take-away and relax ‘at home’
Day 4 Tuesday 9th November: This morning after breakfast we say farewell to Dalvey House and drive to Elgin for a brief stop at Gordon & Macphail, the famous whisky bottlers. It’s a short walk from there to Glen Moray distillery where we will have a tour followed by lunch in their café. Early afternoon head back to Forres for a tour at Benromach distillery. Late afternoon, maybe after a last dram or two in a local pub, we drive back to Inverness airport in time for the British Airways flight to London Heathrow which departs at 16.45
END OF TOUR
Please note: some distilleries do not accept bookings for tours more than 3 months in advance, therefore some visits are subject to change
TRAVEL: you need to book your own flights to/from Inverness -see the 'Travel' tab on the Criterion Wine Tours website
ACCOMMODATION: a magnificent Adam-style Georgian Mansion https://www.dalveyhouse.com/
COST: £1050 sharing a room, single supplement £100 or £150 for shared or en-suite bathroom (see Criterion Website).
There is a maximum of 12 places. For full details and to book this tour go to https://criterionwinetours.com/product/speyside-whisky-tour/