Whiskies of the West
The tastes and styles of Scotland’s whiskies vary with the landscapes. The whiskies of the west, especially of the seaboard, seem to take on the tang of the sea as well as the peaty soil. This tasting tour takes in some of the islands which have distilleries, so that you can compare flavours with some of the malts produced in the heart of Scotland.
Perfect Time To Go
April - October
Number Of Nights
Start this tour on the Isle of Arran, reached from Ardrossan in Ayrshire. From Brodick, go north round the island to Lochranza. The Isle of Arran Distillery is a unique development, linking back to a vanished tradition of Arran distilling. Overnight Isle of Arran.
Lochranza is also the departure point for the ferry to Claonaig, on the mainland in Kintyre. From there it is a short drive north-west to Kennacraig and the ferry for Islay. Islay has more distilleries than any other Scottish island. Its extensive peat covering and soft water play their part in producing some very distinguished malt whiskies. From distilleries in the south of the island – Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Laphroaig – come some of the most distinctively flavoured whiskies in Scotland, with both peat and (some say) seaweed on the tongue. The distilleries to the north – Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila and Bruichladdich – produce a malt whisky of a lighter character. From Port Ellen, go east for Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig distilleries. (Take the road a little further to see the superbly carved 8/9th century Kildalton Cross.) Return via Port Ellen for the main road north to Bowmore for the Bowmore Distillery.
If time permits, it is also worthwhile visiting the Isle of Jura distillery. (There are also distilleries to visit by Port Askaig, the ferry-pier for Jura.) This wild island contrasts with Islay in only having one road, one hotel and one distillery! Overnight Isle of Jura.
Return to the mainland and go north from Kennacraig for Oban. Directly below the famous skyline landmark of McCaig’s Tower (or Folly) is the local Oban Distillery. Overnight Oban area.
Take the ferry from Oban to Mull, arriving at Craignure. The main town on this island is Tobermory, reached from the A849/A848 which has fine views over the Sound of Mull, travelling north-west. Tobermory, spread around its bay, was originally purpose-built from 1787 as a fishing station, with its distillery being built soon afterwards. From Tobermory a ferry links Kilchoan on Ardnamurchan. Drive east along this beautiful and wild peninsula for Salen, taking the A861 north. This joins the ‘Road to the Isles’ and leads on to Mallaig, from where you can reach Armadale, in the south of Skye, by ferry. Overnight Isle of Skye.
Now on Skye, you can reach its only distillery, Talisker, by taking the road (A851) up the Sleat peninsula. (There are superb views of the Cuillin Hills if you divert round the coastal loop through the crofting village of Tarskavaig.) Then, turn west via Broadford, following the A87 for Sligachan. Again, there are breathtaking views of the Cuillins. At Sligachan the A863 goes over to Loch Harport, with minor roads leading round to the distillery on the west side of the loch. Overnight Isle of Skye
Leave Skye by the Skye Bridge over the Kyleakin Narrows, heading east and south via dramatic Glen Shiel for the Great Glen and Fort William, home of the Ben Nevis Distillery. Overnight Fort William area.
Go east from Fort William through Glen Spean and the A86. If time permits, go north on the A9 for Tomatin Distillery, otherwise turn south for Dalwhinnie Distillery. The A9 leads on into Perthshire, where the Blair Athol Distillery welcomes visitors at Pitlochry. Overnight Pitlochry area.
Continuing south, the Tullibardine Distillery on the edge of the Ochil Hills south of Perth is an area noted for the pure water running of the hills. Once it was famous for breweries – King James IV purchased the local beer for his coronation in 1488! Tullibardine is noted for producing a light and fruity malt whisky. Overnight Gleneagles/Auchterarder/Perth area.
The above package includes the following:
- 10 nights hotel accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis
- Hotels at least 4 star
- Vehicle with private driver
- Admission to Whisky Distilleries to include tastings
- Scottish Heritage Pass, including all Historic Scotland and National Trust for Scotland properties
- VAT at 20%