Jeroen Kloppenburg wrote:And july and later.. Those damn midgets!
Short people got... no reason....
We got Michael Heads (distillery manager) at Jura, and he was entertaining as well as knowledgeable, of course. And yes, Bruichladdich warrants mention. There was a seasonal part-timer doing the tour, but he knew what he was talking about--they must train them quite intensively. They're fairly liberal with the tastings, too, and are happy to have you hang around the shop for a while. We were there three hours in all, and were rewarded with a McEwen sighting.
One very large factor affecting the quality of a tour, over which you have no control, is how many people are on it. If you're lucky enough to have a group of half a dozen or less, there is a lot more time for questions and blether. We were surprised to find several tours booked up (12-16 people) in October.
Also, on Islay, try to resist the temptation to squeeze too many tours into one day. You can do Laphroaig at 10:15 and Ardbeg at 11:30, as we did, but you will end up running out of the Laphroaig tasting, or even earlier. We gave Caol Ila short shrift, too, having to catch the ferry to Jura. The folks there were insistent that we come back later and have another dram, but we never found the time, and we regretted it. That fellow will rattle on forever--go with it.
Low humor department: At Laphroaig, the pretty young part-timer who gave the tour showed us the four washbacks in one room, and said "We have six altogether." To our American ears (and juvenile minds), it sounded like "We have sex all together." We were mature (?) enough not to react at the time, but laughed about it the rest of the week. Oh, what adolescent little boys we are!