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Postby Worm » Fri Oct 14, 2005 11:31 am

:lol:
Last edited by Worm on Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Worm » Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:30 pm

:oops:
Last edited by Worm on Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Grass Snake » Fri Oct 14, 2005 2:30 pm

I enjoyed the tour of edradour

it was free, and included a free dram as well as a full tour. the only problem was the tour guide was german! not very authentic to a scotch whisky distillery!
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Postby Aidan » Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:22 pm

In Scotland, the only ones I've been to were the whisky heritage centre in edinburgh, which I really enjoyed. I have also been to Auchentoshan and Bowmore, which I also enjoyed.

The Heritage Centre is very good, but it's not a working distillery.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:09 am

The Aberlour tour is very good, you can try everything from new make right through to a single cask offering and you can even bottle your own bottle of Bourbon or Sherry matured whisky.
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Sat Oct 15, 2005 11:57 am

For something a little different I would recommend Dewar's World of Whisky, a fascinating insight into the art of blending.

You can then follow that with a tour of the Aberfeldy distillery.

Cheers

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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Oct 15, 2005 4:04 pm

Springbank is an excellent tour.
Avoid Famous Grouse Experience. Bog all to do with whisky and everything to do with FG adverts (understandably I suppose).
The Balvenie tour sounds brilliant.
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:33 pm

Will have to be predictable and say Ardbeg ! (you wouldn't expect anything else !) They offer a good cross selection of the range at the end instead of the usually complimentary dram , well worth a trip , if you can hit a midnight tour during the festival it's even better . The one to avoid on Islay is the Caol Ila one especially if in a large group as the old guy who does the tour tends to talk a lot to individuals rather than the group , after a while in the slightly noisy surroundings interest can be lost .
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Postby SpiritofShetland » Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:35 pm

As Worm says a tour has very much to do with the guide.Both Wendy and Dennis at Aberlour is highly recommended. Otherwise I recommend coming to Speyside during on (or both) of the whiskyfestivals, when distilleries not usually open to the public admits visitors - and regular workers and/or distillery managers take the visitors around (always a learning experience).

Glen Moray is also a great trip, especially if you're into detail. The young bloke who took us around went into great detail when he understood he had returning visitors. Can't for the love of me remember his name though.

Otherwise I think visiting distilleries out of season can be recommended, since you then don't have to risk the chance of being shown around by a part-time employee who doesn't even like the stuff.

My best trips has always been when elderly ladies has been the tour guide (those who've been with the company since their youth). Both at Balvenie and Blair Athol I was lucky enough to experience such guide - great trips, loads of anecodes about the olden days.

Bladnoch is of course very well worth the trip. Especially if you get the Irishman himself (owner Raymond). But beware the trips might not follow the 'normal' intinerary.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:15 am

Balvenie is the top that I've seen. My guide was Tom.

Maybe Ardbeg gives a good selection of drams during the festival, but all we got was a dram of TEN. Not that I'm complaining! Emma does a good tour. Incidentally, they have some bottles of 17 available that they got back from Italy, so if that's your favorite, hit the online shop now.

I really liked the fellow at Caol Ila--knowledgeable and enthusiastic in the extreme. But there were only three of us on the tour.

Islay has a great advantage in that there are very few casual tourists on the tours--no one is just passing through here. Your best bet is to go there and do all that you can fit in. I haven't heard good things about Bowmore's tour lately, but all the others are worthwhile.
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Postby rthomson » Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:22 am

I agree with the Caol Ila recommendation. The guide's enthusiasm and years of work in the industry (25+ I believe) greatly enhanced the experiance. Additionally, he was a native Gaelic speaker and seemed quite happy to talk about life during his younger years. Some topics had nothing to do with whisky but his willingness to share his stories added much to my enjoyment of the tour (the topics only strayed from whisky when we asked about his native language and experiences). Unfortunately, we didn't have time to linger there long but I think most would enjoy a tour with this gentleman.

Ron
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Postby Aidan » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:56 am

When on Islay, we met a man in his 70s or 80s who was able to talk to use in scots gaelic and, when he found out we were Irish, in Irish gaelic. The gaelic on Islay is very close to Irish, as it happens. Anyway, he was wearing an Australian baseball cap with the Australian flag on it. He had picked the Union Jack out of it many years ago with a pin... My guess is that he was a Scottish nationalist.
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:21 am

Hmmm .... I put my experiences on distillery tours in a series of articles on my website, but I do have to agree with some other opinions here that is is VERY hard to make a final conclusion on any tour without at least visitting that distillery a few times.

I have been experiencing tours at the same distillery that one time were simply awefull, and the other time splendid. So much depends on the tour guide, which one you have, her/his mood, the weather (personal experience), etc. etc.

But tours that so far never gone wrong on me are Ardbeg, Aberlour, Glenfiddich (yes seriously!), Blair Athol, Bruichladdich and Strathisla.

And I also agree on the right time of the year to visit Scotland. Personally, we always go the end of may, and begin of june. This is the driest part of the year, and also a lot quieter then the summer when you will experience much more crowded tours, and seasonal only staff. Aside of that, many distilleries dont produce in the summer. And july and later.. Those damn midgets!
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Best tour

Postby corbuso » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:48 am

Comparing the guided tours is very difficult. I depends mainly on your guide. The best tours I had so far were from Willie Pat (the now retired Master Distiller) at Isle of Jura and from Stuart Thomson at Ardbeg. This was either during the low season or the Feis ile and the best opportunity to discuss freely with the men making the whisky.
The worst ones I had so far were in Highland Park and Talisker. They have too much tourists and the guides were not very knowledgeable.
As Jeroen mentioned, always try to pick the oldest guide!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:04 pm

Jeroen Kloppenburg wrote:And july and later.. Those damn midgets!


:lol: :lol: :lol:

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!
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Postby ikendal » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:23 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote: Bruichladdich warrants mention.


Bruichladdich gets my vote. there early, flew in at 10 am - went straight there, tours did not start until 11.30am - so we made coffee for the staff. chatted to Jim, shared a dram of ours and he offered us his!!! watched the shop during a staff mtg. had a excellent tour learnt more about milling than anywhere. disturbed by fire alarm. shared more drams, drank from the valinch - directly from the valinch, bought 2 lots of futures, a cask (full) and a couple of valinches - then left for bowmore.

bowmore - Also a good tour but very mechanical, by the book. although the tasting afterwards was generous.

Low season is the best time to go. individualised tours. few tourists, excellent.
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:21 pm

ikendal wrote: Low season is the best time to go. individualised tours. few tourists, excellent.


I know what you mean, I've had many holidays ruined by tourists!!!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Oct 30, 2005 2:35 pm

I went to the Tullibardine distillery yesterday and was very impressed. I came on my own (actually to buy a bottle) and was given a tour straight away, just for myself. The guide was knowledgable and spoke of the team who had restored the place as "we". They also have a very good cafe above their shop, which sold me a gourmet home made burger topped with Italian blue cheese. The chips came with home made tomato and pepper chutney.

Tullibardine may be small, and not very famous, but they have got a friendly and attractive set up. Their whisky is fandabbydozy too.
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Postby bernstein » Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:24 pm

Nick Brown wrote:Their whisky is fandabbydozy too.

Nick,
I definitely should've paid more attention during my English-lessons with Fräulein Fibrantz back in school - what's that supposed to mean? You liked it, I presume...
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Postby Aidan » Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:42 pm

You would have to watch children's TV to know what it means, rather than paying attention in class. There was a man and his wife who played a couple of school children. That ment "excellent".
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Postby Aidan » Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:43 pm

Oh, and they were called the Crankies (or Crankys, I'm not sure how you spell it).
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Postby bernstein » Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:51 pm

Aidan wrote:Oh, and they were called the Crankies (or Crankys, I'm not sure how you spell it).

:D Oh, ok. Thanks a lot, Aidan!

Cranky as "eccentric"? Well, who isn't! At least most of the folks posting around here, somehow... (no offense meant against anybody)

...and that's, what I like about it! Eh, fandabbydozy, I should say. :wink:
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Postby Aidan » Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:57 pm

Cranky as in moody, I'd say. One was a small Scottish lady, although she was a boy in the act. Confused? I am. She's probably about 60 now.
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Postby bernstein » Sun Oct 30, 2005 5:03 pm

Aidan wrote:Confused? I am.

Me to.
What were we talking about? I guess, we won't solve any of our world's problems today, call them Cranky, Fandabbydozy or whatever, let's have a dram tonight and toast to each other virtually. :D
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Postby Aidan » Sun Oct 30, 2005 5:22 pm

Sláinte mhaith agut.
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Postby bernstein » Sun Oct 30, 2005 5:28 pm

Tha e ceart agad.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Oct 30, 2005 5:48 pm

Isn't "gourmet burger" an oxymoron? Especially in the UK!

(Actually, that sounds really good, Nick--I'll have to stop in next time.)
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Sun Oct 30, 2005 8:31 pm

Unsubbed myself from the thread, so excuse me if I might miss any replies to anything I put into it :)
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