How does it compare to Dewars/Aberfeldy, which is aimed at a similar audience?
Mrs C and I have just returned from Dewars World of Whisky. Compared to yesterday's effort the difference was like chalk and cheese.
The reception area was professional and friendly and the staff were eager to accommodate. They appeared to take pride in what they were doing. The self guided tour started with a video show in a purpose built theatre. It was an interesting bit of film and the sound level was pitched just right (Famous Grouse take note. It's a distillery - not a night club!)
The mock up of the Dewars' study was filled with whisky trivia and there were enough gizmos to keep everyone interested. The mock blending room was also of interest and the hand held audio guides allowed us to go at our own pace.
The sampling was better than the Grouse effort (although I thought the scratch and sniff cards were quite good) and we saw our dram being freshly poured! We also had a choice of three to try.
The coffee bar was pleasant and relaxed (as was the whole day) and the food on offer was locally produced and of good quality.
We then went on a tour of the distillery itself, conducted by a guide whose father had been one of the stillmen at Aberfeldy. She clearly knew her stuff and the tour was very informative including a bit about the part played by the cask.
I have no hesitation in recommending a visit to Dewars and the chances are we'll be back. There is quite a lot to take in.
I wholly agree with your comments about tour guides and it being a management problem. Grouse always seem to be advertising for staff - (there are four vacancies at the moment) so staff turnover must be a problem. There seemed to be little enthusiasm from anyone in the place and it strikes me that the management must take a fair whack of responsibility for that.
I agree with a lot of what you say - I wasn't necessarily having a pop at the Grouse guide (I'm sure she's a really nice person), but no-one got a chance to ask her anything. It was far to quick and I'm sorry, but if she didn't know her stuff, she shouldn't have strayed from the basic script. Whether it was poor training or simply she shouldn't have been there the end result felt like a tacky, ill informed rip off. The cost of the tour was comparatively expensive, and a £2 discount from Glenturret 10yo only, was not much of an inducement. It was just not value for money.
The difference between yesterday and today was entusiasm, attention to detail, value for money and customer care. Yes, I probably already know what tour guide is telling me - but that's not why I go on tours. I want to feel the spirit of the place - if there is poor attention to detail at that level, why should I believe that the same disinterest doesn't permeate through to the distillation?
I'll report back on other distilleries we hope to visit including Tullibardine, Edradour, Blair Athol and Springbank (a bit off the beaten track but Mrs C insisted on some sort of holiday away from home