Scotland: Whisky On The Way
Edinburgh, Inverness, Oban
Edinburgh: 3 nights
Inverness: 3 nights
Oban: 2 nights
9 Days Itinerary:
Scotland, the land of sparkling lochs, romantic castles and majestic highlands, is also identified by its famous Scotch (Scottish whisky). It is the national drink and often referred to as ‘water of life’. It is an important part of Scotland’s cultural identity. Whisky comprises Scotland's biggest export to the world.
A journey across the beautiful country will reveal the unique flavours and character of many different whiskies.
The history of whisky making in Scotland stretches back to the 11th century. Here too, as in mainland Europe, the monks were the original creators of this famous alcohol. Today, more than 100 distilleries in Scotland produce whisky based on the ancient traditions.
The unique identity of Scotch whisky is protected by certain rules. The foremost is that it should be produced in Scotland by a method specified by law and matured in oak casks for a minimum of 3 years.
Types Of Whisky:
This has to be made from 100% malted barley and distilled at a single distillery.
This has to be made from any whole cereal grain variety and distilled at a single distillery too.
This is a blend of single malt Scotch whiskies from at least two different distilleries.
This is a blend of single grain Scotch whiskies from at least two different distilleries.
This is a blend of single malt and single grain Scotch whiskies.
Main Whisky producing regions:
Scotland has five main whisky producing areas:
The Islay malts generally have a peaty or smoky character and are known for being full of flavour.
The Campbeltown whiskies are characterised by a pungent and smoky dryness.
This is the largest whisky region of Scotland. Whiskies made here are known for a heavier and drier character.
Lowland single malts are lighter and famous for their malty, zesty flavours.
The whiskies from Speyside are known for being elegant and refined, with subtle fruity and nutty notes.
Edinburgh: (3 nights)
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is a beautiful amalgamation of a medieval Old Town and a neoclassical New Town. The city is watched over by the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, one of the most popular historic destinations in Western Europe. The journey to Scotland should fittingly start from this exciting city.
And when on a Whisky pilgrimage, Edinburgh is home to some of the best Whisky experiences.
Whisky Tasting in Edinburgh:
Located at the top of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, this center has been educating visitors about the joys of Scotch whisky for more than 30 years. You can take a tour to understand the world of Scotch, enjoy a bite at the restaurant, experience a tasting session or shop for your choice of whisky.
Courtesy: Holyrood Distillery
Holyrood is a modern distillery which opened its doors in July 2019. It is situated in a three storey historic, heritage building in the heart of Edinburgh. Here, tradition and innovation combine to create a signature craft distilling process. Its guided tour includes the whisky and gin production areas, a tasting bar and a shop.
Whiski Rooms is an award winning restaurant and bar with stunning views over Princes street. Whisky tastings are hosted daily in its adjoining shop with options from Introduction to Whisky and Whisky pairing with chocolates or cheese. The restaurant serves fresh local produce and the bar offers a great variety of whiskies, beers and cocktails.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street offers fascinating experiences and exclusive cocktails and cuisine with exceptional views of Edinburgh Castle. An immersive journey through the 200 year old history of the world’s best selling Scotch whisky culminates with a signature tasting experience.
This is Scotland’s most famous landmark and one of Britain’s most visited tourist attractions. The highlights of the castle are: The Royal Palace, Honours of Scotland, National War Museum & Memorial and the Stone of Destiny amongst many more. The scenery from the top is breathtaking. There is a cafe and a tea room to enjoy light meals.
The Royal Mile is a charming street connecting Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is lined with historic landmarks, churches, shops, museums, cafés and restaurants.
This is the British Monarch’s official residence in Scotland. The opulent palace and the gardens recount the stories of its most famous residents. There are beautiful plasterwork ceilings, exquisite tapestries and grand dining service sets. It is open throughout the year except when the Queen visits once in a year.
Inverness: (3 nights)
(Around 3 hours by car from Edinburgh)
Inverness is the capital of the Scottish Highlands, a land of great natural beauty as well as home to the famous ‘Loch Ness Monster’. The city has a rich cultural heritage amidst the ruggedness surrounding it. It is a great base for exploring some of the many distilleries in two of the famous whisky regions, Highlands and Speyside.
Glenmorangie distillery has been crafting delicious single malt whiskies since 1843, now producing around ten million bottles annually. Its copper stills are known for being the tallest in Scotland. They create more space for taste and aroma leading to a fruity and delicate spirit.
The purity of the water and the quality of the oak tree casks contribute to the taste. There is a wide variety of tasting experiences offered along with the distillery tour which explains all stages from mashing and fermenting to distilling and maturation.
You can combine the visit with a stay at their luxurious boutique hotel ‘Glenmorangie House’. It is a warm, 17th century country house nestled amidst the rugged beauty of the highlands. A walk along the beach and a round of golf are all within walking distance. Their award winning chefs create culinary delights, pairing them with their best whiskies.
Founded in 1838, Glen Ord distillery is situated in the Muir of Ord village, to the north of Inverness. This is the home of the Singleton of Glen Ord single malt whiskies. The whisky making process follows hand selection and malting of its own barley to a slow batch distillation method producing a large volume of alcohol every year. Distillery tours and tastings are available at the visitor centre which also houses a museum.
Glen Ord and Glenmorangie visits can be combined in a day.
Founded in 1824 by Alexander Reid, Macallan is one of the world's leading single malt Scotch whiskies. The 485 acre estate lies amidst an area of great natural beauty.
Macallan is famous for its ‘small stills’, whose unique size and shape provide the spirit maximum contact with copper, bringing out rich, fruity, full- bodied flavours characteristic of The Macallan. The oak casks also contribute greatly to the natural colours and the distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan.
The new, award winning distillery opened in 2018, offering a range of experiences. From the guided tours, to The Macallan Bar, The Elchies Brassiere and The Macallan Boutique give an insight into ‘the process, production, people and passion’ that make their whiskies special.
Founded in 1886, Glenfiddich is one of the oldest family-owned Scotch whisky distilleries and now is one of the last independent ones remaining. It has continued to maintain its tradition of innovation with a pioneering spirit instilled by the founder William Grant. A unique feature is the use of a natural spring as a single source of water.
In 1963, Glenfiddich was the first one to introduce the single malt to the world. The visitor centre with a distillery tour was unveiled in 1969 which showcases every part of the Glenfiddich tradition. The tour includes a visit to the warehouse as well and ends with a tasting of its world famous single malts.
There is a beautiful bar with their rare, vintage whiskies on display. A gourmet meal is available at the Malt barn and the luxury store is home to a range of lifestyle products.
Sightseeing near Inverness:
One of the top attractions of the Highlands is a scenic drive along the spectacular coastline. You can spot many castles along the route. Hiking and cycling are also a great way to explore the region.
(30 min by car)
Loch Ness is one of the most iconic and famous locations in Scotland. On a boat ride on the calm waters, look for the mysterious and elusive ‘Nessie’, the Loch Ness Monster. A climb to the ruins of Urquhart castle provides panoramic views for miles around.
Oban: (2 nights)
(3 hours by car from Inverness)
Oban is a seaside town on the west coast of Scotland with a dramatic shoreline and a beautiful countryside. It is a good base to visit the many castles in and around the town, the most famous being Mccaig’s Tower. A day trip to the surrounding islands of Mull and Iona is a great way to explore the sandy beaches and enjoy hiking. On the way, you have a chance to see dolphins, porpoise and sometimes, whales.
Oban is one of the smallest Scotch distilleries. Its commitment to quality, authenticity and heritage pays homage to its history since 1794. A distillery tour is available followed by a tasting.
Though a small island, Islay has a good number of distilleries. Ardbeg, Laghavulin and Laphroaig are located next to each other and can be visited if you have an extra day.
Having travelled extensively around Scotland, this culinary journey ends with an onward flight from Edinburgh (around 3 hours 30 minutes by car from Oban).