Visit a distillery! What could possibly interest me in a whiskey distillery? Especially when I have to find it somewhere in a place the Scottish call the highlands. They say that these whiskey distilleries are all over Scotland, not just in the Highlands, but also in the Lowlands
I only indulge in a double whiskey with one block of ice on special occasions. If the truth be told, I do have more than one. Admittedly, when I have such a treat, it is thoroughly enjoyed. Up till now, I never had a clue or gave any thought to how whiskey was made or its history. Did you know there are over 180 whiskey distilleries in Scotland? This alone tells me there must be plenty of history on the subject. Before I start, can anybody tell me why in Britain we spell whiskey like this, whiskey and the Americans spell it with an E, like this, whiskey???
I am not an expert on the subject of whiskey making and tasting. With my limited knowledge on how whiskey is made, I could most definitely taste the differences from distillery to distillery. This validates each distilleries claim to the uniqueness of their product. I have however developed a great fascination with the history and the methods used to produce fine whiskies of all varieties.
In total, I visited 34 whiskey distilleries in Scotland and covered 1470 Kilometers in doing so. My journey took me from the Lowlands to the Highlands, from the east coast to the west coast. It was a great privilege to be in a position to do this journey. Covering such a distance was a great pleasure because the drive from one distillery to another went through such a beautiful country. As a photographer would do, I took many photographs of the distilleries I visited. When you check the rest of my website, you will see many of these photographs have been produced as full colour drinks coasters.
Any photographer travelling through Scotland from distillery to distillery will without a doubt find many opportunities to take spectacular landscape photographs. If you enjoy history, there are many opportunities to photograph historical places in the small villages you pass through. I have stayed in many Bed & Breakfast establishments throughout Scotland and have never been disappointed. They always offer excellent value. I do however advise you to phone ahead and book a room. By doing this you can not only establish the price but can also make sure they are open as some of these establishments are seasonal.
Not all the distilleries are open to the public. Some are open all year round and others are open during specified months of the year. Contact the local tourist information service in the area of the distillery and ask for details. Many of the bigger producers have websites giving all the necessary details.
On my visit, it was obvious just how proud the staff were of their distillery, its processes and its history. This was clearly evident when I asked one of them a simple question, “How old is this distillery,” The lady then proceeded to not only provide me with the answer but also how it all began. Often you can pay a small amount and go on a guided tour. These tours are definitely worth it as you get to see the actual workings of the distillery. The guides will always answer any questions. After completing one guided tour, I was a bit reluctant to pay again to do another guided tour in a different distillery because I thought they would all be the same. Well, I did try another guided tour and it was worth every penny. They certainly are not all the same. 강남풀싸롱
What I did not realise was that each and every one has its own secrets. Although the basic processes for producing whisky are very similar, each distillery is unique in its layout, its smells and general presentation. They pride themselves on their successes, the fact that their water source is the cleanest in the world or perhaps their whiskey has a unique taste because the oak vats are left outside to absorb the sea air when not being used. I know of one, The Edradour Distillery, which proudly announces it is the smallest distillery in Scotland. I also learnt that many of the oak vats used are imported from the USA. The distilleries also have little shops where you can purchase their products. Some of them have exhibits on display for the visitor to see. I came across a museum dedicated to whisky making in a small village called Dufftown. Although the museum was small, its content was fascinating. A few of the distilleries I visited also had restaurants where you could sit down and enjoy a small meal. Some of the prices in my opinion are a bit high but then I think you’re paying for the convenience of having a restaurant in a whiskey distillery.
Some of the distilleries are very old so you can understand why many of the building have such an old style look to them. Have a look at my website http://www.photoguideproductions.co.uk There is record to show that Robert Haig established his distillery in 1627.They are however well maintained and spotless. I enjoyed walking around on the guided tours and experiencing the unique smells and imagining what it must have been like working in the distillery two or three hundred years ago when there was very little consideration given to working conditions or health and safety practises. It must have been a hard job in those days.
All too soon I had to turn around and head back home. I certainly learnt that you need at least 2 months to visit all the distilleries in Scotland. Now I sit in my study and think about the old whisky distilleries with their individual characters. The drive from distillery to distillery and all the good people I met along the way and the fascinating places I saw made it all very worthwhile.