A June Whisky tour with our friends from the Netherlands...Peter van Gijzel, Bas van Gijzel, Marc van Gijzel and Edmond Baert

A grand whisky tour it was, the tour started with  an afternoon arrival into Glasgow and a night in the city. Sunday I (Paul) met the group and we travelled past Loch Lomond to Inveraray where we stopped for lunch, then drove to Kennacraig for the ferry to Islay.  This was the brand new Calmac ferry; Finlaggan, a very nice ferry even though a wee bit more rolling than the old one. Almost 90 metres long, 5209 tons with 16.3 knots sailing, Polish built. Right, thats enough of that, we arrived at Port Askaig and made our way to Port Ellen, settled in and drove back to Bowmore for food and drinks - whisky of course!  As it was Sunday there were no distilleries open, nae bother! 

now that is a bottle of whisky! Ardbeg

Monday; out and about we headed to Lagavulin, Marc's choice, a great tour and dram there was followed quickly by Ardbeg, and eh, what a tour that was! Obviously a great tour, but we had (no me sorry to say, I was driving) at least 6 drams in the tasting room including a slightly larger than normal bottle of the good stuff!  From here to Bowmore for lunch, seafood, a very quick visit to the distillery for two drams in the tasting bar (no time for the tour) before heading to Bruichladdich for our pre booked tour, more drams! We then took a wee break, driving to Portnahaven where we sampled some beer for a change in the wee pub there, what a really pleasant harbour this is, I urge you to go see for yourself. Back to Port Charlotte for dinner, hmmmmm it was excellent, two of the lads had lobster, och they were fightin this for ages which is why I dont get it, too tricky to get the grub out. More drinks before heading back to Port Ellen for the night.  Tuesday; early start to catch the morning ferry and drove up to Oban with a stop at Kilmartin, we saw the burial cairns, standing stones and sampled the village pub for food and drink, Marc even got a free dram!!! Up to Oban and a tour of the distillery, before checking in the luggage. More seafood for dinner at the fabulous EE USK.  It was good so it was.  Wednesday; we set out east with the first visit of the day to Ben Nevis distillery in Fort William, I would say no the most popular one of the trip but worth seeing as its very different. From here to Spean Bridge, Loch Laggan and on to Speyside, where we made a visit to Glenfiddich. Finally checking into the hotel for more drams and some grub, a good day and a dram good night. It was going well, a great trip. Thursday; a grand start to the day, a wee drive and we arrived at Knockdhu, for a superb tour here with distillery manager Gordon, many thanks for one of the tour highlights! We followed this with a tour around the casks and bottle warehouse of Duncan Taylor, with a few drams of course! Lunch was taken at Deans visitor centre, then away to Strathisla distillery for more tours and tastings! Another good day ending at the hotel bar again for drams.  Friday; I can say the visit to the Cooperage was a success, everyone enjoyed that one, much more to it than you think. Then the undoubted tour highlight; BenRiach, an absolutely fantastic tour with Callum with extra special cask tastings, so good (as I told them before) that after over 2 hours, back in the van, they chatted like schoolboys, then went to sleep!  Arriving at the hotel in Perth, checked them in, went home for a breather.  Liz came doon later with her daughter Shona, we all went for a meal, a good night was ended at my local pub Christies!  Saturday; it rained, och well! First stop Edradour for a tour and several drams in the bar, another visit; Dewars world of whisky, drams again and a tour, followed by lunch in Aberfeldy.  I think on the whole, the guys liked the trip, the food, the craik and the tour in general, I just hope it was better than they all imagined and I did my job ok. Saturday night ended in the wee hours at Christies. Sunday; From Perth to Doune and a visit to the castle of the same name, our group were Monty Python fans, so we just had to! Before the airport drop, we took in Auchentoshan for several drams and the movie, no time for the tour but hey, the drams were good!  Happy flight home boys!  Och forgot to mention the extra drams on the tour, we enjoyed; Knapogue Castle whiskey, Penderryn and one or two others. I can honestly say; another successful whisky tour, yessir!



enjoying a cask dram at BenRiach

cask filling at Ardbeg

tasting at BowmoreMarc getting caught dipping into the drip bucket at Bruichladdich

Auchentoshan distillery

honest! it was this big!!!

Guests comment

Paul, On behalf of all I can say we will treasure this trip as a unique experience of the whisky world. I have been bragging about this trip already at work, they all envy us. For us, my brother, son and brother in law this trip was more than we all imagined.  We feel that we have seen Scotland in a way only possible with a guide like you. The scenery of this whisky tour was beautiful, the wonderful boat trip to Islay, the nature, the historical places and as special treat the Doune castle where Monty Python made their first feature movie. For me this made the whisky tour just perfect. Your knowledge of whisky and all details attached to it really made it a special trip which I can recommend to all. The different distilleries, the history behind it, the visit to the cooperage, your network allowing access to closed distilleries and the tastings of very special whiskies at different locations was just beyond belief (and taste). Both Peter and Bas also said that by tasting so many different kind of whisky's they learned a lot more about whisky on this trip, so 2 more "hooked" to whisky. I personally thought this trip would make all clear and that at the end I would be able to say what my personal favourite whisky's would be.  Well the conclusion is simple; thanks to you I have to conclude that not only whisky is a more diverse product I ever imagined and that there is more to whisky then Islay whisky in Speyside excellent whisky's are made. The adventure has just begun!  Marc

try one from here says Callum