Highland Distillery Experience
A classic Highland tour itinerary would first whisk the enthusiast 15 miles south-east from Inverness to the multi-award winning Tomatin Distillery*, opened in 1897. Famed for a distinctive character drawn from the naturally soft water of Alt-na-Frith burn, the various single malts are renowned for subtle flavour. Open all-year round, Tomatin offers ‘Legacy’, ‘Taste of Tomatin’ and ‘Single Cask Experience’ tours rounded off by tastings. There is even the opportunity to bottle and take home your own cask strength whisky.
From Tomatin, it is a swift and smooth 27 miles back up the A9 to Glen Ord Distillery* and visitor centre on the rich, fertile soil of the Black Isle peninsula. Born from a MacKenzie family heritage with a 700-year connection to the parcel of land, Glen Ord’s rich flavours are nurtured from sweet Black Isle barley and pure waters of the nearby White Burn to create a unique dram of vibrant colour – The Singleton of Glen Ord. Thomas MacKenzie chose the site for his distillery in 1838 and the history and techniques of the fine craft are vividly in a range of six tours.
A 30-minute drive north of Glen Ord takes us to Dalmore distillery* in the town of Alness. The Dalmore draws inspiration from the ‘Legend of the Brave’, where in 1263 Colin of Kintail, Chief of the Clan Mackenzie, reputedly saved the life of King Alexander III of Scotland when, during a hunt, a distressed stag charged. Only brave Colin, among a group of men, acted impulsively to spare the Monarch and earn royal favour. Most importantly, Colin of Kintail and his Mackenzie clan were given the right to bear a 12-pointed Royal Stag as their crest – a symbol to this day emblazoned on Dalmore’s produce. The distillery, built from scratch by Alexander Matheson in 1839 above a wild and remote stretch of shoreline, offers a fascinating tour and tasting giving rare insight into the skill, expertise and craft imbued in each precious drop.
Just 15 miles further north sits the Glenmorangie distillery*, by the shores of the Dornoch Firth. Glenmorangie, meaning ‘valley of tranquillity’ in Scots Gaelic, was first created in 1843. Glenmorangie’s single malts, distilled for pure flavour and fragrance in Scotland’s tallest stills – the height of an adult giraffe – are acclaimed for smoothness, richness and intriguing complexity. The tour offers a wealth of insight into how the legendary ‘Men of Tain’ have for generations crafted these wonderful flavours.
As with all our individual tours, flexibility is essential given the great array of choice. We can easily tweak or build fresh itineraries to suit every taste and interest.