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Tour Scotland - The Water of Life

A tour of Scotland with a base location in Dunkeld is close to many distilleries!

Perthshire is home to a few record distilleries, including Scotland’s smallest. Edradour Distillery, nestled in a little glen a mile east of Pitlochry, was founded in 1825 by a farming co-operative. Its copper stills are the smallest allowed under excise regulations and its output is, at most, 12 casks a week. Traditional handcrafted methods are used to produce the single malt, which is matured on site for. at least ten years. In July 2002 the distillery changed hands, being bought from Pernod Ricard by Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky, who specialise in bottling rare and distinctive malt whiskies. A month later local flash floods saw the swollen Edradour Burn rip through the site. Now, however, there is no sign of the damage and the burn babbles past rowan trees growing on lush green lawns. Edradour lies on the old north road, which runs through Moulin, which was the local centre before the railway came and Pitlochry grew up Downstream the Edradour Burn tumbles over a 60 metre drop into a narrow gorge, creating the waterfall known as Black Spout. An attractive circuit on the Pitlochry Walks network is the waymarked Edradour Walk, which runs through the lovely oaks of Black Spout Wood, linking the car park on the southeast edge of Pitlochry with the distillery. Edradour and Blair Athol Distilleries, and Moulin brewery. Edradour Distillery is closed on January 1 & 2 then open every other day with the first tour at 9.3Oam and the last at 5pm.

Glenturret Distillery, on the western outskirts of Crieff, is the oldest dis tillery in Scotland. It was built in 1775, although illicit distilling is recor ded on site as far back as 1717. Like many Scottish distilleries, it struggled during the early part of the 20th century, when war, depression and prohibition in the USA took their toll. It closed in 1923, but was reopened in 1959. The distillery has long catered for visitors, with tours and a restaur ant, but a couple of years ago it became the home of the Famous Grouse Experience. In a state of the art interactive show, visitors can learn about the exploits of a film star hero, the animatronic grouse who appears in the commercials. Outside the distillery there Is now a giant copper statue of a grouse, as well as the older, life-size statue of Towser, a cat who was the distillery’s champion mouser. Glenturret is situated on the Turret Burn and draw its water from Loch Turret. The original name of the distillery was Hosh and when the Crieff path network was created one of the routes, running between the distillery and Crieff Hydro, was called The Hosh Walk. For a short, sheltered walk from the distillery, follow signs for the first and last parts of the Currochs Walk. Cross the footbridge by the buildings and climb the bank to join the Lovers’ Walk. Follow it downstream through woods to the A85, turn right then right again to return along a farm track and field edges. The Famous Grouse Experience runs it’s first tour today (Friday) at 1030am, it is then open every other day with the first tour at 9.3Oam and the last at 430pm.

Blair Athol Distillery is barely a mile away from Edradour, a potentially confusing fact, as most newcomers would expect it to be in the village of Blair Atholl rather than the town of Pitlochry. Maybe the lack of the final ‘I’ makes the difference. It was established in 1798 and is among the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. It produces a 12-year-old single malt and is one of the main components of the popular BelI’s blend. Blair Athol is situated beside the main road into Pitlochry from Perth. It straddles the Kinnaird Burn, which flooded badly recently, sweeping away the two footbridges upstream that form part of the Pitlochry Walks network. (The lower one of these has now been replaced and the paths rerouted away from the upper one). Again the Edradour Walk runs past the distillery, which is also close to the Moulin Walk. Blair Athol Distillery reopens after the holiday break on January 5 and then has restricted tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. The free exhibition is open from 9.3Oam to 4pm.

Aberfeldy Distillery. John and Tommy Dewar established the Aberfeldy Distillery in 1898. lt is situated on the east edge of town, where the Pittiely Burn flows out the hills. The whisky distilled here is a key component of Dewars White Label and is also bottled as a single malt. Visitors to the distillery can experience the Dewar’s World of Whisky, which combines video and audio descriptions of distilling and the Dewar’s history with a guided tour. Aberfeldy Distillery aims to attract families and in summer picnic tables and a steam train draw people into the grounds. Weather permitting, the short nature trail around the woods and burn above the distillery is worth following at anytime of year. For a more energetic walk, try the Birks of Aberteldy from the centre of town or Weem Forest across the River Tay. Aberteldy Distillery reopens after the festive holiday break on Monday, January 5 and then welcomes visitors from 10am to 4pm, with the last admission at 3pm. People are advised to allow one to one and a half hours to see the film, to go round the heritage exhibition, then make the guided distillery tour.

Tullibardine Distillery. For many years there were only four active distilleries in Perthshire, but now another has recommenced distilling. Tullibardine Distillery at Blackford has been bought by a consortium of four businessmen who plan to build a tourist centre and retail attraction on site. They have bought up the remaining stock of maturing whisky, last distilled In 1994, and intend to relaunch the 10-year-old single malt on to the market. Part of the complex of whitewashed buildings which form a distinctive landmark on the A9 Stirling to Perth road has been demolished to make way for the new visitor centre The Baxters Food Group are among the major retailers committed to the attraction which is set to become a tourist gateway to the north.

Stronachie Distillery is one of the many that closed when the industry went into severe decline in the early 20th century. It had a relatively short life as it was only established in 1900 and closed in 1928. The distillery was also one of the remotest, being on high ground miles from the nearest town. Situated in the Ochil Hills, on the minor road between Milnathort and Path of Condie, it had greater problems of supply than the distilleries in the straths and glens Complaints that heavy vehicles serving it were tearing up the already poor road led to the construction of a narrow gauge railway parallel to the Milnathort road. An engine that resembled a tractor more than a locomotive pulled the wagons. Water came from Cairnavain Burn, named after a mysterious cairn that, legend has it, contains treasure.

Interested in a Tour of Distilleries of Scotland ?
Please e-mail: Sandy Stevenson

Or contact my representative in the USA:

Paula Ryan - Owner-Agent
The Travel Connection, Ltd
1221 West Walnut
Rogers, AR 72756

Please e-mail: Paula Ryan

Scottish Whisky
Scottish Distillery
Scottish Distillery
Aberfeldy Distillery
Whisky Tours of Scotland
Edradour Distillery
Glenturret Distillery
Blair Atholl Distillery
Whisky Tours of Scotland