10 things every whisky lover should know before heading to Scotland

For every whisky lover, it’s the ultimate pilgrimage:   After listening jealously to other people’s travels and dreaming of making it to the promised land, you’ve FINALLY saved up for and planned your first whisky trip to Scotland.  Exciting times!

Of course, every first-timer always asks the same questions in the early stages of planning:  Where’s the best place to stay?  Which distilleries should I visit?  Should I hire a car?  Do I have time to get to Islay?  How many days should I spend in Speyside?  Is the trip up to Orkney worth it? 

Naturally, the answers to these are highly subjective and individual.  They’ll depend on your budget, the amount of time you can spare, which distilleries are your favourites, and what transport options are at your disposal.  But there are a few things to appreciate about visiting distilleries that you won’t read in the guide books or find online.  Here are ten things you ought to know before heading off to Scotland…

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Unknown Heroes

When was the last time you poured yourself a healthy dram of Braeval?  Or had a good swig of Miltonduff?  How about a Glenburgie?  Or an Allt-a-Bhainne?   An Auchroisk?  Dufftown perhaps?  Have you even heard of these distilleries, let alone seen a bottle of their whisky at your local liquor retailer?

What about Ardbeg?  Oban?  Bruichladdich?  These names are more familiar, yes?  And, chances are, you’ve had a dram of their product more than once or twice on your malt journey.

The irony here is that the first group listed above are some of the biggest distilleries in Scotland.  And the second group are amongst the smallest.   There’s a cliched conclusion here that you might have heard before:  Size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it that counts!

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