You can’t have a visit to Scotland, without having a dram of whisky. Scotland is home to some of the world’s most famous distilleries, including Talisker, Dalwhinnie, Glenfiddich, Glengoyne… just to name a few.
There are hundreds of distilleries located throughout Scotland so it’s difficult to decided on where to go for a tour or a tasting. Here is where I want to pass a little travel tip from me to you: Skip the guidebook and ask a local.
We were in our lovely B&B sitting with the owners chatting about our trip, when one asked us what our plans were the next day. I mentioned that I’d love to visit a distillery, but I couldn’t decide on which. That’s when our lovely host Fiona mentioned anCnoc, a small distillery located a perfect ten minutes drive from the AirBnB spot.
To make it even better, our hosts offered a tasting of the whisky which was fuel for a few hours of chatting. (It was divine, making it easy to want to make a visit to the distillery.)
The next morning after breakfast, and with a few directions, we headed to the anCnoc distillery. And let me tell you, we needed the directions, as the distillery didn’t have a sign or marker from the side of the road!
When we finally arrived at the distillery..it was empty. No tour buses. No other tourists milling about. Heck, there wasn’t even workers onsite.
I knocked on the office door, where I was greeted by the manager. I quickly explained that I heared about the distillery from our AirB&B hosts and that I had tasted the 12 year whisky, and wondered if we could have a tour.
He could have easily said no.
Instead, in true Scottish hospitality, he said he would be happy to give us a tour, and off we went. For 1 hour, we toured around the distillery, which was absent of staff (who had the month of July off for summer holiday). He showed us the copper stills, explained the process and answered all of our questions.
Then, he took us to where the barrels were stored for ageing.
Guys, this was an old stone barn with barrels as far as the eye can see. Some of the whisky was the simple 12 year but we also spotted barrels that contained 40-year whisky. (We were two years away from that barrel being opened!)
It was beautiful, and I was in awe just a bit.
From the tour we headed back to the tasting room where I was treated to wonderful tasting across the whisky offerings of the distillery.
From start to finish, the distillery tour was simply wonderful and completely memorable. It was one of those authentic travel experiences that I couldn’t recreate, even if I tried. We were away from the guidebooks, away from the tourists and we were wonderfully traveling. Wonderfully experiencing the true Scottish culture, and I loved every moment of it.
Of course, if you are in Scotland, near Speyside, I would recommend planning a visit to anCnoc distillery. It is off the beaten path, but friends… it is wonderfully worth it.
Tell me , have you ever had a time when you felt you were traveling rather than playing tourist? I’d love to hear all about it!