If you choose a Scottish cruise for your holiday, there’s a good chance you’re a fan of whisky. No journey in Scotland takes you far from a distillery and the good news is one of the most popular cruising routes starts in Inverness, a place within easy reach of the distinctive whisky region of the Highlands. The tipple produced here is usually full-bodied with smokey notes that complement fruit cake flavours and a dried fruit finish.
On your Scottish cruise, you’re bound to have the chance to visit a distillery or two. Here are some of the best ones, close to Inverness, to look out for.
Honey, citrus and vanilla are the forward notes of the world-famous dram produced here. Located at 355m above sea level, it is the country’s highest distillery. Stunning views over the Cairngorms are the backdrop to your tasting tour, which covers the art of distilling as well as plenty of tasting options. Chocolate is offered as a nibble, as it is deemed to be the perfect accompaniment. There will be advice on whisky pairings and lots of opportunity to ask questions too. Don’t leave without your free Dalwhinnie glass!
There are several tours catering to all tastes offered at this interesting spot, famous for its Singleton of Glen Ord. Recognised as the only producer of single malt in Black Isle, this company exports its aged single malt to South Asia, so one of the few places in Europe you can buy it is at the distillery itself. The other spirit made here is used in the Johnnie Walker and Dewar’s blended tipples. Tours include samples, of course!
Another producer that makes a key spirit component of the Johnnie Walker blends, this one also produces its own single malt. More than 100 years ago, a husband and wife team set up the venture and Helen Cumming (the wife) is famous for distilling the first gallon of the Cardhu tipple we know today. She is believed to be the only woman to have been the innovation behind a Scottish malt whisky. Tours give you a fascinating insight into the unique history and a tasting as well.
The spirit produced here is renowned for being soft and fruity. Much of the final liquid is used for blends but they also make Talisman and Antiquary, which are both unique and full of character. A tour here offers you the chance to bottle your own spirit straight from the cask.
This distillery is a little different, as it ceased making whisky in 1983, after 84 years of production. Today though, it is a museum that’s well worthy of a visit. An audio guide takes you through the history of the golden liquor and covers its production, from steam powered distillation to kiln dried barley over a peated fire. The tour culminates in a tasting, so you won’t go home thirsty!
Scottish cruises offer a wonderfully relaxing way to explore some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, historic towns and deep rooted culture. Book your Scottish cruise with a reputable tour operator and you can rest assured that the practicalities will be taken care of, leaving you free to enjoy the planning and look forward to the fabulous whisky you’ll get to taste.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holidays if you’re looking for a relaxing Scottish cruise, or itineraries to a host of other excellent destinations. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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