Michelle is an MSc student at The University of Edinburgh. She is an aspiring freelance writer who has lived in Edinburgh for the past 4 years, and is very familiar with the city. Visit her blog https://meanderingmichelle.wordpress.com/ for more.
Published November 21st 2017
Tour and taste whisky directly from a distillery
No trip to Scotland would be complete without visiting a whisky distillery. Blair Athol Distillery and Visitor Centre is one of two distilleries in Pitlochry and having opened in 1798, it is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Within walking distance of Pitlochry and at the foot of the Grampian mountains, Blair Athol Distillery is at the gateway to the highlands and its whiskies.
While the distillery makes its own 12-year-old single malt whisky that you can buy on the premises, the majority of their whisky is used to contribute to Bell's Blended Scotch Whisky, which is one of the most popular blended whiskies in the U.K. The water they use is local, from the Allt Dour burn, and any by-products from the distilling process are (as far as possible) sold to local farmers and industries.
The tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable about the distillery and the whisky that they make. The tour itself takes you through the five core stages of the distilling process: from the malting, mashing, and fermentation, to distillation and maturation. Wooden barrels are marked with the year they were deposited, and some of the casks have whisky which has been maturing for over fifty years.
Whether you want the Standard Tour for £7.50 per person, or are willing to pay £165 for the Platinum Tour, they have a range of different types of tours which cater to every need and preference. Take care not to go with a hangover though, as the fumes and smells in the distillery can be quite strong and distinct. Go during the week to see the distillery in operation, or at the weekend for a quieter tour. Whether or not you decide to buy a bottle, you get a wee dram of the single malt at the end of the tour.
The distillery is open from 10am-4pm 362 days a year. In the summer, they stay open until 5pm. The last tour takes place an hour before closing, so make sure to check their website before you go.
Unfortunately, children under the age of 8 are not permitted on the distillery premises, and no photography is allowed inside.