I booked at Annandale at 1500 via their website. Before my tour at Annandale, I was booked at Bladnoch and left a bit of a gap between them to allow for traffic. I actually arrived at Annandale about 1345 so checked if I could move my tour forward an hour. Fortunately, this was possible to do and I went on the 1400 tour with three other guests. Our guide was Ben, who was knowledgeable about the distillery and its history.
The tour didn't cover the mill room although the process waw discussed. We saw all of the other production areas, which at this distillery are all located in one long room. Despite being a new distillery, Annandale is actually an old distillery brought back to life. New distilleries are often all in one room, but with this being an old building, it was surprising to see.
That said, the production area is well laid out and flows from fermentation through to distillation. Ben covered each part of the tour well, both in terms of depth and also presentation style. He even told me one piece of information I've not been told before; after 217 tours of 127 distilleries, this does still happen occasionally and it's worth calling out when it does.
When the tour starts, you get your first sample to try; as I was driving I did not get this sample, but was told I'd get them supplied in bottles to take away. The final samples come when we were in the warehouse, where there was four samples to try; two of new make spirit and two of the whiskies:
- Rascally Liquor Malt Malt and New Make Spirit
- Annandale Man O' Words Lowland Single Malt
- Rascally Liquor Peated Malt Malt and New Make Spirit
- Annandale Man O' Sword Lowland Peated Single Malt
I've been to Annandale before, back in April 2016 and there have been some changes at the distillery since then. There is a much larger car park nearer to the main road; this does mean a short walk to the distillery, but there is a disaboled car park much closer for those who need it. There is also a new shop to the right of the court yard; last time I was here that was part of the cafe which is where I went when I arrived.
The distillery also now has the brown signposts on the nearby roads making the distillery much more discoverable to people passing by; being very near Annandakle town, the cafe seems to be quite busy which provides this new distillery another income stream.