What visits will 2020 bring?

31 December 2019

I stated the other day I had visited 53 distilleries in 2019, but later realised I had not added Tullamore to my timeline so I have actually visited 54.

I have started planning my visits for 2020 and, based on current plans, I will be visiting distilleries in the following regions:

  1. South Carolina
  2. North Carolina
  3. Tennessee
  4. Kentucky
  5. Scottish Islands
  6. Campbeltown
  7. Islay

As I travel around, I also hope to pick up a few distilleries in the following countries:

  1. England
  2. Republic of Ireland
  3. Northern Ireland

The majority of the distilleries will be whiskey or rum, but there may be a few other types sneak through.

2019 Distillery Tours – The Perfect 10s in Scotland

28 December 2019

In 2019 I visited 35 distilleries in Scotland; one rum distillery (Meadow Road, home to Wester Spirits) and thirty three Scotch whisky distilleries spread across the Lowlands, Highlands and Speyside regions.

Seven of these distilleries had tours which got a perfect 10 rating.

The GlenAllachie Distillery

Those distilleries are (in order of visit):

  1. Fettercairn
  2. Tomintoul
  3. The GlenAllachie (pictured above)
  4. Ballindaloch
  5. BenRiach
  6. Knockdhu
  7. The Balvenie

I also visited the Speyside Cooperage to do the VIP Tour which I’d also rate as a 10.

2019 Distillery Tours – The Perfect 10 in England

17 December 2019

In 2019, I only visited two distilleries in England and only one of them scored a 10 after my visit. That was the City of Manchester Distillery where I visited to do the Rum Experience.

City of Manchester Distillery

The distillery wasn’t the easiest to find, in part because Google Maps places it on the wrong side of the street, and partly because I expected it to be a building rather than built into the arches under a railway bridge.

The rum experience is a comprehensive one which covers the history of sugar cane agriculture as well as the history of rum. You’ll try several different rums and almost always have one in your hand. From the painkiller cocktail when you arrive to the zombie at the end.

This isn’t just a tour, but an experience where you get to distil your own rum and then bring it away to age in a little oak cask.

The City of Manchester distillery currently only sells the Manchester Three Rivers Small Batch Dry Gin, but I look forward to tryingtheir rum when it launches.

2019 Distillery Tours – The Perfect 10 in Wales

7 December 2019

Coles Distillery was the fourth distillery I visited in 2019 and is set in south-west Wales. I had originally intended to do a two-week trip around Scotland, but failed to do any planning so changed it last minute to a week in Wales.

During that week, I visited three other distilleries in Wales, but Coles was the stand out tour and the only one in Wales which I rated a 10. Coles Distillery is set in the beautiful Carmarthenshire country side in the village of Llanddarog, the dark timber clad building no different to a large garden shed behind the White Hart Inn.

Coles Distillery looking inwards

The distillery is owned by the same family who run the White Hart Inn and uses a lot of custom designed equipment giving the distillery a unique feel. The tour needs to be booked in advance and is conducted by one of the distillery founders meaning you not only get to see the distillery, but also hear about its founding and the equipment used within.

The distillery makes a range of different spirits which you get to sample at the end of the tour, after which you can purchase bottles if you want; I opted to go for bottles of a few of their rums and a plum brandy.

The tour is nicely timed so that you can then take in a very nice lunch in the family pub.

2019 Distillery Tours – The Perfect 10s

6 December 2019

In 2019 I have visited 53 distilleries across five countries. The quality of tours has been somewhat mixed, but I thought as we come to the end of the year, I’d highlight those which scored a perfect 10.

I’ve done a mix of tours over the year, from the standard 40 minute mass-tourist tour to the in-depth tour for the real enthusiast. My ratings are based on the type of tour and how well it meets it’s market.

This does mean that an in-depth tour which doesn’t compare to the best of it’s competitors in that market won’t be included, even though it might be a better tour than one aimed to the mass market, whereas the mass-market one will be included if it exceeds expectations for its market.

Over the coming days, I’ll be doing a post per distillery which met my criteria this year for a perfect 10 rating.

2019 Distillery Tours - The Perfect 10s
2019 Distillery Tours - The Perfect 10 in Wales
2019 Distillery Tours - The Perfect 10 in England
2019 Distillery Tours - The Perfect 10s in Scotland
2019 Distillery Tours - The Perfect 10s in Ireland
2019 Distillery Tours - The Perfect 10 in Northern Ireland