Slane Distillery Full Tour (10:30 on 09/09/2018)
Slane was the first distillery I toured on my trip to Ireland. I had the tour booked in advance for 1030 on Sunday 24th September 2018.
As I typically do, I arrived a little early (operating on basis of better early than late; the Slane Distillery website asks that you arrive 15 minutes early) and had a short wait stood in the courtyard area of the distillery. The weather was quite fine. In fact, it seemed to be typical Irish weather from what I experienced; sunny, yet with clouds passing overhead.
I was touring on a Sunday which, unfortunately, meant the distillery was not in production. I'd advise people to visit during the week, so you can experience the distillery when spirit is being produced. In fact, the guide, Flann offered the same advice for my next visit.
The distillery is housed within the 250-year-old stables of the Slane Castle estate. The building is protected and had to be sympathetically restored. Brown-Foreman have done a very good job of the restoration; it's a beautiful building and a great setting for a distillery.
I was the only person on the tour and had Flann as a guide. He was very knowledgeable of the history of both Slane and Slane Castle and how a distillery came to be built here. When talking about the distillery he included details about the history, setup and restoration of the buildings.
The first part of the tour happens at an interactive map displayed on a table in the middle of the room. This is where Flann talked about the history and building of the distillery; as he discussed various aspects, he drew on the interactive map; this approach is very good as it makes it easy to follow the information.
The tour of the distillery itself was also very good, with the process well described. As we were at each part of the distillery, the relevant process was covered; not all distilleries do this, but I find it is generally the best method.
The tour was approximately 1 hour (we overran a little as we ended up chatting a lot during the tasting).
No photos are allowed in the production areas, but as many as you want can be taken outside in the grounds of the distillery.
As mentioned at the start of the review, the distillery is currently only in production during the week, so a weekend tour, as I did, will be while the distillery is silent. It is still a good tour this way, but, if you can, organise your tour for a weekday so you can see the distillery while spirit is being made.