If you’re looking for a great day out for all the family, a distillery tour is just the ticket in Scotland.
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You certainly don’t have to be a connoisseur of our national drink to enjoy a visit to the sites where it is made. There’s so much to enjoy, from the rich history to witnessing the production process first-hand and, yes, sampling the product itself.
As Lee Medd, of the Annandale Distillery in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, says: “It’s great for all ages of family. It’s not just about the whisky. It’s the science behind the flavours. Grown-ups can come along and taste our amazing single malt spirits. But at the same time, kids can come along and they can touch the malt, they can smell it, it envelopes all their senses. They can get an understanding of the science and what goes into it.”
So what does a distillery tour involve?
At Annandale the tour begins at their kiln where they tell you about the history of the distillery which lay dormant for almost 100 years. The Johnny Walker company closed the site in 1924 but it was reopened by the present owners in 2007. They spent £17.5million to overhaul it before production finally took place again in 2014.
From there it’s on to see the new spirit actually being produced. You’ll learn about Annandale’s unique twin copper stills distillation process and what makes their whisky different to drams you’d find anywhere else.
Then it’s onto the archeological site where you can see the location of the original stills from back in the 1800s. Final stop is the bonded warehouse where you can see all the casks waiting to be poured for their various owners.
Lee adds: “The tour itself lasts about an hour. It’s very interactive. You can get your hands on the casks. You can get your nose smelling what’s going on with the whisky at the different points throughout its life.”
Will I get to sample a dram or two?
Most definitely! Sure the little ones will have to sit this one out but anyone over the age of 18 can taste a range of five whiskies. They are:
- Man O’ Words – the distillery’s celebrated peated malt
- Man O’ Swords – an unpeated classic
- A peated new make spirit
- An unpeated new make spirit
- A special surprise whisky you can get on site.
On top of that, if you like what you’ve tasted you can get a bottle in the store. Or if you want to invest yourself, you can buy a cask which you can keep on site and then bottle yourself later on. Casks start at £3,000 and can store both peated and unpeated malts. It means you would have your very own whisky.
What else can I do while I’m there?
Annandale’s Maltings Coffee Shop is the Dumfries and Galloway Café of the Year. The Maltings is a cosy eatery on the distillery’s restored former malting floor and serves up treats like its Annandale Burger and handmade sausage rolls. It is dog friendly and also sells a range of craft beers.
There’s also plenty to do in the local area from visiting Rabbie Burns’ old howff, The Globe Inn in Dumfries, to indulging in some retail therapy at Caledonia Park in Gretna Green.
Annandale’s location also makes it a great choice for a distillery tour in Scotland. It’s just 15 minutes from the Border and is a two-hour drive from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stranraer. Even Newcastle is just two hours 15 minutes away.
So if you’re looking for a distillery tour in Scotland, Annandale Distillery is perfect for you. Between now and the start of the summer holidays kids under the age of 18 can experience the tour for £1. As Lee says: “It’s a great day out for all the family – from one to 100.”
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