The Ultimate Scotch Whisky Tour

13 Nights; 14 Days

Accommodations:
The Machrie Hotel (Day 1,2,3)
Isle of Eriska Hotel (Day 4)
Inverlochy Castle Hotel (Day 5)
Craigellachie Hotel (Day 6,7,8)
Fonab Castle (Day 9,10)
Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel (Day 11,12,13)

Also Includes:
Executive Vehicle and Private Driver.
All Admissions.
Your very own dedicated Travel Co-ordinator (assigned at point of booking).

 

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    What’s Included?

    breakfast

    Breakfast at all Hotels Included

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    Personalised itinerary

    car

    Executive vehicle hire according to itinerary

    driver

    Professional driver for route according to itinerary

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    Services of private local guides in activities according to itinerary

    admissions

    Admissions to all sites according to itinerary

    hotel

    Accommodations according to itinerary

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    Your very own dedicated Travel Co-ordinator (assigned at time of booking)

    Day One - Welcome to Whisky Country

    Transport: Executive vehicle & Private Driver Guide
    Accommodation: The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links (3 Nights)

    At last, you have finally made it to what will be your most memorable holiday to date!
    When you arrive at Edinburgh (or Glasgow) airport, you will take the connecting flight to Islay.

    Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by your chauffeur guide at the arrivals gate, who will take you from the airport to The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links. Here you can take full advantage of the hotel’s facilities to help wind down from a long day of travel.  Its luxurious spa offers a variety of services to help you recuperate, including facials, massages, pedicures and a number of other body treatments.

    Set in the dunes of Islay in the Inner Hebrides, The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links is a popular holiday destination for avid golfers due to its 18-hole links course and excellent hospitality.  The look and feel of the hotel is low-key contemporary luxe that deliberately avoids the tartan fantasia that commonly adorns other hotels in the Highlands, providing a sense of individuality.

    In the evening you will dine in the hotel restaurant, ‘18’. This sleek and stylish space offers log fires and sea views which can be enjoyed from the outdoor terrace. Fresh, local Scottish produce is used to craft a menu which includes Scottish partridge, sea trout, and North Sea hake.

    Day Two - Peaty Perfection on Islay

    Laphroaig & Lagavulin Distilleries

    Transport: Executive vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: The Machrie Hotel

    Once you have appeased your appetite with a luxurious breakfast, your private driver will be ready to begin your wondrous whisky tour of Islay’s most famous southern distilleries: Lagavulin and Laphroaig.

    However, before getting stuck into the whisky tours, your driver will take you to see the American Monument on the south-western point of Islay known as The Oa. There are a lot of sea birds in the area, such as kittiwakes and fulmars, and the surrounding cliffs are typically Scottish in their rugged beauty. Erected as a monument to American servicemen who died when two troop carrier ships went down off Islay in 1918.

    Starting with the Laphroaig Distillery, you will be taken on a unique whisky experience where you will learn more about its rich past. The distillery will have felt like they were awarded the crown in 1994 when Prince Charles issued the Islay operation with a Royal Warrant – becoming the first and only whisky distillery to be recognised by the Prince of Wales.

    Unsurprisingly, it is reputed that the Laphroaig 15 year old is his favourite dram, adding a regal tinge to its character which helps to raise it above other malts.

    Before heading to the next distillery, you have a lunch reservation at the Islay Hotel in Port Ellen. This delightful little hotel commands views over the harbour and sandy beaches and has its very own whisky bar, so you’re never too far from a dram. A special mention has to go to their seafood medley, a firm local favourite.

    Next you will visit the Lagavulin distillery. The tour will show how the distillers do their work as well as demonstrating the complex process that contributes to Lagavulin’s complex, peaty character.

    The distillery produces arguably the finest whiskies in the world, due to the international recognition it receives through revered connoisseurs that have described Lagavulin as being ‘as close to perfection as makes no difference.’ During the tour, you will see how the golden liquid is made as well as being treated to a few drams at the end.

    Having gained a full insight into one of Islay’s prestigious distilleries, you will be chauffeured back to the Machrie Hotel for an evening of dining and relaxation.

    After dinner this evening you will be invited to a Private Screening Room where you will be able
    to relax and enjoy a whisky themed movie – There are plenty to choose from, but we highly recommend The Golden Dram (2018).

    Day Three - A Taste of Islay

    Bowmore Distillery Tour, Ardnahoe Distillery, Bruichladdich Warehouse Experience, Whisky Tasting at The Machrie, Sunset at Machir Beach

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: The Machrie Hotel

    Once you have awakened, arisen and assuaged your hunger with a relaxing breakfast, your driver will continue your exploration of Islay. Your journey today will begin at the Bowmore Distillery Tour to kick off a fine day of events. Here in Islay’s capital, their tours will give you a privileged insight into life behind the distillery gates and show you first-hand how they work their magic. You will have the opportunity to experience almost two and a half centuries worth of history in a glass fresh from the cask in Bowmore’s renowned No.1 Vaults, an old stone warehouse sitting on Loch Indaal. You will also be treated to a coveted 100ml cask sample.

    After you have seen, learned and consumed enough Bowmore, you’ll stop for lunch at Ardnahoe Distillery, where you can indulge yourself in their sumptuous menu designed to encompass a range of tastes and showcase Islay’s outstanding gastronomic fayre.

    Following a delicious lunch, you will be taken to the Bruichladdich Distillery to enjoy a wonderful Warehouse Experience tour where you will learn all about the unique history and character of this distinct whisky.

    Your chauffeur will then escort you back to The Machrie Hotel where you will enjoy a delicious meal followed by a whisky tasting, arranged by the hotel, allowing you to compare 5 malts from the different surrounding distilleries.

    And there is one final treat for the day. The Machrie Hotel are lucky enough to own their own secluded wooden platform down on Machir beach and will arrange for a fire pit, blankets, and deck chairs so you can sit back and enjoy the sunset. Picnic hampers with wine can also be supplied.

    Day Four - West Highlands Welcome

    Ferry from Islay to Kennacraig, Oban, Oban Distillery, McCaig Tower

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Isle of Eriska Hotel, Benderloch/Near Oban (1 Night)

    After a satisfying breakfast your private driver will be waiting and you be taken to the ferry port and bid farewell to Islay, crossing back to Kennacraig on the mainland.

    Once back on the mainland your guide will drive you along the beautiful West Coast of Scotland. Your private driver knows all the best photo stops, so make sure to have your camera at the ready!

    Your lunch reservation today is at Crinan Seafood Bar. While there are extensive seafood options, such as Gigha oysters, Loch Fyne scallops, or Crinan seafood stew, there are also vegan, vegetarian, and children’s menus available.

    After lunch it’s onwards to the seaside town of Oban (Gaelic for ‘little bay’). Here you will get a chance to explore this quaint seaside town before heading to Oban Distillery for the Sensory & Flavour tour. Nestled below a steep cliff that overlooks Oban, this coastal location is home to one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland.

    When visiting Oban, you will not be able to help but notice McCaig’s Tower, standing tall and proud on the town’s skyline. The Colosseum-like Tower takes only 10 minutes to walk to from the town centre. Drink in the spectacular views over Oban and the neighbouring islands.

    Your driver will then take you on a scenic drive to Eriska, near Oban, where you’ll find the 5 Star Isle of Eriska, a spectacular hotel on a private island, connected to the mainland by a delightful little bridge.

    This evening, you will enjoy a fine dining experience in the Hotel’s restaurant, ‘The Deck’. Spoiled with marvellous views over the golf course and Loch Linnhe, this is the perfect spot to enjoy the wide selection of mouth-watering dishes on offer.

    Day Five - Scenic Tranquility

    Castle Stalker View, Glen Etive, Fort William, Glenfinnan Viaduct & Monument, Ben Nevis Distillery Tour

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Inverlochy Hotel, Fort William (1 Night)

    As you continue your tour round Scotland, your first stop today will be to see the stunning Castle Stalker. Stopping at The Castle Stalker View, the viewpoints here offer panoramic views of Castle Stalker, Mull, and Loch Linnhe. Be sure to have your camera at the ready once more!

    You will then travel to the iconic mountain of Buchaille Etive Mor, standing in all its glory, and you will be taken on a little de-tour along Glen Etive. A single track road to the head of Loch Etive is a vision to behold.  Those familiar with the 007 James Bond movie ‘Skyfall’ may recognise the idyllic setting.

    From there you will be heading to the remarkable Glenfinnan. Harry Potter fans will be excited to get the chance to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the bridge that carries the Hogwarts Express on its way to that world-famous school of witchcraft and wizardry. There is also the Glenfinnan Monument, a huge tower overlooking Loch Shiel which stands in memory of those who died for the Jacobite cause.

    For lunch today you will be tucking into some delights at Crannog Seafood Restaurant, a pretty, red-roofed seafood restaurant serving fresh seafood and allowing views over Loch Linnhe.

    You will then be taken to the Ben Nevis Distillery. Nestled at the foot of the famous Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in Britain), this is an impressive setting indeed for a distillery. You will embark on a guided tour of the distillery, visiting the old warehouse (dating back to 1862) and enjoy a special audio-visual presentation. You will then visit the production areas with your Ben Nevis Distillery guide. Finally, of course, your whisky tour would not be complete without tasting a few delicious Ben Nevis drams.

    After a long day of touring, you will be taken to Inverlochy Castle, your accommodation for the evening. This beautiful 19th century castle is surrounded by the luscious trees and a picturesque nearby loch.  Described by many as ‘the most prestigious hotel in Scotland’, you will enjoy an unrivalled service in these tranquil surroundings.

    The award-winning Chez Roux restaurant is where you will dine for the evening. After dinner you can retreat to the grandeur of your opulent suite, to finish an eventful day in relaxation.

    Day Six - Highland Discovery

    Private Boat Tour of Loch Ness, Lunch at the Garden Restaurant, Benromach Distillery, Aberlour

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Craigellachie Hotel, Aberlour (3 Nights)

    This morning you will make your way to the village of Drumnadrochit, on the shores of Loch Ness.
    Here you will join your private boat, the “Cluaran Dubh”, meet your skipper Gordon and embark on your Private Boat Tour of Loch Ness which lasts for around an hour. You will enjoy stunning views of Loch Ness, The Great Glen, and Urquhart Castle. Gordon, your skipper, was born, raised, and still lives on the Loch Ness shores. He will enlighten you with anecdotes such as witches casting spells to protect Nessie ‘The Loch Ness Monster’ from cryptozoologists. A charming and entertaining journey with awe-inspiring scenery throughout.

    After a busy morning of touring, you might like a relaxing lunch stop at Boath House. The Garden Restaurant, set within their beautiful gardens offers a tasty menu, using ingredients foraged from the surrounding garden. You will enjoy exquisite views and a tranquil dining experience.

    You will then be treated to a tour of Benromach distillery which was first established in 1898 and to this day produces some exquisite, peaty malts using traditional methods.

    Your accommodation for the next three nights will be Craigellachie Hotel, Scotland’s oldest whisky hotel and home to one of the finest whisky bars in the world, The Quaich. You will enjoy dinner in the cosy Spey Inn bar and restaurant. Here you’ll find Grants of Speyside haggis bon bons with whisky glaze, fish and chips, and the Craigellachie beef burger.

    Day Seven - Speyside Exploration

    Cardhu Distillery, Speyside Cooperage Tour, Falconry

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Craigellachie Hotel, Aberlour

    Your first stop this morning will be at Cardhu distillery where you will enjoy be taken on the Cardhu Flavour Journey Tour. This tour will tantalise your tastebuds as you sample some truly world class whisky after hearing all about the history of this staple Scottish favourite.

    One of the fundamental aspects of making whisky is storing them in the wooden casks, the construction of which is a traditional craft that has been passed down through the ages. You will learn the intricacies of this process on the Speyside Cooperage Tour. The tour includes an immersive 4-D presentation and a chance to watch the masters at work from the viewing gallery. You will then have lunch in the barrel-themed coffee shop which serves an assortment of soups, sandwiches, and cakes.

    After lunch we have something a little different planned for you. You will get the chance to get up close and personal with some magnificent birds of prey on the Speyside falconry experience. Experienced falconry experts will be on hand to make you feel like a natural in no time as you let these beautiful birds fly to your protective glove.

    You will then head back to the Craigellachie to enjoy some drinks in the famous Quaich whisky bar before dinner reservations at Dowan’s 57 restaurant in Aberlour. Serving only the freshest local produce, this spot has gained a fantastic reputation for fine Scottish dining. There are many delicious dishes on offer but we highly recommend the haggis, neeps, and tatties with whisky cream sauce, which is simply heavenly.

    Day Eight - The Kings of Speyside

    Glenlivet Distillery, Glenfiddich Distillery

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Craigellachie Hotel, Aberlour

    After breakfast, your driver will be waiting to take you to Glenlivet Distillery where you will be taken on the Single Casks experience. Here you will get to sample four exclusive single cask drams and compare them, allowing you to understand the particular flavours and colouring which various types of cask can impart on the whisky.

    From there you will be heading to Glenfiddich Distillery where you will first have lunch at the Malt Barn, an expertly decorated space dripping in class.

    Having had your fill, you will then be taken on an extra special tour, the Glenfiddich Solera: Deconstructed Tour. This one is for the true enthusiasts. You will do the standard distillery tour, then visit warehouse 8, home to Glenfiddich’s distinct solera process where you will learn just how they make their 15 year old so special. You will also have the chance to create your very own version of the 15 year old by combining various casks together. You can even keep a small bottle of your creation to take home.

    You will then return to the Craigellachie Hotel for one final evening of splendid luxury.

    Day Nine - The Beautiful Cairngorms

    Cairngorms National Park, Royal Lochnagar Distillery, Lunch at the Flying Stag, Drive via the Cairnwell Pass, Pitlochry

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Fonab Castle, Pitlochry (2 Nights)

    After breakfast, your chauffeur will be waiting to take you through the magnificent Cairngorms National Park. There aren’t many wilder places in the UK than the Cairngorms, which is a truly beautiful and utterly rugged part of Scotland. Spectacular mountains and vast moorland combine, providing a wonderful sense of seclusion from the hustle and bustle of the world. Keep an eye out for some of the wildlife who call this home, including capercaillies, golden eagles, red deer, and red squirrel.

    You will then embark on the expressions tour at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery which involves a tour of the distillery, as well as the filling store and warehouse. Following this you will be guided through a tutored tasting experience, sampling some exclusive and rare whisky.

    The next stop will be for lunch at The Flying Stag bar in The Fife Arms. Not many bars are designed by artists, but The Flying Stag was created by artist James Prosek who came up with the concept of the hybrid between a stag and a ptarmigan, a bird that lives high in the Cairngorms. The bar is truly a sight to behold and a perfect spot for enjoying a menu bursting with fresh Scottish favourites.

    On your onward journey you will have the pleasure of driving over the Cairnwell Pass, one of the highest roads in the UK at an elevation of 2,200ft above sea level. It is also very steep at numerous sections, but don’t worry, your experienced driver knows just how to drive this magnificent road.

    You will then be driven to your accommodation for the night, Fonab Castle. This 5 star hotel and spa has been restored to the highest standards and enjoys picture perfect views across the Perthshire countryside and the river Tummel. In the evening you will enjoy exquisite fine dining in the 3 AA Rosette Sandeman’s Restaurant. Surrounded by wood-panelled walls and ornate furniture, tuck into the seven-course tasting menu full of classic dishes with an extra twist.

    Day Ten - Perthshire Indulgence

    Highland Chocolatier, Aberfeldy Distillery, Champagne Afternoon Tea at Dunkeld House, Pitlochry, Pod Dining Experience

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Fonab Castle, Pitlochry

    By all means have a big breakfast, but we recommend leaving a little room for something extra as you’re in for a treat at your first stop, The Highland Chocolatier. Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett crafts premium chocolates that you will not find anywhere else in the world. Only the finest and freshest natural ingredients are used, such as the single-origin cocoa sourced from São Tomé, an island in the South Atlantic. If you have a special someone you want to buy a gift for, this is the spot as Iain’s truffles have not once but twice been voted the best in world. You will get to enjoy a guided chocolate tasting experience to round off the visit.

    From there you will pay a visit to Aberfeldy Distillery to go on their distillery tour where you will hear all about this distillery in the beautiful surroundings of Aberfeldy.

    For lunch today you will be sampling a wide array of delicious treats by having afternoon tea at Dunkeld House, who are proud to carry on the tradition of having afternoon tea which was all started by the seventh Duchess of Bedford. Nowadays the traditional afternoon tea is made all the more pleasing by enjoying it with a glass of prosecco or delicious cocktails, such as the “tea with Jemima Puddle Duck”.

    You will then travel to the town of Pitlochry for a chance to wander around and explore this charming spot which sits on the beautiful River Tummel.

    This evening you will have an experience to remember as you dine in Fonab Castles unique pods. Situated in the grounds of the castle, so surrounded by beautiful trees and views of Loch Faskally, these pods offer a dining experience that is truly different. You can set the temperature, play your own music, and will be looked after by your own personal server. And, of course, the food is simply delicious, so we are sure you will have an unforgettable experience.

    Day Eleven - The Historic East

    Glenturret Distillery, The Lalique Bar, Stirling Castle

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Kimpton Charlotte Square, Edinburgh (3 Nights)

    Your first stop this morning will be Glenturret Distillery where you will enjoy a tour of Scotland’s oldest working distillery with records proving there was a working distillery on this site in 1763, a quite extraordinary length of time to be producing such high quality whisky.

    You will then have lunch reservations at the Lalique Bar at Glenturret Distillery. Specialising in hyper-local Scottish produce, a great menu on offer. And, of course, there is a range of premium whiskies for you to sample.

    After lunch, you will head to Stirling Castle, a remarkable site perched on the top of Castle Hill, a huge crag. As defensive castles go, this has to be one of the best as it is surrounded by steep cliffs on three sides. Any approaching army would have been filled with dread at the thought of trying to capture Stirling Castle. Though it did not only excel as a defensive structure, it was also a highly luxurious residence for many Scottish kings and queens, who used it as a palace. The famous Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned here. You will get to learn all about the history of the castle while looking out over the commanding views of Stirling and the surrounding countryside.

    From Stirling you will head south to Edinburgh, winding your way to your accommodation for the next three nights, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel. You will have time to relax and settle into your accommodation, a trendy and luxurious hotel in Edinburgh’s vibrant new town.

    In the evening, you will dine at Aizle which is within the Garden Room at Kimpton Charlotte Square. With a super fresh tasting menu which is subject to daily change to ensure only seasonal produce of the highest quality is used, you are in for a fantastic dining experience. There is also a drink pairing option to allow you to sample some refreshing drinks, expertly tailored to complement each dish.

    Day Twelve - Edinburgh Flavour Journey

    Glenkinchie Distillery, Lunch at The Johnnie Walker 1820 Rooftop Bar

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Kimpton Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

    Having settled into Edinburgh, your first stop today is Glenkinchie Distillery in Tranent, on the outskirts of the city. Set within a Victorian era distillery and gardens, with farmland surrounding, Glenkinchie is the Lowland home of Johnnie Walker Whiskies. Having undergone a restoration project, Glenkinchie is now more ready than ever to welcome you with open arms and a dram of their premium Edinburgh Malt.  You will embark on their Flavour & Cask Experience, a full-sensory tour culminating in a tutored whisky tasting of 6 drams.

    Following your tour of Johnnie Walker’s Lowland home, you have a lunch reservation at The Johnnie Walker 1820 Rooftop Bar, located in central Edinburgh. You can enjoy a huge range of drinks, speciality cocktails, and of course, some Johnnie Walker whisky all while taking in unrivalled panoramic views across the beautiful Edinburgh skyline. Their menu includes such dishes as beef tartare, smoked salmon, and spinach gnocchi.

    For dinner this evening you have a reservation at the prestigious Forage & Chatter in Edinburgh’s West End. This restaurant uses only the freshest Scottish produce, much of which is foraged, to serve up a culinary sensation. Dishes include cured sea trout, sirloin steak, wild garlic risotto, and monkfish.

    Day Thirteen - The Ancient Capital

    Walking Tour of Edinburgh, Champagne Afternoon Tea at Edinburgh Castle, Scotch Whisky Experience Gold Tour

    Transport: Executive Vehicle & Private Driver
    Accommodation: Kimpton Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

    After a relaxing breakfast, you will be met by a private guide who will take you on a walking tour of Edinburgh. You will get to see many of Edinburgh’s most cherished attractions and landmarks. You will begin by strolling along Princes Street Gardens, the dividing line between Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns. This area of the city was previously a loch, which was notoriously used as a site for “witch ducking”, as well as dumping waste. However, in 1820 the loch was drained, and the most beautiful gardens were created in its place. You will then visit the Scott Monument, a huge and elaborate monument to one of Scotland’s most famous and prolific writers and public figures, Sir Walter Scott. Taking great pride in our literary legends, this is the second largest monument for a writer in the world.

    From there you will head up to Calton Hill, a fantastic viewing point for taking in both the cityscape of Edinburgh, as well as Arthur’s Seat and the Pentland Hills further off in the distance.

    You will stroll up the historic Royal Mile, passing traditional pubs, souvenir shops, and street performers. If you fancy something to drink, we recommend visiting the Jolly Judge, a little hidden gem which provides a warm Scottish welcome and a cold pint to cure your thirst. Your next stop will be St Giles Cathedral. The church was formed in the 1120’s and is known as the ‘Cradle of Presbyterianism’. The architecture and design are breath-taking, though the highlight has to be the beautiful stained-glass windows.

    Your final stop of the day will be Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh Castle was voted Scotland’s best paid tourist attraction and for good reason. The castle is steeped in history with the oldest part of the building dating back to the 12th century. The castle houses the famous Crown Jewels, The Stone of Destiny, and Mons Meg — the huge cannon which could fire a 150kg stone.

    And to round off the tour in style, you will be treated to a tour of Edinburgh Castle followed by a delicious champagne afternoon tea, just what you’ll be needing after all those steps.

    You will then head to the Scotch Whisky Experience to take part in the Gold Tour Experience. This is a tour like no other. You begin by going on their whisky barrel ride which whisks you through the production process of Scottish whisky. You are then tutored on the various aromas that can be found in whisky, before viewing the largest collection of Scottish whisky in the world. And of course you get to try four distinct regional malts, giving you an idea of what your favourite type of dram is. You even get to keep a crystal tasting glass.

    Sadly, this will be your last whisky stop of the trip before you dine in the luxurious Amber Restaurant in the evening. However, don’t worry, to give it its full name it is the Amber Restaurant and Whisky Bar, so there will be plenty more opportunity for a dram or two. Tuck into venison, baked sea bass, roast squash risotto, or sirloin steak.

    Day Fourteen - Departure

    And so now is the time when your magical journey across Scotland comes to an end. We wish you all the best and hope that your adventure here will last long in the memory. The last part of the trip will involve your chauffeur escorting you to Edinburgh Airport, where you can say your final goodbyes.

    We hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed your time with us and look back fondly on your time here with Private Chauffeur Scotland. We wish you a safe journey home and best wishes for your next adventure!