The Ultimate Whisky & Scotch Tour of Scotland

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Total Trip:

9 Days
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Countries Visited:

Scotland
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Places Visited:

Edinburgh, Perthshire, Pitlochry, Royal Deeside, Spey Valley, Inverness, Grantown on Spey
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Lush hills roll across the highlands and into the mountains. Emboldened forestry spreads through the landscape as streams cut through the trees. You sip on honey colored single malt scotch whisky and look at the impressive walls of a medieval castle watching over the land. This whisky & scotch tour of Scotland will take you through the highlands and lowlands to experience the most famous and the most secret Scotch whisky distilleries in the country. Indulge in the unique and the bold

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Day 1

Unraveling Secrets

Edinburgh is filled with tempting nooks that urge you forward to explore the depths of the city. The narrow lanes feel like a labyrinth until they wind back to a familiar avenue. Old storefronts are filled with modern shops and world-class restaurants. The cobblestone streets provide cacophonous echoes that bounce off old walls made of stone. The urban village of Cramond sits near the mouth of the River Almond and creates a bright picture perfect area that combines landscape, charm, and history; from the Romans in the 2nd Century AD to a Bronze Age settlement dating back to 8,500 BC. The nearby riverfront is decorated with ruined mills and roman relics. Your private guide meets you at the airport and escorts you to your hotel located in central Edinburgh. The aroma of smoky wood and malt is never far away and settles you into the luxuries of the city and the soon to come flavors of Scotland.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Day 2

The First of Many Flavors

The capital of Scotland is filled with an unmistakable energy that loops through the streets. You see the powerful image of Edinburgh Castle standing on the Castle Rock. The ramparts wrap around the cliff’s edge and the cobblestone streets lead to neighborhood of Old Town. Your introduction to the fine history and historic flavors of Scotch whisky begins at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre. The center is located on the Royal Mile, which was the road that leads from the castle entrance to Holyrood Palace.

In actuality the mile runs around 321 feet. You find the center located in a traditional two-story building with bright windows. When you enter the building you are greeted with the alluring aroma of charred wood with a hint of caramelized sugar. Venture through the entire distilling experience. A short presentation offers you insight into the five regions of Scotland known for their techniques and flavorful concoctions. You are handed a card that offers you a scratch-and-sniff recreation of the aromas of each drink for you to immediately understand the differences.

The deeper you venture into the distillery the more you see, from the copper stills to the oak barrels. At the end of the tour you find a bar with a collection of hundreds of Scotch whiskies from around the country. Let your guide take you on another journey through the aromas and flavors of the various labels, dissecting each taste into its specific herbaceous, floral, or fruity scent. The day is young and your time in Scotland has just begun.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Beginning Distillation

Today you venture northbound outside of Edinburgh. The cobblestone streets and towering Edinburgh Castle change to undulating hillsides and verdant grasslands. Arrive in Perthshire and find a distinct variety of scenery. Uncultivated tracks lead into narrow winding lakes. Villages stand beneath unimaginable forests. Five distilleries are located in Perthshire that represent some of the smallest and oldest distilleries in the country. After you visit the 17th Century Palace of the Stuart Kings you will arrive at Edradour Distillery, established in the first quarter of the 19th century. The distillery buildings look like a village. The exterior walls are painted white and the roofing resembles quaint thatched roofs.

The doors shine red against the white walls. You are greeted like an old friend and encouraged to walk around the grounds. Edradour is known for its handmade single malt whisky. You follow your guide and are quickly enticed by the fresh aroma of malt. The sounds of fizzing water emanates from the buildings. You are given an in-depth whisky tasting to experience the great variety of characteristics that comes with age and region. When you sample Edradour 10, a single malt aged 10 years, you catch drift of the fruity and vanilla aromas. You taste a bit of rum-sweetness and toasted almonds that finish on a smooth and pleasant note.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 4

Castles and Royal Appointments

Pass over calm streaming rivers and stone arched bridges in the stunning countryside around Royal Deeside. En route, you pass over the highest main road in Britain at 2,182 feet above sea level. The mountains are brawny but the fields are lush. Balmoral Castle was constructed in the mid 1800s for Queen Victoria and continues to grace the region in both structure and spirit. The white stone edifice is decorated with lush vines. The grass looks like an effervescent field. The grounds cover around 50,000 acres. The castle resembles a classicist’s dream, providing a fairytale structure surrounded by storybook landscape. The ballroom is elegant in its display of Landseer paintings. The royal silver decorates the tabletops and glints in the room’s natural light. Royal Lochnager Distillery is situated next to Balmoral Castle grounds. The aromas of light toffee and planed wood beckon you closer for a day’s tasting.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 5

Touching Celebrity

The silvery-gray granite of Aberdeen calls to you in the early light. The city ripe with wealth and grew from the stone of the Rubislaw Quarry. The sunlight shimmers off of the gray stone buildings and provides a lively shimmer to the day. Today you will embark on a wave of the toffee colored libation that the Scots call “Water of Life.” Your trail takes you beyond the bustling shopping center of Union Street, away from the early morning visit to Aberdeen, into the fertile landscape of Moray County, and visiting the famed distilleries of Glendfiddich, Glenlivet, and Macallan. The stone building of Glenlivet sits in an open field. The countryside is lush and open.

The hills roll in the distance against the horizon of blue sky. The newer tourist center is made of glass and allows you to see into the copper stills. The staff is knowledgeable about the distillation method and the history of the Glenlivet. The remote location in both altitude and distance provides unadulterated flowing water and the clarity of a pure product. The aroma of the whisky filters through the scent of lush grass, farmland, and sweet marshy riverbanks. When you taste the Glenlivet aged 12 years you find notes of apple and elements of creamy citrus that blend perfectly with the area’s boundless nature.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 6

Coastland to Highland

The Moray coastline is enrapturing in its raw power and beauty. Crags have been shaped by wind, rain, and waves. The strong stones have been carved out and left with incredible holes that look like giant doorways. Travel along the roadway for a scenic drive that offers views of the cobalt sea. The beaches range from white sand to waves of spikey rocks. Near Bow Fiddle Rock, named for its resemblance to a bow fiddle, the grassland blossoms with purple and pink flowers, breaking up a bit of the lush greenery that leads to the pebbled shore. Off the coast you may see dolphin pods leaping out of the water.

You can join a tour and make your way on the water to view the dolphins and whales in their natural habitats. Dolphins love to play in the wakes of boats. Whales breach the water and splash down in the distance. Venture inland to Inverness and stop at Culloden Battlefield. The plain contains stones that mark various regiments to help commemorate the battle and the lost. The battle took place in the 18th century and was the last battle to take place on British soil. Each stone commemorates a specific clan. The small stone tower towards the tree line is a memorial for the English.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 7

The Greatest Heights

The banks of the River Spay are quiet and calm in the morning. The sunrise pierces through the thin layer of early mist that brushes over the hillside like a thin veil. People wade into the waters upstream from the hustle of Grantown on Sprey village and fly-fish. Their lines arch and angle in the air before gracefully plopping into the river. The water courses around the fishermen. The area is filled with a variety of distilleries and stunning walks, including through Rothiemurchus Forest. The Caledonian trees stretch from the riverbanks to the plateau along Cairngorms National Park. Much of the landscape has belonged to the Grant family since the 16th century.

The scenery undulates between towering trees, open grassland, and posturing mountaintops. Capercaillie, a fowl, which looks similar to a turkey, but is also known as the wood goose, roams freely in the forest. They can grow up to a 33 inches in length with a wingspan 49 inches. Dalwhinnie Distillery is located 1,164 feet above sea level and is one of the highest distilleries in the country. You can see the golden coloration of the single malt whisky before you arrive at the distillery, sparkling like a treasure. The smooth texture and hints of honey provide a lingering satisfaction that turns the pleasurable journey transcendent.

What's Included:

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 8

Another Taste of Scotland

You leave behind the high mountain plateau of the highlands and wind through the Trossachs. The stunning beauty of the landscape rises out of the grassy hillsides and expansive lake. Small, lush islands rise out of the cobalt waters. The hills are thickly forested away from the waterway and have been a popular and romantic getaway for the British since the 19th century. Nearby is Stirling Castle. The stronghold was built atop a large cliff that overlooks the flatland. The rock is solid and steady. The stone edifice is equally stoic and impressive. Trees rise up a portion of the cliff. The castle as it currently stands was constructed in the 14th century. The stronghold has always been thought of as the key to holding Scotland.

Six rooms were constructed by order of James V, three for the king and three for the queen. The suites are flush with color and elegant fireplaces. It took years to hand weave the tapestries that hang in the royal chambers that depict an entourage hunting a unicorn. The exuberance of the landscape illuminates the opulence of the castle. The aromas of the historic stone lift in the slight breeze. In the surrounding buildings hold battle history and original murals that date back to the 17th century. Old letters from the 19th century provide insight into the mindset of noble soldiers during World War I and World War II.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 9

Drifting Aromas

In the distant hills around Stirling the sun spotlights the monument of William Wallace. The single tower rises over the trees atop the summit known as Abbey Craig. The tower was constructed in the 19th century and stands 220 feet tall. The sandstone provides a strong exterior against the vivacious scenery. The sounds of people walking on cobblestone streets and the picturesque Edinburgh Castle overtake the memories of Stirling County. Your private transfer escorts you to the airport for your flight home. You can imagine the way each castle and glen looks today. You can hear the free roaming creaks and streams rushing through the hillsides. You remember the layers of aromas that filtered out of each glass in every distillery you visited.

Visit Zicasso's tour packages of Europe page to view other popular destinations.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Visit a collection of world famous and locally famous whisky distilleries throughout Scotland
  • Enjoy private tours and guided tastings of whiskies that you have never sampled
  • Explore imposing castles and charming villages that decorate the countryside
  • Travel around the fabled waters of Loch Ness
  • Traverse the treasured grounds of Rothiemurchus Forest 
  • Indulge in scenic drives and the magnificent views offered by secluded distilleries
  • Cruise on the water off of the stunning Moray Coast in search of dolphins and whales 
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Detailed Description

The wonders of Scotland can be experienced in so many ways. Whisky here is more than a drink; it's a birthright. This 9-day Scotland tour is meant for Scotch connoisseurs and whisky enthusiasts, landscape lovers and castle seekers, and the just plain curious and spirited. Each distillery offers an assortment of flavors and history bottled and packaged, meant to be enjoyed. You will find elegance in palaces and exuberance around Loch Ness. You will be guided through cities, the wilderness, villages and a wealth of tastes that you never knew existed.

Your journey begins with your arrival in Edinburgh. The city is home to an historic castle and ancient villages, cobblestone streets and hidden alleyways. Explore the city and find the beauty of its old façade filled with modern culture. Spend time in the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre to begin your journey of the different flavors of the five whisky producing regions of Scotland. Outside of the city, you will come to Perthshire and the palace of the Stuart Kings.

Visit a local distillery known for producing its single malt by hand. The lakeside view provides peaceful glistening water and flowing grassland. Follow the road to Royal Deeside to visit Queen Victoria’s royal palace and the distillery located right next door - just another reason why it’s good to be the queen. The nearby Cairngorms Mountains fill the horizon. The large city of Aberdeen has a silvery glow. Explore the secluded distilleries of the county, which include Glenfiddich, Glen Grant, and Macallan.

Take time to view the exceptional Moray Coast. Step aboard a local boat and enjoy the sea air as you search for dolphins and whales. Grantown on Spey leads you into a collection of woodland walks that wind through Rothiemurchus Forest. Brave the distance and altitude to visit one of Scotland’s highest distilleries. On your way back to Edinburgh you can explore the Trossachs woodland area and tour the lavish Stirling Castle. After your return to Edinburgh, your private transfer will escort you to the airport for your flight home. 

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Starting Price

$2695 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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