Author: Rebecca Siggers
This is for all the whiskey lovers out there, and for those who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and try it. Would you like to plan a trip around the drink? You definitely can. If you are reading this, then it’s highly likely that the answer is yes.
While there is a wide array of alcohol available today, whiskey is called the ‘water of life’ only for a reason. The golden liquor is famous and cherished by people all around the globe. If you want to celebrate whiskey, there is no better way than to travel to its source and enjoy it there like the natives. You can set out and take a tour through the countries that are renowned producers of the finest whiskey to learn more about it. Read on to find out the best trips that you as a whiskey connoisseur can take.
Which are the 3 best destinations for whiskey lovers?
Whiskey came into existence when distilling techniques originated from the year 1100 to 1300 by monks in Scotland. While only monks could manufacture distilled spirits until the 1500s, whiskey became instantly popular and has been a favorite drink since then.
Here are some trips that every whiskey lover must experience at least once in their lifetime:
1 – Scotland:
One cannot talk about whiskey and places famous for the drink and not mention the birthplace of the drink, Scotland. For all the whiskey lovers, Scotland is like one big discovery montage. A unique distillery of whiskey sits across every single lane or bridge here. The city houses more than 120 distilleries, leaving you overwhelmed with choices.
The best distilleries of Scotland use malted barley to produce the finest Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. They age the whiskey for a minimum of 3 years in oak barrels. Only the whiskey produced in Scotland is known as Scotch which tastes smokey and strong.
While Scotland is famous for its rich history and literature, the age-old traditions of whiskey also hold a significant place. The town is divided into five different whiskey producing regions – Highland, Lowland, Islay, Campbeltown, and Speyside. The area where whiskey comes from can have a huge impact on its flavor. It is so because the presence of peat in the area and the source of water are reflected in the taste.
For an authentic experience, you can head to the Speyside region, located in the northern part of Scotland. Speyside is abundant with a majority of distilleries of the country, and some of them house best-selling whiskey labels. If you are in Speyside, you can take a tour through the only operating cooperage in Britain, which is the Speyside Cooperage.
The sheer amount of options can leave you baffled, but you can take a guided tour through a distillery to help you understand the history and tradition of whiskey making in Scotland. You can sit in the laps of the majestic mountains of the northern Highlands, explore the wilderness while enjoying delicious cuisine and fine Scottish whiskey.
Ideal time: June to August.
Must-try whiskey: Chivas Regal, The Macallan Sherry Oak, Johnnie Walker Blue.
Best distillery to visit: Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Highland Park, The Macallan, Springbank.
2 – America:
America is a vast country, both in terms of size and it’s love for whiskey. It is famous for offering a wide array of spirits, but whiskey is still a favorite among natives. American whiskey comes from rye which is blended with multi grain alcohols. It was the probation era from 1920 to 1933 when the revolution in the industry took place and led to the birth of new distillation techniques. Many American distillers still follow the same techniques to make the famous whiskey.
While Bourbon and Tennessee are the quintessential American whiskeys, the land is known for producing many more varieties. You can find rye whiskey, rye malt whiskey, malt whiskey, wheat whiskey, corn whiskey, and lastly the bourbon whiskey. All of these are made from mashes but with at least 51% of their named grain.
The bourbon lovers can head to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for a holistic experience of the golden drink. It is home to innumerable distilleries, both big and small, which offers authentic bourbon and ample of knowledge. Some distilleries may also allow you to get a first-hand experience of working closely with the distiller and learning about the process.
When in America, you must also visit Tennessee, which is home to one of the most popular whiskey brands in the world – Jack Daniel’s. The distillery of Jack Daniel’s is the oldest one here, dating back to the year 1866. You can take a long tour of the distillery that lasts an hour to learn about the whiskey. There are also exhibits that take you through the life of the owner Jasper Newton Daniel and how he created this liquor.
You can also head to Texas to experience the finest Merica Bourbon while enjoying the exotic locales.
Ideal time: May to September.
Must-try whiskey: Jim beam, Jack Daniel’s, Russel’s Reserve, Blanton’s Original Single Bottle Bourbon Whiskey, Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.
Best distillery to visit: New Orleans, Park City, Memphis, Bardstown.
3 – Ireland:
Known as the vibrant party destination, Ireland is also one of the oldest producers of whiskey and it surely deserves a spot on every whiskey-lovers travel bucket list. For centuries Ireland has been popular for its whiskey. Although its popularity declined for a few decades in between, people are again going back to it. Unlike Scottish and American whiskey, Irish whiskey goes through a triple distillation which gives it a unique smoothness.
What makes Ireland different from other whiskey destinations is that while other places are brimming with distilleries, Ireland is home to only seven operational ones. Every distillery that is left now is centuries old and has held the answers to the origin of the process in Ireland. They are bathed in history and tradition of whiskey making, giving you an insightful experience.
If you are going to Ireland on a whiskey tour, you must not miss out on two of the best distilleries here. The first one is the old Bushmills distillery, with its lineage going back to the year 1608. It is the oldest distillery of Ireland located on the edge of Northern Ireland. The distillery is famous for producing complex single malts and blends, and also the rich Black Bush. You can take a walk across the Bushmills village and take in the mesmerizing views while trying the finest whiskeys of the world.
Another popular and old distillery that you can tour is the Jameson distillery. Although it is no longer functioning, you can visit it and tour the museum and experience the journey of whiskey making in Ireland. Next, you can go to the tasting room and enjoy different ages of Jameson whiskey and even buy a bottle and take it back home.
(If you also enjoy beer, you must visit the Guinness Storehouse, which houses interactive activities around their historic beer and a rooftop bar that offers the best views.)
The surreal and picturesque landscapes forming the backdrop of Ireland can make your trip more memorable. Don’t forget to explore the cobblestone streets and historic architecture while you are there.
Ideal time: June to September.
Must-try whiskey: The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey, Tullamore DEW Original, Redbreast, Bushmills Original, Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Best distillery to visit: Old Bushmills Distillery, Teeling Whiskey Distillery, Dingle Distillery, Kilbeggan Distillery.
some tips for traveling with whiskey
When you travel to a renowned destination solely for whiskey, it is highly unlikely that you will come back empty-handed. If you are planning to bring along a bottle or two of your favorite whiskey back home, here are some crucial tips to keep in mind:
- For those traveling by air, make sure you check the guidelines given by your airline. The whiskey must be in a closed container and under the permissible quantity allowed.
- When traveling by car, make sure your bottles are closed, and you do not consume while driving.
- While storing the glass bottles, you can use your own clothing and shoes as padding to protect the bottle. Wrap your bottles in sturdy towels and sweatshirts and use the rest of the clothes to make a boundary in the suitcase. Put the bottles in the middle to keep them from breaking and spilling.
- To be safer, you can bubble wrap the bottle or store it in a protector bag.
Whether you like it neat or on the rocks or maybe even stirred in a cocktail, nothing can make your day as a glass of smooth whiskey does. While you have been enjoying your favorite drink at home for years, it is time you travel to enjoy the premium whiskey. Owning up to its popularity, whiskey is produced all around the globe. Here we have listed the three best destinations that you can explore and enjoy. If you call yourself a true whiskey enthusiast, you must visit each place mentioned above one by one and tick them off your bucket list.