Whiskey is arguably one of the world’s greatest drinks, as well as one of the most beloved ones. The beauty of it lies in the whole experience: the glass, the aroma, the aftertaste and all that jazz. Its lovers will tell you that it’s not a drink that you should just pour down your throat, but instead, it’s made for savoring and enjoying.
Although it has existed for ages, its popularity is still not declining – on the contrary – it seems like there’s a bunch of new distilleries opening up each year. And is there a better way to try some good whiskey than by doing it right where it’s made – in the distillery?
The fragrant spirit can be found worldwide, but many will argue that the best ones come from Europe. Since most of them have an interesting history besides the quality, a visit to the distilleries could be an incredibly rewarding experience.
That’s why we’ve prepared a selection of European whisky tours that you can treat yourself to on your next vacation!
4 Best Whiskey Tours in Europe
Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown, Scotland
You already know that Scotland is actual paradise for whisky enthusiasts. It’s the place everyone goes to when they start learning about whisky, but also the place they always end up returning to.
Although it’s the biggest distillery in the country, the Glenfiddich has that intimate, homey feeling that really makes it stand out from the rest. You can tell that it’s a family-run business with a rich tradition. They offer a number of tours which allow visitors to see the whole detailed process of creating a bottle of whisky from scratch.
The shortest one is called the Explorers tour and it lasts roughly around 1.5 hours. During that time you will be able to try 10 to 18-year-old whiskies and, as the name says, explore the big production complex. The tour costs £10 per person.
They have three more options available, lasting from 2 to 4 hours – the Spirit of Innovation tour, Glenfiddich: Deconstructed tour and the famous Pioneers tour. For £95, the Pioneers tour will take you through the more exclusive warehouses and the true art of creating their product. In the end, you’ll be able to fill up and take home a little bottle of whisky of your choice!
They are open throughout the entire year, except for a couple of weeks during the summer which are reserved for some maintenance work. Make sure that you check beforehand!
The Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh, Scotland
Taking a tour at the very top of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile is one of the best ways to get introduced to the world of whisky. Don’t shy away from it if you’re a real enthusiast as well – their experts will recommend a more thorough tour that will suit your needs better.
The Scotch Whisky Experience actually has a vault with the world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky! This is a great chance to learn about the various types of whisky and the regions where it’s made.
The Silver, Gold and Platinum tours offer a whisky barrel ride through the production of authentic scotch, which is an interesting experience itself. The trained guide will help you learn and practice the proper nosing and tasting techniques, if you don’t already know them.
The most basic of the three is the Silver tour and it costs £15 for a little less than an hour of guided exploring. Other than the Gold and Platinum tour, which last longer and allow various tastings, there are also some more luxurious ones available.
One of them is the Morning Masterclass, which is recommended for those that already have the knowledge and/or experience in this field. For £40, you’ll be able to taste one blend, one single grain and two single malt whiskies, and have a conversation with the staff about your favorite spirit.
The Taste of Scotland and Tasting Tales tours are also accompanied by some gourmet Scottish food and they cost up to £79. However, if you’re mostly interested in the whisky, we recommend skipping this and taking either the Silver or the Gold tour instead!
The Old Jameson Distillery, Dublin, Ireland
Jameson is one of the most famous whisky brands in the world and visiting the Old Distillery will really take you behind the scenes of this magnificent business. Although they now have a new location for production, the original one is where it all started and that’s what makes it so special.
They have a couple of tours available, starting with the Bow St. Experience which lasts 40 minutes. The prices are a bit higher, since they start at €18 for the shortest tour and go up to €60 for their Whiskey Blending Class. However, at the end of the class, you’ll be able to take home the whisky you’ve blended with your own two hands!
The best option might be the one in between – the Bow St. Experience & Live Maturation Warehouse Visit. The €37 tour includes the tasting of their 14-year-old whisky straight from the barrel! You’ll be able to learn all about Jameson’s history, and, at the same time, try the very best of what they have to offer. If you’re a whisky lover, you definitely shouldn’t miss this legendary distillery, since it’s among the most prominent in the world.
The Jameson Experience, Midleton, Ireland
This is where the magic of the production process of Jameson happens today. Also, it’s a great place to learn about John Jameson and enjoy some of the brand’s legendary whiskies: the Jameson Black Barrel, Midleton Very Rare or the Power’s John’s Lane Release.
The tour offer varies from the Jameson Experience Tour (€18 for students) to their Behind the Scenes Tour (€60).
The most experienced whisky enthusiasts will enjoy the Distiller’s Apprentice Tour. Although it’s quite pricey (a whopping €95), it is the only tour of them all that offers direct access to their current-day distillery! After almost 3 hours, you will know all the details of the production of premium whisky.