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World’s best distillery tours

on 20/07/12 at 12:45 pm


Thanks to tours offered by distilleries around the globe, travelers can get a glimpse behind the scenes of some of their favorite whiskies, Scotches, rums and gins.

The Glenfiddich, Dufftown, Scotland

The Glenfiddich opened its doors in 1969 and is one of the few distilleries to offer tours year-round. Warehouses—dirt floors, stone walls, low ceilings—store the whisky as it matures, and the entire bottling process is on display. (The first drop from the Glenfiddich stills came on Christmas Day in 1887, which makes this year its 125th.) Three tours illustrate the stages of whisky production. The one-hour Classic includes a tutored tasting of 12-, 15- and 18-year-old whiskies. The Explorers is an in-depth 90 minutes that includes a visit to the Solera Warehouse and a tasting of several whiskies. The Pioneers is a half-day detailed tour, with a whisky master class that showcases spirits aged for 30 years. Can’t get enough? Its sister distillery, The Balvenie, is located directly across the way. 44-1350/820-373; glenfiddich.us.

George Washington Distillery, Alexandria, Virginia

You can get a taste of history at Mount Vernon, where George Washington’s distillery was reconstructed several years ago and is now the gateway to the American Whiskey Trail. (It’s also used a few times a year to make a rye whiskey, which is for sale on site.) Back in the 18th century, Washington was the country’s largest commercial distiller. Today, costumed tour guides take visitors through the whiskey-making process, which is done adjacent to a water-powered gristmill. It’s an interesting peek into Washington’s spirit and the type of resourcefulness that he was famous for. Continue the journey by traveling to the Mount Vernon Estate, located three miles away. 5514 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.; 703-780-2000; mountvernon.org.