The second distillery I visited is the Glengoyne Distillery which is located on the boundary of the Lowlands and Highlands on the A81 around a 40 minute drive away from Glasgow City centre. The Glengoyne Distillery is a picture postcard distillery with Dumgoyne Hill located in the background. I visited the Glengoyne Distillery on Friday 28th July 2017 and the way in which I reached this distillery was via Car as I felt it would be much easier then public transport as there is a bus stop near the distillery which is the B10 bus if memory serves me well. You can also get a taxi to the distillery which I got quoted £30 one way from Glasgow so I’d recommend car or bus, the money saved from not using the taxi can be spent on whisky.
Getting back to the distillery the tour, I was on the Wee Tasting Tour (£12.50) which is one of seven tours you can choose from. This included a basic tour of the distillery with 2 dram which were the 12yr old upon entry and the 18yr old. As I’ll have a mini YouTube video released soon from my trip to the Glengoyne Distillery I’ll leave a click here link so when its uploaded to you get a peek at the beauty of this distillery. The Wee Tasting Tour lasts for approximately 1 hour and tickets can be purchased from the entrance. I also want to mention that three tours have to be booked in advanced which are the ‘Malt Master Tour (£65)’, ‘No.1 Warehouse Tour (£80)’ and the ‘Masterclass Tour (£150)’.
As my tour was at 2pm it gave me some time to walk around the distillery and explore before joining at the visitor centre, so I walked up the stream behind the distillery which leads to the waterfall which supplies water for cooling at the distillery. It’s such a scenic tranquil spot with the sound of the waterfall in the background. I got a few pictures and video clips then before it knew it was time to attend the tour. So I walked back to the visitor centre and joined the groups of people as we entered into the centre as we were sat down and got to watch an introduction video into Glengoyne whilst being given the welcoming dram of the Glengoyne 12yr Old. The atmosphere I felt from the staff welcoming people into the distillery was so warm and hospitable that you really get a sense of a family environment, something I haven’t experienced in any distillery so far.
At the end of the video the large group split into two as there was too many and then I got introduced to my Tour guide called Bill. As we all exited through the back doors Bill guided everyone to the front of the distillery past the Glengoyne House which also has a Glengoyne Jeep as we made way to the first room where we learnt about how Glengoyne uses no peat throughout the process. Bill then took us to the Mash tun which was in operation which also shares a room with the Stills but as the distillery was in operation photography or video was not allowed. The aroma you get walking near the Mash tun to the Wash backs is a sweet grassy note along with over ripe green apples which linger around the air. Bill also mentioned Scottish recycling where all the remaining barley (grist) from the Mash tun is put into a silo outside so farmer can take it and use it to feed their cattle so nothing is wasted which is brilliant.
After everyone single filed in and out of the wash back and learn that at Glengoyne the washback’s are 16ft tall and have an average life of 45yrs. Then everyone stood in front of the three stills which they have at Glengoyne and learn about their distillation which was the first place where I heard that Stills are like a massive kettle as they heat up the concentrate evaporates and then is condensed in coolers outside which then re-enter back, the abv (alcohol by volume) which the spirit enters the stills from the washback’s is 7% and when it leaves the stills it’s at 75% abv. Also Glengoyne use swan neck pot stills which have a unique ring. Then we learn about the spirit safe and how all of Glengoyne whiskies are distilled in the Highlands and matured in the dunnage’s across the road in the Lowlands.
Next we move to warehouse No.1 where we learn about the art of maturation and the types of wood effects on the whisky and appearance over time which is so unique. Followed from this you see some cask types used & owned by some famous people, then the famous padlock kept on the gate which is kept to regulate the whisky by customs and exercise, at this spot you must get a picture as I had too. This drew a close to the tour as we all headed back up to the Gift shop where we had the final dram of the Glengoyne 18yr old. But just when I thought the tour was ended Bill told me to wait a minute as he went to thank everyone on his tour which I thought was amazing. Bill, myself and my friend had a conversation about the Glengoyne Teapot Dram which is a distillery exclusive which I’d heard about and mentioned earlier in the tour and before I could say anything else he handed me a dram of the Teapot Dram. He even stayed back talking to me about other Glengoyne products and my trip which I really admire as this tour was like no other. I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Bill (if you read this) as you make this tour very memorable and something I’ll never forget. (thanks for allowing me to take a pic)
What would I recommend purchasing at the distillery shop? Everything! Well if you can but depending on what you like in the range. I want to mention that if you do want products to be delivered to your home it can be done, if you spend minimum of £50 its free delivery provided you let them know before paying. Also if you hold your tour ticket then you get the discounted price for bottles in the shop, so make sure you don’t lose it. For me it’s always a matter of distillery exclusives and the two options are the ‘Glengoyne Teapot Dram’ and the second is ‘Bottle your own’. I purchase 2 bottles of the Glengoyne Teapot Dram along with a variety of glassware and an umbrella which seems to be a pattern at distilleries as I can never predict the weather.
To conclude this distillery visit I highly recommend you visit the Glengoyne Distillery if you’re near Glasgow as it’s a tour that encapsulates an atmosphere like no other whether you’re a whisky enthuses or not. One really big plus is if you have to drive and wanted to try any drams or you can take them away in a mini dram containers. So you can be safe whilst driving. After taking the ‘Wee Tasting Tour’ I would recommend if you do enjoy your whisky to go for the ‘Gold Parade Tour’ as it include more drams and also comes with a complementary Glengoyne Glass. Also provided the weather holds up or even if it doesn’t, go to the back of the distillery where the waterfall is as it’s such a super spot and a place you can’t miss out on. A massive thank you to everyone I met from the Glengoyne Team including my Tour guide Bill and I can’t wait to return again soon to also stock up on a few more bottles of the Teapot Dram.