Hi Peter. Are you aware of any tours in Scotland with a major concentration on visiting distilleries?
–Ralph, Long Beach, Calif.
For starters, check out this map of all the distilleries in Scotland at http://scotchwhisky.net/index.html.
One of the must-see distilleries is Laphroaig, a distillery you can tour with either of the companies below, which offer specialized and custom itineraries featuring distilleries all around Scotland.
See Also: Take a Beer-cation!
Distillery Destinations offers Scotch whisky tours and can customize your travels. The tours can take you to any and all distilleries in Scotland, some of which are usually closed to visitors. They also offer additional destinations in which you can observe the entire whisky-producing process, from visits to grain distilleries to blending and bottling plants. The company can also arrange your transportation in Scotland and recommend restaurants during your stay.
Celtic Legend offers small-group tours of Scottish distilleries. They are able to fit about three visits into one day, with each distillery getting about three hours of sightseeing time. There are four- and seven-day whisky tours that are tailored to the interests of the individuals on the tours. These tours take you around Scotland on ferries, and instead of driving through the different cities, they ensure you see the history as you pass from distillery to distillery. The tours all take passengers through side roads, away from most tourists, to experience what they call "the real Scotland."
Also, on the Island of Islay, you’ll find two of my favorite distilleries: Bowmore and Lagavullin. To get to this island, you can hire a car, fly from Glasgow to Glenegedale Airport, or take a ferry from Kennacraig (not the most convenient option). Bowmore, one of the top whisky producers in the world, offers guided tours of the property. My advice is to book well in advance and pay a little extra for the Craftsman tour (about $38 versus $7 for a standard tour), in which the manager takes you on a private tour of the distillery and mash house.