Aberfeldy Distillery

Visiting Scotch Whisky Distilleries: Dewar’s World of Whsiky – Aberfeldy (Highlands)

Aberfeldy Distillery
Aberfeldy Distillery and Visitor Centre

If we follow the ‘world’ analogy, then visiting Dewar’s World of Whisky is like ignoring Europe while briefly looking at one highlight on every other continent.

That is not to say that the Aberfeldy Distillery is not worth a visit, but being advertised as it is, you would perhaps expect a little bit more than what you get.

Entering the visitor centre, you are greeted by a nicely stocked shop, a large and comfy-looking café and the smell of fresh coffee.

The selection of tours available is equally inviting and there is one for every level of interest, from absolute beginner to hard-core whisky nerd.

The problem is that there is no information about that fact on the Dewar’s website.

Dewar's World of Whisky
Dewar’s World of Whisky – Visitor Centre

Before my latest visit to the distillery (March 2016) I spent several minutes on their website without being able to find out anything about the tours available. Before I started to bang my head against the wall in frustration, I simply walked over (I live nearby) and asked at the reception desk.

If you don’t have that advantage better go to the websites of Visit Scotland or Secret Scotland, or call the visitor centre before you waste your time.

The tour starts with a short video and a self-guided visit to the history exhibition. While many of the exhibits there are interesting, this is only an add-on since it is basically an effort to promote the Dewar’s brand.

The distillery tours are always the same, regardless of the option you choose, and follow the standard mould. This can be a bit frustrating if you get a boring (or bored?) and uninspired tour guide like the one I had.

During my Cask Tasting Tour I was left by myself  in a former warehouse for a few minutes, while the guide took everybody else back to the visitor centre. So I was sitting there, shivering and smacking my lips in expectation of a warming dram straight from the cask.

Aberfeldy Distillery
Whisky casks outside Aberfeldy Distillery

Disappointment was to follow swiftly, though. First it turned out that the sample was taken from a fake cask, imagine that. These folks simply put a metal insert into a cask just to make it look like a real warehouse tasting while there is not a single bonded warehouse left in operation and therefore no casks left to taste from. Cask tasting? Goodness me, at least be honest and call it something else!

Swallowing my growing annoyance, I received the ‘cask’ sample and asked for a jug of water so my tonsils would not get dissolved by a cask-strength whisky. Alas, preparation for the tour was somewhat lacking so there was no water available. I am sure several generations of Dewar’s were rotating in their graves by now…

The six-whisky tasting that rounded up my rather dreadful experience was nothing to write home about either, but at least I had a nice chat with the barkeeper and got my head spinning. Truth be told, I quite liked the Dewar’s 12 and I got myself a bottle afterwards. If you can, also try the Aultmore 12yo!

Pros:

  • Great visitor centre with café
  • Excellent selection of whiskies and books available in the shop
  • Tour ticket includes voucher for purchases in the distillery shop
  • Cinema-like viewing room for showing the introductory video
  • Interesting whisky museum
  • Open all year

Cons:

  • no photography permitted inside the distillery
  • tours follow the standard mould, lacking real highlights
  • whisky tasting somewhat lacklustre
  • no warehouse included in any tour
  • cask tasting is a joke
  • tour guides lacking passion and in-depth knowledge
  • World of Whisky website absolutely impossible to navigate and useless regarding visitor information

 

Conclusion:

The Cask Tasting Tour itself could only get a 1star-rating since it is an absolute waste of time and money. But the standard tour is acceptable enough and in combination with the really nice cafe/visitor centre  the World of Whisky deserves three stars (Average).

However, if you are based in the area your are definitely better off if you head over to Pitlochry and visit the Edradour Distillery, which offers one of the best experiences around. None of the other distillery tours available in the vicinity come close to them.

WhiskyPic’s Distillery Tour Rating – Dewar’s World of Whisky

3star rating

 

Opening times: open all year, (click here for details)

Fee: from £9.50

Website: livetrue.dewars.com

Email: worldofwhisky@dewars.com

Phone: 01887 822 010

 

Disclaimer: WhiskyPic’s Distillery Visit reviews and ratings are based on our own first hand experience and are thus somewhat prejudiced. However, all the information provided is the result of thorough research. In case we got something wrong please let us know by leaving a message in the comments section.

 

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