No longer ‘Scotland’s smallest distillery’, but Edradour is probably the prettiest distillery to visit in all of Scotland.
Its location just outside Pitlochry also makes it easy to reach from Edinburgh or Glasgow. The distillery buildings sit along the Edradour Burn and are kept in immaculate condition, in fact the walls are painted at least three times a year (trust me, I know; been there, done that…)
Reasons enough to draw more than 42,000 visitors in 2016!
However, there are a few strange things you should be aware of before you plan a visit:
- Don’t even dream of bringing a dog! Somebody will come running after you before you make two steps on the premises.
- Same for children under 12. No joking, if you have kids under 12, they better look like teenagers, otherwise they are not allowed into the shop or on a tour. Since there is nowhere to sit down (unless you go on a tour) you have to find an alternative program elsewhere for the youngsters.
- No access to toilets unless you buy a tour ticket!!! Better not drink too much tea or coffee if you are only visiting the shop.
- I already mentioned it: there is nowhere to sit down, unless you go on a tour. That includes the shop.
On the other hand, if you are a dedicated whisky nerd, a tour of the distillery will more than compensate you for the aforementioned oddities. Where else can you look into a worm tub, see a Morton’s refrigerator or watch the still men clearing the draff from the mash tun with shovels?
Another upside is, that the tour guides often do not stick strictly to their timetable. When I used to guide visitors there I occasionally extended the tour a bit, provided the folks where interested. So if you are lucky and the crowd is not too big, you might get a look into the unique fill store (just behind the still house).
Last not least, with your tour ticket you get access to the tasting bar. Last time I counted the bar offered 92 single malts and single grains! Not only the whole Edradour range is available (usually between 25 and 30 expressions), but also a stunning selection of Signatory Vintage bottlings. At the time of this writing the undisputed king of the bar is a 50 year old Glen Mhor. It will set you back £90 per dram, but it will also blow your socks off. Trust me, I have tried it.
Unlike any other distillery tour in Scotland, this one starts with the tasting. You get two drams, the first is the 10 yo standard expression, the second is a choice between another single malt and the Edradour Cream liqueur. You are watching the distillery video (one of the best I’ve ever seen) while you enjoy your drinks.
The tour itself starts with the warehouses and ends in the best-stocked distillery shop anywhere in Scotland. Where else would you have the choice between a hundred different whiskies?
- Excellent and very knowledgeable tour guides
- very moderate entry fee
- two drams included in the tour
- free Glencairn tasting glass
- access to the tasting bar with almost 100 whiskies available for tasting at great prices (starting with the Edradour 10 yo for £2.50)
- tours also in French and German (subject to availability)
- photography permitted everywhere
- you see equipment nowhere else to be seen and you get a close look at the whole production process
- the best-stocked distillery shop in Scotland
- only one kind of tour available
- can be very crowded during the peak season (July, August)
- intervals between tours sometimes rather erratic (somewhere between 20 min and 40 min)
- no tours between end of October and early April (shop is open, though)
- closed on Sundays
- website looks dated and is not very informative
- management does not exactly have the most welcoming attitude
Edradour might not be the most welcoming distillery, especially if you are visiting with your family, but the tour itself more than compensates for that. Other points in favour are the shop and the tasting bar. Combine that with the easy access via the A9 and it is hard to find a reason not to visit if you are anywhere nearby.
NB.: the Edradour tour beats a tour at the neighbouring Blair Atholl Distillery hands down!
WhiskyPic’s Distillery Tour Rating – Edradour Distillery
Opening times: open all year, (click here for details)
Fee: £7.50 (includes 2 drams and a free tasting glass), £2.50 (under 18)
Phone: 01796 472 095