SPIRIT OF THE DISTILLERIES TOUR

This is an in depth, deluxe Connoisseur’s Tour, offering VIP and Craftsman’s tours of Islay and Jura’s Malt Whisky Distilleries.

 3 days, 2 nights, 9 distilleries, many expressions.

This 3 day, 2 night Malt Whisky Connoisseurs Tour of the Islay and Jura Distilleries offers an deluxe, in depth exploration of the distilleries and their Whisky. It offers the chance to further develop existing knowledge of whisky and the Islay and Jura Malts.
Your accommodation is usually in Bowmore, in one of the comfortable guesthouses in the village. If your group is a bit larger, we will provide accommodation in one of the self-catering houses and make provision for a cook who will make breakfast for you, or, if you prefer you can go to one of the hotels near by.
This tour is for people who are really interested in whisky and wish to learn more about the different expressions offered by each distillery.

The tour manages to fit in EVERY distillery on Islay and also makes a visit to the Isle of Jura Distillery. Most of the distillery visits are for the more in depth tours offered. Bunnahabhain VIP tour takes one and a half hours, it is with the Team Leader or one of the Craftsmen. Together you explore 5 of the Bunnahabhain Expressions. This tour is by appointment only. The Bowmore Craftsman Tour is a two and a half hours exploration of the distillery and warehouse, sampling some of their expressions and tastings from a least two casks. These tours are also by appointment only.The Laphroaig Tour is Distiller’s Wares which, is an in depth exploration of at least four of their best expressions and allows you to hand fill your own 250ml bottle of Laphroaig’s finest.  You are tutored by the Team Leader or one of the Craftspersons from the distillery.

This Spirit of the Distilleries Tour is for people who have a great interest in the Islay Malts. It is perceived as a tour for people who already have some knowledge of Scotch whisky and wish to expand their awareness of the grouping known as the Islay Malts.
You are looked after and introduced to the people at each distillery by your host, guide. On this tour you can really focus on learning and experiencing more about the Distilleries and their Malts, and leave all the organising of transport and responsibility for achieving each visit at the arranged time to Wild and Magic Islay. If your group is the only one on the tour we can organise any special requests you may have about spending more time at a favourite distillery.

This is YOUR connoisseurs’ tour.
(There is also a WHISTLE STOP WHISKY TOUR option available ~2 days and 1 night)

Day 1 – Tuesday
 We will meet you off the morning ferry or the plane and head to Bunnahabhain for their VIP tour. After going round here we will make our way to Port Askaig where we will make the 5 minutes ferry crossing over the Sound of Islay to Feolin in Jura. We will drive to Craighouse where we will have lunch in the Isle of Jura hotel, before being taken around the Jura Distillery.
We then return to Islay and make our way to Caol Ila Distillery for their interesting tour. After which we will take you to your welcoming guesthouse where your time is your own to explore your surroundings or rest and prepare for dinner.
 
 Day 2 – Wednesday
We will collect you from your guesthouse and drive to Lagavuilin Distillery for their early tour, where you will receive a complimentary Tour glass. We then make our way five minutes up the road to Ardbeg Distillery for their Tour and Full Range Tasting. We can have lunch in the Old Kiln Café at Ardbeg, before heading off to Laphroaig Distillery in time for their Johnston’s Choice Tour, which takes you on a journey through the ages of Laphroaig, including four choice drams. We then return you to your guest house where the evening is your own to explore and perhaps visit one of our whisky bars.

 Day 3 – Thursday
We collect you from your accommodation and make our way to Bruichladdich Distillery on the shores of Loch Indaal. You will have a special tour and if you wish you can fill your own bottle. Then we will make our way to Kilchoman, one of the world’s newest traditional distilleries! for their morning tour. We can have lunch at the Kilchoman Distillery Café. After lunch, we will return to Bowmore, the island’s capital village where you can take the Bowmore Distillery Craftsman’s Tour. We will then take you to the evening plane or ferry and wave you off after a very enjoyable time on Wild and Magic Islay.
 
Cost of Trip 
 Included in the price:
Includes 2 nights accommodation, 2 Breakfasts, all special tours and entrance to all Islay Distilleries detailed in itinerary, also trip to Jura Distillery and tour entrance, all transportation for duration of time with Wild and Magic Islay. Full care and attention of host, guide for duration of time with Wild and Magic Islay. Excludes lunches or dinner.
  
Cost:
From £550 (3 days and 2 nights) per person.
B&B or Hotel accommodation, Entrance to all distilleries. Price depends on season & group size
2017 Tour Dates
March 7, 14, 21, 28 – April 4, 11, 18, 25 – May 2, 9, 16, 23 – June 6, 13, 20, 27 – July 4, 11, 18, 25 – Aug 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 – Sept 5, 12, 19, 26 – Oct 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 – November 7, 14, 21, 28 – December 5, 12.
2018 Tour Dates
January 9, 16, 23, 30 – February 6, 13, 20, 27 – March 6, 13, 20, 27 –
April 3, 10, 17, 23 – May 1, 8, 15, 22 – June 5, 12, 19, 27 – July 3, 10, 17, 24 – August 7, 14, 21, 28 – September 4, 11, 18, 25 – October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 – November 6, 13, 20, 27 – December 3, 10

 

We are doing tours in the winter. Please email rachel@wildandmagicislay.com for dates that suit you.
 
How this trip can make a difference
Wild and Magic Islay travel company is run by myself, Rachel MacNeill. I am originally from Colonsay, but was brought up on Islay, spending my childhood on Daill Farm, Bridgend, in the heart of the island.The people involved with your holiday are people living on Islay. I know all the people you will be staying with during your time on Islay. I know the people in the hotels and cafes. I know the people in the distilleries. Looking after visitors is the way we make our living.
In this tour you visit all the working Single Malt Disitlleries on Islay and the one on Jura. The distilleries are part of our heritage. We get work from the distilleries and they bring people from all over the world to Islay. Islay wouldn’t be Islay without the distilleries. They are part of our history, we have so many distilleries because the Campbells of Islay were the Kings men, and when everywhere else was over seen by external authority in relation to their distilling –Islay initially could oversee its distilling itself. Hence our distilleries were able to establish early and not be forced to close due to overpayment of taxes.
Although the distilleries are mainly owned by corporations off Islay, by definition of being an island most of the employees live here. The distilleries are also very good at supporting local charities. Bowmore Distillery’s waste heat is used to heat the swimming pool in the MacTaggart Leisure Centre. Diageo are very good at doing ‘match funding’ when one of their employees is involved in some kind of charity fundraising. Kilchoman Distillery support the Islay Pipe Band, previously Bruichladdich and Black Bottle – Bunnahabhain – sponsored the band for years.
 
 I got inspiration to start this company from a trip I made last year to Ladakh. Bruichladdich Distillery kindly donated a case of miniatures for me to share with people during my trip as it was with ‘Learning From Ladakh’ which is an environmental project.
 
Lagavuilin Distillery has a group of workers known as the Lagavuilin Fund Raisers, they are the driving force behind the Pillaged Malt Series. The Pillaged Malts are sold to raise money for charity.
 
The distilleries on Islay that use peat for their malt kilns have now adopted a practise of using peat chaff, which reduces the amount of peat required greatly. The distilleries on Islay are traditional distilleries. Their buildings and machinery are sometimes the same ones that have been used since they began.
By coming on this tour you are supporting ways of working that although they have been modernised are intrinsically the same as they have always been. By supporting the distilleries and the people who work in them, you are supporting traditions that are important to Islay and have been for hundreds of years. So we can live and work here we need people to come and visit, but so people can come and visit they need people who live here. It is an harmonic relationship
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Environment
Wild and Magic Islay has a very strong environmental ethic. This company is not initially motivated economically. I wanted to make a company that cares about people and the environment. I use local suppliers, buy local produce and try to have a fair and inclusive attitude. I use the local newspaper office, The Ileach to get all my printing done. My costs are dearer because I don’t buy in bulk from the mainland, or get cheap items. I buy local, and quality.

Islay is within the county of Argyll. Argyll & Bute Council have a very good recycling programme. Every household has recycling bins, and there are numerous public areas with recycling bins. We recycle plastic, paper, glass, tins, cans. Also, I have a compost heap in my garden.
Wild and Magic Islay travel and events company is run from my home. I get my electricity from Scottish Hydro Electric, this is a renewable source of power.
 
By living close to the earth a respect is inherent, I feel I am belong to this land and as such I want to take care of it. I believe we are not separate from the land or the birds or animals. We are part of the whole.
‘You didn’t come into this world, you came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger, here’ Alan Watts. This is the way I see it.
 
I hope people will take responsibility for their own carbon off –setting. I am a very small company and take measure suitable and sensible for me. As part of an eco friendly concept I expect others to take responsibility and think about what they can do themselves. A single wee stone dropped in a pale of water changes it – so too even the smallest thing we do can makes a difference.
 
Travelling by bus from Glasgow to Kennacraig, then taking the ferry to Islay is a greener way of travelling than flying from Glasgow. The journey round Loch Lomond and across on the ferry offers one a chance to see the beautiful countryside and experience a great boat trip.

 

 

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