It's a hobby of mine. I've been around 130 or so and all the visits have been fun. That's how it is with hobbies. Others say, have you seen one then you have seen them all. Obviously I don't agree :-)
Some distilleries are known for their nice visitor centres, others for great tours or fantastic scenery. When people recommend distilleries to visit it is very often the same names that pop up. And I don't disagree.
But here is five distilleries that I found particular interesting and they are not mentionend that often compared to others. So if you have seen a lot or a few distilleries, here is 5 that might have something to offer.
1. Four Roses Warehouses
Four Roses warehouses and Four Roses distillery are located 50 miles apart. The distillery offer two different tours, the warehouse tour needs an appointment first
It's called the Warehouse and Bottling facility. Four Roses Warehouses are unusual for Kentucky as they are single story warehouses. Opposed to the "standard" multi story warehouses. There is around 20 warehouses and a bottling facility on the site. You get inside one or two of the warehouses and then you get to the bottling facility where barrels are emptied, vatted and then bottled. The day we visitied they were doing single barrels. It's a great operation to watch and first hand see the barrels dumped.
Getting ready to empty this
2. Indian Creek Distillery
Indian Creek distillery is a revival of a distillery that has been silent since 1920. It was a smaller farm distillery that was forced to close when prohibition hit in 1920. The distillery was founded by Elias Staley around 1826 and run for almost a century until 1920 (with a break or two). Now 6th generation on the Staley farm, Melissa and Joe Duer has reinstalled the old original stills in the original setup and has started producing whiskey again. Using original recipe involving rye, barley, corn and hops and hickory wood for maturation (or partly) this distillery is probably so traditional that modern understanding and rules of whiskey has surpassed them in the century that has passed. It's a very nice place to visit and the Duer's has done a great job resurrecting this distillery, and visiting is a bit like going back in history.
Staley farm stills
If you have visited distilleries in Scotland and want to see a distillery that is a bit different than the rest I recommend Deanston near Doune Castle. It's an old cotton mill that after 180 years was transformed into a distillery in the 60's. It is beautifully located on the bank of the river Teith. The whole distillery is located inside one building which is somewhat unusual as warehouses are normally set aside the rest of the distillery. The place has an interesting story and it's one of my favourite tours. After the tours there is a chance to taste the great whisky from the distillery. The destillery is powered by it's own water turbines, that produces enough power to also supply the nearby village with power (or used to). The giant turbines is an unusual sight for a whisky tourists. When "The Danish Drinking Team" group of 8, visited Scotland and around 10-12 distilleries in May this year, Deanston that was most popular amongst the bottle shoppers amongst us!
Deanston Still Room
An interesting distillery to visit in the scottish Highland. It used to be biggest distillery in Scotland, but the production has been scaled down to around 50% of what it once was. It used to run two mashtuns, and now the redundant mashtun has become a visitor attraction in itself. The distillery itself is a small village, quite isolated up in the Highlands between Inverness and Speyside, just on the A9. When entering through the narrow tunnel under the railway, you are met by giant warehouses reminding me of Kentucky, if it wasn't for the heather highland surroundings. The place also have a visitor centre and bottle your own facility
Climb inside a mashtun at Tomatin
I covered my recent visit to Yoichi in another blog post here. This is exactly how it should be to visit a distillery. Everything was in japanese though, but maybe I should have learned that before I went :-)
Tasting Bar Yoichi Distillery
Next list will be: 7 of my favourite whiskybooks