The 7 BEST virtual whisky tours you can do at home for free (2020)
The 7 BEST virtual whisky tours you can do at home for free (2020)
The following article highlights some of the best virtual whisky tours you can do at home for free during the lockdown. I have checked several online tours and concluded that these are the most exciting and informative virtual experiences you can find online.
I understand that doing virtual tours of distilleries that we all love is not comparable with the real thing in any way, but hey! At least we can enjoy and virtually interact with some of our favourite distilleries out there.
Let’s look at each of them; I hope this summary encourages you to visit them when things return to normal.
No. 1 – Glenfiddich (Scotland)
Another well-known single malt, one of the biggest and most famous distilleries in the world. It is also located in the Speyside region. Glenfiddich is the most awarded single malt whisky in the world. It’s also the most significant single malt whisky producer in Scotland, and as a curious fact, it was the first distillery to relaunch the “single malt” category in 1963. A category that, before that year, was pretty much unknown to the general public.
Glenfiddich’s visitor centre, as well as many other distilleries in Scotland, is temporarily closed. However, that’s no reason why you can’t visit the distillery (virtually) and continue learning and enjoying one of the most fantastic single malt whiskies ever.
Learn about Glenfiddich’s production process and take a “Journey into the Mind of the Malt Master”, as they have called this fascinating virtual whisky tour. This experience is one of the most creative and enjoyable experiences—an excellent approach to mastering and crafting single malt whisky production from a different perspective.
No. 2 – Laphroaig (Islay)
Yes, I understand that nothing is comparable to visiting the Isle of Islay in real life and even more during Fèis Ìle, which, unfortunately, this year was cancelled due to COVID-19. It is a festival full of culture, music, art, breathtaking scenery, rough nature, and, of course, my friends, some of the most fascinating and legendary whisky distilleries Scotland offers.
This year, one of the virtual whisky tours of an Islay distillery that you can do from home is Laphroaig. Founded in 1815 and part of the Beam Suntory group, Laphroaig is a distillery worth visiting, a tour and a dram. During the virtual 360 experience, they take us on a trip around the distillery surroundings, the peat fields, the malting floors, the kilns, the still room, and the old and dirty warehouses.
It is a short tour, but I’m sure it will encourage you to visit Laphroaig next year for Fèis Ìle 2021. In the meantime, pour yourself a dram of your favourite Laphroaig and enjoy the 360-degree experience at this iconic distillery.
No. 3 – Bowmore (Islay)
Another Islay distillery, another fantastic single malt whisky. Bowmore, the oldest distillery on the island, was founded in 1779, only three years after the independence of the USA. As a curious fact, their No. 1 Vaults are known to be the oldest Scotch maturation warehouse.
The virtual whisky tour through Bowmore Distillery is a journey through history, starting with an overview of the town of Bowmore (The capital of Islay); it also takes us through the malting floors. It is a forgotten tradition within the whisky industry that we don’t see quite often anymore. Take a look at the kilns, the peat, and the barley. Simple but meaningful ingredients make Bowmore one of the most outstanding whiskies ever.
Last but not least, the tour finishes at the legendary No. 1 Vault, where oak barrels have been maturing whisky since 1779. They say distilleries make spirits, but the wood makes whisky. Although the faces have changed, their methods remain pretty much the same.
No. 4 – Jack Daniels (Tennessee)
Suppose you have wondered how Jack Daniels is made and what makes this whiskey different from other American whiskeys. This tour will guide you through some of the highlights of their methods.
The Tennessee Distillery highlights the main aspects of the Old N. 7. One of them is its founder (Jack). This Lincoln County process is where the new make spirit gets filtered through a pile of sugar maple charcoal to add the traditional sweet note that makes Jack Daniels different from a conventional Bourbon.
Jack Daniels Distillery is also one of the very few in the USA with an in-house cooperage department. The place where they build, toast and charred the barrels to ensure the flavour keeps consistent over time.
No. 5 – Eden Mill (Scotland)
Returning to Scotland, there’s Eden Mill microbrewery and Distillery in St Andrews. A craft distillery is primarily famous for its fantastic gin. These guys are certainly not wasting time since they have maximised their production by taking advantage of every step of their production process.
After fermentation, one batch is bottled (as beer), and the other is distilled. After distillation, part of their newly made spirit will be bottled as gin, whereas the second part goes to maturation in a wide range of oak barrels for at least three years.
As a curious fact, Eden Mill distillery has pioneered using different types of barley for their whisky production: pale, c, chocolate, and concealing their heritage as brewers, of course.
No. 6 – Tequila Patron (Mexico)
When researching this article, I found a very interesting Tequila Hacienda offering virtual tours. Being a tequila and mezcal enthusiast, too, I found this tour quite exciting and well-produced. I went to Tequila Town in Mexico a few years ago, and I can say there are a lot of similarities between whisky distilleries in Scotland and tequila Haciendas in Mexico.
They are handcrafted, usually on small premises, and use copper pot stills. The production process is pretty much the same except for the main ingredient, which is agave instead of malted barley. Regardless of their ingredients, both industries are full of heritage, traditions and oak barrels.
During the Patron’s virtual tour, they will take you through the step-by-step production process inside a bee’s head (Patron’s iconic bee emblem). The tour will tell the story through the eyes of this iconic insect flying over the agave fields and showing the art and craft behind Patron throughout the whole production process.
No. 7 – Sipsmith Gin (London)
A beautiful craft gin distillery located in west London. The first distillery in the city for 200 years. Sipsmith offers a YouTube 360 video to learn about the brand, the founders, the team, and the methods they use for gin production in their beautiful Pot Stills: Prudence, Patience and Constance.
The virtual tour is simple and short, just a bit more than 3 minutes; they showed in a creative way how things are done at Sipsmith, as well as their culture, passion, knowledge, and values.
Did I Miss Anything?
Now I’d like to hear from you:
Which distillery from today’s post will you visit when they open again?
Or maybe I didn’t mention a virtual tour that must be on this list?
Either way, if you want to learn more about whisky tours, distilleries and other ways to enjoy whisky at home during the lockdown. Come and join us for one of our monthly virtual whisky tastings.
We promise good fun, education, loads of curious facts, valuable information you would love to learn, and, of course, my friends, fantastic whisky you must try at least once.